Granted a golden ticket to an interview? Congratulations! After a brief moment of celebration, it might have dawned on you that the next hurdle has arrived. It’s going to be you and a hiring manager (or a panel of interviewers), sitting in a room (or hopping onto an online platform) for what may seem like an interrogation session. And you are going to have to find some ways to stand out from the crowd for that coveted role.
While the stakes are high, be sure not to let your nerves get the best of you! Use these quick tips to keep cool and stay calm – or at least appear to be.
1. Take deep breaths
Before the interview, take a moment to take a few deep breaths. This exercise will calm your nerves and guide you away from your fight or flight mode (yes, it’s possible to get there when you’re nervous enough!) and help you think before you step into the interview room or virtual platform.
2. Talk slowly and clearly
Whether you’re at a family dinner or nervously trying to get through an interview, it’s common to start rambling once you are tense, which makes you more likely to veer off-topic unintentionally. While it’s perfectly alright to do so at a casual social event, saying more than what’s appropriate in an interview isn’t the best thing!
Instead, keep your answers brief, take the time to go through them clearly, and don’t rush through. This will be especially vital if your interview is over video call. You can also pause between your sentences for a second or two to keep your pace calm. Consider doing a test run with a career coach or your friends before the interview, they can help you find that “sweet spot” in your pacing that will ensure your delivery is smooth and natural.
3. Sit still and don’t fidget
Fidgeting is one of the tell-tale signs of nervousness. To come across as a confident and assured applicant, master the skill of NOT fidgeting. A common trick to decrease fidgeting is to clasp your hands on the table. If you’re a leg shaker, keep your hands on your lap instead – the added weight and pressure will remind you to not jingle your legs around.
If you think that interviewers can’t see you fidget because your interview is over a video call, think again. They’ll be able to hear your fingers tapping on the table over the microphone, and they’ll definitely be able to see you squirming in your seat! Even if you believe you have no fidgeting habits, do a few mock interviews and ask the other party to call out any nervous tendencies they spot in you.
4. Make eye contact
Steady and natural eye contact is one of the best ways to convey your confidence without even speaking. But take note that eye contact doesn’t mean staring fixatedly at your recruiter. Make sure to take breaks over the course of your interview. Besides making eye contact with your interviewer(s), occasionally make a few short glances at your resume, portfolio, or other corners of the room.
5. Dress to impress
Pulling on a smart outfit for your interview can give you an instant confidence boost, in addition to leaving a stellar first impression on your recruiter.
That’s no reason to go without pants if your interview is set to take place virtually, though! If you decide to put in less effort on your appearance as the interview is conducted over a digital platform, remember that it’ll still be just as embarrassing to experience a wardrobe malfunction on camera.
It’s normal to get butterflies when you’re getting interviewed. But don’t let your nerves get the best of you, and focus on your end goal. While these tips can help to convince the interviewers into thinking that you’re confident in your abilities, you would still need to practise your delivery and prepare the right content to clinch that job.
This article was first published on gradsingapore.