How to: be as Cool as a Cucumber for Your Interview
Interviews are often a source of anxiety. You’ve considered questions you’d like to ask (find some suggestions in our ‘how to’ guide here) You’ve prepared as much as possible (check out our ‘how to’ guide on giving a great interview here). You’ve been waiting for this moment. Now it’s just around the corner.
But you’re terrified.
How can you get yourself back in cool and collected mode so you can get that job, change your life and be happy in your work? Here are 12 things you can try right now to calm all those interview nerves—one of them is bound to work.
- Go for a Walk
Fresh air does everyone a load of good. Take five minutes before you enter the building to walk around and clear your head.
- Practice the S.T.O.P Method
This is the ultimate mental trick to tackle any stressful situation.
- Stop what you’re doing and focus on your thoughts.
- Take a few deep breaths.
- Observe what’s going on in your body, emotions, and mind, and why you’re feeling them.
- Proceed with an intention to incorporate what you observed in your actions.
The technique will slow you down and help you think not just in the things you do, but the feelings you let take over. It reminds you that you have the power to banish your own fears, doubts, and nerves in even the most pressure-cooker situations.
- Prepare for the Worst
Whatever your biggest fear is, there’s always an answer for it. Lettuce in your teeth? Pack a compact mirror and floss in your bag. Worried about not having a good response to a tricky question? Consider what they might ask you in advance and prepare some answers. By thinking ahead, you can feel comfortable that even if the worst happens, you’re more than ready to handle it.
- Make an Interview Cheat Sheet
Just as important as preparing for the worst is preparing. The readier you are, the less you have to worry about. So, start a note on your phone and jot down all the necessities—the building address, the hiring manager’s name, the time, the three main things you’d like to get across in the interview, your questions, some age appropriate activities for the children, whatever else you can think of. Then, have a quick read just before you get called in and you’ll feel so confident you’ve got it all covered.
- Visualise Success
It’s easy to let your mind run wild with ways you could completely bomb your interview, but you’re not doing yourself any favours by letting it. You’re much better off visualising yourself charming your interviewer, nailing all the questions, and being offered the job before you even walk out of the door. Your brain favours proving itself right, so go ahead and be generous with yourself.
- Plan Something for Afterwards
So maybe you’re not looking forward to nervous-sweating for an hour in front of a complete stranger, but what’s something you’d be excited to power through this for? A nice meal? A massage? A date with your dog and your favourite Netflix series? Whatever it is, prepare for it to be ready for you when you’re done—this way, you have something really fun to look forward to and focus on, instead of your jitters.
- Eat a Good Breakfast (or Lunch)
A great interview starts with a great meal. For some, this means going the healthy route, something full of those energy-boosting antioxidants. For others, it could be indulging in your favourite comfort foods. There’s no right answer—just make it right for you (and make it food—no one can give solid interview answers when their stomach’s grumbling).
- Smile Like You Mean It
Want to be cheerful on the big day? Force yourself to smile. Can’t do it on your own? Put a pencil between your teeth. Smiling tricks your brain—the physical act, even if it’s forced, will prompt you to actually feel happier. It’s a clever little pick-me-up from your brain for when you’re feeling a bit down.
- Call an (Uplifting) Friend
Nothing’s better than the encouragement of a caring, positive friend or family member. Our founder, Alexis, often calls her Dad for a work pep-talk and it makes all the difference. Basically, if you can’t give yourself the pep talk you need, let someone else do it for you.
- Listen to Music
Or, whatever else pumps you up (a podcast, a speech by your idol). This way, you can fill your head with energy and excitement, rather than negative thoughts.
- Use Your Stress as Adrenaline
Nervousness and adrenaline are highly correlated—that’s why studies show that getting pumped up instead of calmed down (saying “I’m excited” instead of “I’m calm”) before public speaking produces better results.
So if you’re shaking and your blood’s rushing—good. Go with it. By re-framing your nervous energy as excited energy, you can still feel amped up, just in a way that helps you perform better instead of a way that hinders you.
- Remember it’s Just a Conversation
Finally, remind yourself that you’re not jumping out of an airplane or battling a shark. You’re facing one, maybe two people, having a nice conversation about your career, and then playing with some children. As much as you want to work for them, they’re also really hoping you’re the one. Not all the pressure’s on you. Remember that this isn’t just going to be them grilling you. You’ll have questions you need answered, and they’re probably nervous about making a good impression too.
Now go and be brilliant and tell us all about it afterwards. Good luck (not that you need it!).