How To Prepare For Job Interview: Getting Rid Of The Jitters

So, you’ve been out of work for a while and you finally have a job interview. Or maybe you’ve been on a few interviews already but are still a nervous wreck every time you have one?

I am probably the most terrified person EVER when it comes to interviews! Seriously, I probably look like a frightened rabbit! Being unemployed is scary, especially after unemployment benefits run out.

Are you nervous when you go to interview for a job?

"What if they don't like me?"

“What if they don’t like me?”

Well, I’ve come up with a few tips to help you prepare for job interview and (hopefully) lessen those jitters.

If there aren’t many jobs in the field you’re qualified for it can be especially difficult, or there could be so many other people applying for the job. Before you know it….

Oh no, here it comes…

The FEAR sets in!

You might be thinking “What if I mess this up? What if I say the wrong thing? What if I sound like a blubbering fool?”, and the list of “what if’s” goes on and on.

If you’re anything like me you are WISHING so hard that you were one of those people who always seems to be calm, cool and confident no matter what. (By the way wishing does NOT make this happen!)

"I'm ready, I can do this!"

“I’m ready, I can do this!”

Not to mention you have to present yourself in the best light possible while you are a total MESS about your situation. I’ve been there, I am STILL there, and it’s quite frightening.

The tips here are meant to help you feel as good as you can about things no matter what happens. They won’t guarantee you’ll get the job, but hopefully they’ll help you to feel less “freaked out” before and during your interview.

Alright, so you’ve spoken to the recruiter or hiring manager and they’ve set up an interview date and time. You’re saying to yourself *YES, I’ve GOT this!”.

Then it’s the day before your interview and here comes the PANIC!

Suddenly you’re a wreck, can’t fall asleep, and are obsessing over the whole interview thing.

Here are my tips to help you get through this…..

Do the following the day BEFORE your interview:

Do your research on the company. Go to their website and read everything you can about them. Even if you’ve already done this, do it again so the information will be fresh in your head. They expect you to have some idea of what they’re all about.

If you’ve been told to bring copies of your resume then print them out and put them in a folder. Put the folder next to your car keys.

Prepare your questions for the employer. Yes, apparently us interviewees are supposed to ask questions, not any old questions though. (As if there wasn’t enough to worry about!).

Search Google to find the best questions to ask the employer during an interview then choose a few that you’re comfortable with.

I always bring a small notebook and a pen with me to interviews and I have my questions written in there and ready to ask. A notebook also comes in handy if you want to take any notes during your interview.

If you need your hair trimmed make an appointment for a few days prior to the interview if you can. I wouldn’t recommend a trim the day before (especially for women), because it’s best to be able to style your hair easily the day of the interview since you are trying to reduce stress.

I made this mistake once. I got a bang trim the day before an interview. The stylist did a bad job, so I had to spend tons of time trying to make my bangs look right for my interview…thankfully the interview was at 6 pm., so I had all day to figure it out!

Make sure your finger nails look good (this goes for men too!). Again, do this the day before so you aren’t stressed and rushing on the big day. Of course I have made the mistake of doing this on the day of the interview…not a good feeling.

As far as what you’ll be wearing goes make sure you’ve picked your clothing up from the dry cleaner if necessary or that you iron what you’ll be wearing the day before.

Also make sure what you’re wearing fits you properly too! Interviews can be far and few between, so when I DO get one I always double check ’cause you just never know!

Having things ready the day before can help you feel more confident and not so rushed. No need to add extra stress by waiting until the last second!

Now it’s the evening before the interview. Here it comes again…the nervousness and fear.

Here’s what NOT to do, and what TO DO instead:

DON’T start googling about interview questions and answers (do that earlier in the day), or applying for a bunch of other jobs.

You’re best bet is to actually stay away from the computer. Even if you’re just surfing the web for a distraction you could end up staying up too late.

DO watch some TV, preferably a comedy sitcom. At least you’ll laugh some and we all know laughter makes us feel better!

Some other options are to read a book or magazine, do some yoga or stretches, take a long bath or shower, go for a walk, etc. As long as whatever you’re doing is RELAXING.

The whole point is to be CALM, right?

DON’T stay up late obsessing! I tend to do this and it never works out well. Also don’t try falling asleep with the TV on, it’ll just wake you up in the middle of the night and then you might not be able to fall back to sleep.

DO get yourself to bed a earlier than usual. It might take a while to fall asleep, so you need to get a head start!  Drink warm milk or Sleepy Time tea.  Of course don’t drink alcohol, that won’t help you get a good night sleep. (A hangover just would not make a good impression, obviously!)

While laying there trying to fall asleep try to think of only pleasant, happy things (yes, a tropical island where you imagine you’re sipping Pina Coladas!). Do your best to NOT think about your upcoming interview.

I know, it’s so hard to NOT think about it, but do try to get it out of your head.

Now you’re awake and it’s interview day. Oh boy…

If you have time sit and relax with a cup of coffee or tea and watch the news. Make sure you eat a nutritious breakfast (you wouldn’t want your stomach growling at your interview!)

Time to get ready…

"Finally! This won't be so bad."

“Finally! This won’t be so bad.”

Allow yourself an extra 30 minutes to get yourself ready since you’ll be extra picky with how you look. Gotta make a good impression!

Arrive at the interview 15-20 minutes early. Be sure to allow extra time to get there too in case you take a wrong turn, etc. (Yes, this also has happened to me before).

It’s way less stressful to allow yourself plenty of time so you won’t be in a big tizzy trying to find the place.

When you arrive always remember that you’re being evaluated the minute you walk in the door. Do not panic about this, just smile (a genuine smile).

I totally understand that a genuine smile is a hard thing to muster up when you’re worried about how you’re going to pay the bills, so try thinking about how your smile could actually help solve that problem by helping you land the job.

Remember to make eye contact with the interviewer and not to use a lot of hand gestures. Answer all questions to the best of your ability and remember that the interviewer is just a person you’re having a conversation with.

Don’t forget to ask your interviewer the questions you wrote in your notebook. They seem to really like when you ask a few questions!

Although being interviewed can feel like torture the reality is that the very worst thing that can happen is you don’t get the job.

If that happens then think of it as practice for future interviews.

When you’re interview is over think about if you were very nervous at any point and try to work on ways to be less nervous for your next interview.

Once you get home, relax and give yourself a mental break.

As the saying goes “Practice makes Perfect!”.

Stressing over interviews does more harm than good, and is just not good for our health or our outlook.

All you can do is present yourself in the best way possible and hope for the best. A positive attitude and outlook will go a long way, no matter how rough things are at the moment.

Do you have any tips for easing the job interview jitters? If so please share with us by leaving a comment below!

Happy Interviewing,

Lori

    16 Comments to How To Prepare For Job Interview: Getting Rid Of The Jitters

    1. derrall says:

      fascinating article, especially the pointers about preparing the day before, and not being in panic mode on the day of the interview!

      all the best in this venture!

    2. Wendy says:

      I love your tips. I especially like the suggestion of printing out your resume and leaving it next to your keys. I am a bit of a scatter brain, but when I’m nervous, forget it. I like the idea of prepping the day before. Thank for the tips.

      • Lori says:

        Hi Wendy,

        Thanks! I leave everything I need next to my keys, including my sunglasses. I have a habit of doing this everyday…because I WILL forget something if I don’t!

        Have a great day!

        Lori

    3. Amanda says:

      These are great tips! I went on an interview before where they tell me you will always pass the first interview if you just smile! I think you are right about being prepared. I does help give you more peace the day of. Best wishes to all who are looking for work.

      • Lori says:

        Hi Amanda,

        Thanks! I found out the hard way about not being prepared the day before. So that caused way more stress than it was worth, I probably seemed like a big mess at the interview!lol

        Lori

    4. Patrick says:

      Great tips…I personally do yoga and stretches when I’m nervous, it works wonders!

    5. McKing says:

      This would have been so helpful for a friend of mine but as luck would have it, he just had his interview earlier today!

      Even though we sort of missed the boat, this is still great information for people before job interviews! And you have no idea how jittery some people are o.O

      • Lori says:

        Hi McKing,

        Pass the info along to your friend anyway for future interviews! I am the worst with interviews, I get sooo nervous. So I try to talk my way through all of the tips to stay calm… I just tell myself it’s okay, they are just people, no one is going to hurt me…lol!

        Hope you’re having a great day,

        Lori

    6. Mike Sanders says:

      Such a wonderful article on one of life’s greatest anxiety-causing activities. I like the part of preparing the day before, which is really important in many aspects of life. Love the advice! Makes me want to go on a job interview just to try them out.

      Mike

      • Lori says:

        Hi Mike,

        Yes, I found out the hard way to be prepared the day before. If you’d like to go on an interview in my place I’d be more than happy to send you!lol That way I won’t have all that anxiety! Just be sure to get me the job!!lol

        Lori

    7. Cathy says:

      This reminds me of my first job. It didn’t turn out as intimidating as I expected. My employer was pretty relax and she made me feel so at ease that it felt like I am getting to know a new friend.

      • Lori says:

        Hi Cathy,

        That’s great that your employer made you feel at ease, in my opinion that is a much better way to be than all rigid and stern looking, and just making job applicants squirm!

        Lori

    8. This is great! It’s been a long time since I applied for a job. One thing I learned to do, after making sure I was totally prepared, was to let myself know that if I didn’t get the job, it wasn’t the end of the world. There would be another one out there for me. So by the time I was in an interview, all the pressure and desperation were gone. I really psyched myself up with an ‘I don’t care if I get it or not’ attitude. That was only for me tho – the interviewer had no clue. What it did tho was allow me to be absolutely relaxed, present, and able to pay attention, rather than focusing on trying not to be nervous. The worst oops? I went to an interview having forgotten my reading glasses and I had to take a timed typing test. That tells you right there how long ago it’s been! I failed miserably because I had to keep picking up the sample I was to type, read a few lines, set it down and type, then pick it up again to see the next lines. Luckily for me I had been referred to the job by someone the employer knew well, the employer knew where I came from and the kind of employee I was and my skills, and understood my dilema with the glasses and hired me anyway. Moral of the story? Don’t forget your glasses!!

      • Lori says:

        Hi DeeDee! I will have to remember my glasses in the future too, especially if there’s a typing or computer test! I don’t usually take them with me to interviews…but now I will! Lori

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