When asked if they get nervous before a job interview, 82% of people said yes. Most get nervous the day before, but some report feeling stressed about the interview up to a week before.
April is Stress Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to de-stress your pre-interview preparation. It’s natural and oftentimes good to have some nerves before an interview, but there are ways to make sure you’re still prepared, confident, and ready to impress:
1. Do the research
27.61% of people say being unprepared is their biggest fear about interviews. When preparing for a job interview, do more than visit the company’s website. Read what the company says about themselves – their blog, their About Us page, etc. – but also check what others say about the company. Have they won any awards? Are they in the press? Read Yelp, Glassdoor, and Google reviews, and check their social media.
According to a LaSalle Network survey, 50% of candidates spend 2-3 hours preparing for a job interview. Although there is no magical number of hours necessary to do well in an interview, make sure you do enough research and prep work to feel knowledgeable and ready to ask and answer questions.
2. Ask the basic questions
Don’t be afraid to ask the hiring manager about the basics before the day of the interview. Whether you’re unsure of the dress code, you don’t know what to bring, or you’re curious about the format, it’s better to ask than to assume. Doing so eliminates the guesswork, letting you focus on preparing mentally for the interview.
Some sample questions to ask before the interview:
- Is there anything unusual I should know about getting to your office?
- What is the appropriate attire?
- Is there anything specifically you’d like me to prepare for our interview?
- How long should I plan to be there?
3. Arrive even earlier than you think
37% of job seekers fear showing up late for an interview. But you control your own arrival time. Giving yourself extra time will alleviate some of your nerves on the big day.
Imagine every worst case scenario that could cause you to be late for the interview, then budget time accordingly for when you plan to arrive. Driving to the interview? Make sure to account for traffic, accidents, and trouble parking. Taking public transit? Plan on late trains or buses. First time at the office? Give yourself time to find the building and the right floor.
4. Power pose
Power posing – standing in an open and expansive stance – may sound silly, but a Harvard professor Amy Cuddy has done research that shows power posing before job interviews lead to candidates projecting more confidence, maintaining their composure, and speaking more persuasively. All in all, they received better evaluations after the interviews.
As soon as possible before the interview, find someplace where you can power pose for two to three minutes.
Power poses include:
- A wide stance with hands on hips (the “Wonder Woman” pose)
- Standing over a table with hands on table, leaning forward
- A wide stance with arms above the head
- Leaning back in a chair with feet resting on the table
5. Mind your (body) language
After power posing before the interview, make sure to heed your body language during the interview. 43.59% of people fear making a bad first impression during job interviews; paying attention to how you present yourself to interviewers, verbally and nonverbally, can make a big difference.
While some nervous habits may feel small, hiring managers do notice and assess candidates’ body language. For example, CareerBuilder reports that 65 percent of hiring managers cited a lack of eye contact as the biggest mistake they saw candidates make in interviews. They also note fidgeting, bad posture, and a weak handshake as small yet distracting mistakes.