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The days and hours leading up to an interview can be a very stressful time. Much as we may try to block the worries from our mind it is difficult not to get nervous. Even the best prepared candidates often need help relaxing, so we’re bringing you 10 of the most popular tips for reducing that pre-interview stress.
Best of luck!
1. Have a good night’s sleep:
If you arrive exhausted your eyes and body language will probably show it. You won’t be quite as sharp as you could be and you may well compensate by coming across as over-anxious.
2. Dress right:
Not the same thing as dressing smart or dressing to kill, but more a case of dressing in a way that is consistent with the impression you want to create. This will not only aid your self-presentation directly but may also make you more relaxed – knowing that you’ve hit the sartorial mark.
3. Eat right:
Particularly if like most of us your tummy goes funny before the big event. It’s usually worth avoiding too much high fibre food (like bran and other cereals and most fruits and vegetables), and to think in terms of binding, starchy carbohydrates like pasta, which will store up your energy reserves. Also think carefully before snacking on a Mars Bar and gulping down a Caffe latte because the “rush” from sugar and caffeine might speed you up too much, too quickly.
4. Make the interview your day’s sole priority:
This doesn’t mean getting over-excited or obsessed about it, but rather preparing properly. Think about your diet that day, your relaxation techniques, your departure time, the possible questions, how you will present yourself, the small talk even.
5. Chill out:
The ideal is to feel at one with your interviewers and comfortable in your own skin. Some may go for a half hour morning run to put them in the right frame of mind, but anything that works for you is worth the effort: A few minutes of quiet, eyes-closed, vacant-minded meditation; two or three deep yoga stretches; a long, hot bath, whatever it takes.
6. Go with the music:
For many the relationship between mood and music is a key part of getting ready for an important event, but before you set up that playlist and clap on those headphones make sure you choose something that fits your needs: soothing, abstract, Simply the Best, whatever.
7. Arrive in good time:
There’s nothing more agitating than finding yourself stuck on a train, or looking for a parking space, with five minutes to go. So plan your route and give yourself at least half an hour’s leeway. If you get there too early, have a glass of water, settle yourself and get used to the environment.
8. Watch your bowels:
Think about it – the worst thing that could happen is a sudden urge to empty them two minutes before you’re called to account for yourself. So try to “factor-in” a relaxed toilet break.
9. Don’t take them too seriously:
Your interviewers may hold your future in their palms, but deep down they may well be just as insecure and concerned as you, and remember, they also had to sit there once upon a time. The point is they’re just ordinary human beings and often the best way to get through is to relate to their humanity.
10. Prepare for surprises:
Interviewers tend to slot into roles, often without realising it. You get your devil’s advocate, your inquisitor, your soul searcher, good cop, bad cop. It’s easy to prepare for their standard questions – “why do you think we should employ you?” “describe your strengths/weaknesses?” “why do you want to be an investment banker/rocket scientist/secret agent?” , “why do you want to work here?”
However, you may also be judged more on how you deal with the loose ball, something like “So tell me, do you think we’re a sexy company?” Often it’s not so much what you say but how you respond. A smile, a chuckle and then a moment’s thought can go a long way.