Great candidates use interview nerves to fuel their performance

When you are about to be tested, it is impossible to ignore that edgy feeling of nervousness.

When we think about what is riding on an interview, adrenaline starts to pump that little faster and our minds start to race.

Nervous energy that we have been keeping under wraps for so long threatens to bubble over. Try as you might, you can’t suppress the nerves, but are there other ways in which that energy might be better served? It is a well-known law of physics that energy cannot be destroyed; only transformed, so how can interview candidates use this to their advantage?

With the right approach, it is very possible to use your interview nerves as your fuel.

Usually, the nervous energy starts to appear well before the day of the interview. You will probably feel nervous the moment that you get the confirmation. At this point, it is important to acknowledge your anxiety. Write down the things that you are worried about and maybe talk them through with someone you trust. Importantly, make sure that you aren’t moping around allowing yourself to feel powerless in the face of decisions that you won’t be making. You can always do something to influence outcomes – use your nervous energy to visualise success rather than resign yourself to the possibility of failure.

As the interview approaches, question your thought patterns. Are your nerves starting to distort the reality of the situation? You can’t allow negativity to influence how you prepare for your interview, so take the opportunity to visualise success and transform your nervous energy into an enthusiasm of what might be. After all, every job search has the potential to be one of those great transformative moments in life. This is certainly something to be excited about rather than to dread.

For many people, the biggest impact of nerves only really kicks in on the day itself. Have a plan about how to deal with your nerves and take strength from the knowledge that you have (most likely) done it before. If you know that you can channel the nervous energy into something positive, you can even afford to welcome feeling nervous.

Arrive early at the interview, adjust to everything around you and tell yourself that the interviewer wants to give you the job as much as you want to get it. They want to get the best out of the interview, so don’t let your nerves get in the way. Make sure that you speak slowly and press the brake pedal on your frantic thoughts – a mindful interviewee who pauses a lot is someone who will get their message across clearly.

Lastly, don’t let yourself obsess about any aspect of your search. When you have left the interview, don’t overanalyse what you could have done better. You will get their feedback soon enough, but you need to move on to the next bit of job search activity as soon as you can. Wallowing in retrospective nerves about how you might have done is the worst way to spend your time.

How you use your nervous energy could make all the difference.

I’d welcome your thoughts and your own personal experience of nerves in the interview setting.

Do you have any tips or advice you could share?

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