Have you ever panicked at your job

Nervousness in the interview: 13 tips against it

  • Great expectations
    After possibly several rejections, the chance has finally come to land the long-awaited job in a personal conversation and hopefully soon to sign an employment contract. The expectations you have of yourself are correspondingly high. You want to be perfect, you just don't want to make a mistake in order to let this opportunity slip away. This puts you under enormous pressure and you are all the more nervous when it really comes to the interview. In addition, there is the fear of not being able to meet external expectations. What does the HR manager want to see and hear? How do friends and family react when the job doesn't work out?
  • Financial bottlenecks
    The longer unemployment and job search go on, the more difficult it can be with the financial situation in which an applicant finds himself at the time of the interview. The greater the distress associated with it, the greater the nervousness.
  • Unknown situation
    An interview is and remains an unfamiliar situation, even for experienced applicants and job seekers who have already gone through various application phases, in which it is never possible to predict exactly what will happen to them. This free space offers all kinds of space for speculation and worries, which is almost always filled with the worst ideas of unsolvable questions, unsympathetic HR staff and absolute blackouts during the conversation.
  • A particularly effective way to overcome interview nervousness is to change your mindset. Don't put yourself under pressure or let the expectations of others drive you crazy. Instead, accept that it is an opportunity, but that it cannot work on the other side either.

    This is not the end of the world and should not be viewed as such by either you or those around you. So speak to friends and family in advance, describe how you feel and what kind of support you would like in order to feel less stressful during the conversation.

    However, such a change is difficult to implement and, especially in acute stressful situations, many fall back into familiar patterns. But there are a few tips and tricks you can use to combat the nervousness of the interview.

    Nervous in the interview? Beware of body language!

    We don't always say what we think. But our body language tells what we are feeling. Body language in particular often gets enormous weight in an interview, because who says so much convincing in the first two minutes that the rest doesn't matter?

    Quite a few candidates fail in the job interview not because of their professional qualifications, but precisely because of these non-verbal signals.

    Some time ago, a survey came to the result of which gestures HR managers don't like at all in job interviews and which tend to fail applicants - many of them are classic signs of nervousness:

    These 8 gestures are regularly noticed negatively by HR staff

    ➠ Lack of eye contact
    ➠ No smile
    ➠ Fidget, fiddle, fiddle
    ➠ Lax posture
    ➠ Limp handshake
    ➠ Cross your arms
    ➠ Play with your hair
    ➠ Wave your hands

    Nervousness in the interview: 13 tips against it

    Even if you consider all of the following tips, the nervousness won't go away entirely. That is normal. A little stress and adrenaline are actually beneficial for you as an applicant. They promote concentration and performance.

    The interview remains a stressful situation. It's all about the job you want, after all. Please don't make yourself crazy anyway. The personnel decision-makers also know that you will be nervous. As long as you don't block it, everything is fine.

    We've also collected the following tried and tested interview tips ...

    1. Clothing

    Choosing the right outfit for an interview can already reduce nervousness. Wear clothing that is appropriate for the position - but that is also comfortable for you. The clothes should be comfortable. Please do not wear casual clothing like sweatpants and a T-shirt.

    When you feel confident and professionally dressed in clothing, it radiates to your body language and inner calm. The self-confidence increases and you appear more sourdened.

    ➠ Dress code in the interview: the perfect clothing

    2. Preparation

    The better you prepare for the interview, the more you will have your nervousness under control. Sure, you can't learn everything by heart - but you don't have to either. But if you can explain your résumé and your motivation convincingly, know 10 good questions and master the basic rules, practically nothing can go wrong. It can then only fit for both of them - or not.

    Those who are prepared do not have to be afraid of being surprised by unpleasant questions or of suddenly finding themselves on the hose. The nervousness then goes by itself. And information about the company, possible questions and also the course of a classic job interview - you can find all of it on the Internet today. The most important tips - to calm down - already with us ...

    ➠ Prepare for an interview: really convince

    3. Confidence

    If you are invited to an interview, you have already cleared the biggest hurdle. Your documents were so convincing that you were considered for the advertised position. In the written part of the application process, you have already prevailed against a number of other applicants. This should calm you down and increase your confidence.

    You don't have to belittle yourself or talk badly, there is absolutely no reason for that. You have already made a good impression, now it's just a matter of getting to know you personally and consolidating this impression. No need to be nervous or fear that you won't be up to the challenge.

    4. Stress Triggers

    “Why did you drop out of your studies?” Or “Are you planning to have children?” Questions that address weaknesses or become too personal put applicants under additional pressure. Most applicants feel overwhelmed by such questions and do not know what to answer. Therefore, you should prepare yourself specifically for these questions. Prepare possible answers for breaks in your résumé. In the actual situation, you are not surprised and can answer confidently.

    An awareness of the HR manager's strategy also helps here: It's not about putting you down or making you look as bad as possible. Such questions are designed to lure you out of your reserve and put you to the test. So see this as an opportunity to really score.

    ➠ Stressful questions in the job interview: stay cool!

    5. Body language

    Even when you are silent, your body is still talking. Out of sheer nervousness, many applicants play with their hair, chew their lips or adjust their clothes. All of these gestures make you appear insecure and intimidated. HR managers notice that.

    So become aware of your body language, for example by simulating a job interview and recording it on your smartphone and video: Observe yourself carefully. This is how you notice which micro-gestures you should work out.

    ➠ Where to put your hands in the interview?
    ➠ Job interview posture: read the signals!

    6. Movement

    Movement has a relaxing effect. Of course, this does not mean competitive sport. A short walk, climbing stairs or doing some gymnastics is enough to reduce the nervousness and excitement before the interview.

    A little exercise in the fresh air is ideal to clear your head and organize your thoughts. Oxygen is the natural enemy of emerging nervousness. For example, take a few more steps up and down the street or - if available - use a park nearby.

    Bonus tip against blackouts in the interview: wiggle your toes! (See video)

    7. Punctuality

    Nothing causes more stress and makes you more nervous than arriving at the last minute and rushed. Worse: be late. You should therefore plan enough time for your journey. Panic attacks and embarrassments don't stand a chance.

    This also means that you get an exact picture in advance of how you are going to arrive and take any delays and traffic failures (or alternative routes) into account. Ten or 20 minutes before you can be there and relax makes a big difference.

    8. Coffee

    For many, reaching for coffee is almost a matter of course and those who are there a little earlier can possibly spend the rest of the time in a café. Error! The caffeine contained in coffee will work in the interview - with all its accompanying effects. They not only wake you up, but also increase nervousness. It is wiser to combat the typical dry mouth with a glass of water or juice. Still water also calms the nerves - and also prevents embarrassing burps.

    ➠ Coffee is healthy: what you should know about coffee

    9. Candy

    Does your mouth feel dry when you are nervous? This is normal: the excitement makes you produce less saliva. In addition, many people breathe through their mouths when they are nervous or excited. This creates an uncomfortable feeling of dryness. The tongue is literally stuck in place.

    Chewing gum or sucking candy stimulates saliva production - and has an additional calming effect. Please do not forget to take this out of your mouth shortly before the appointment.

    ➠ Chewing gum: do chewing gums make you smart and healthy?

    10. Anchoring method

    This is a technique that will help you relax in stressful situations. It is based on the so-called "stimulus reaction coupling". The thumb and forefinger are pressed together. Meanwhile, you think intensely about a positive experience, for example your last vacation. The beautiful memories are transferred at the touch of a finger. If you have repeated this exercise often enough, you will feel good just by pressing your fingers together.

    This method requires some time of practice for the technique to work. Therefore, start at an early stage to set an appropriate anchor and connect it with a positive emotion. If you then feel how the nervousness arises, you can counteract this at the push of a button or finger.

    11. Smile

    In the minutes before and possibly during the conversation, you may not really feel like smiling. Still, you should do it: a smile not only acts like an icebreaker, loosening up the mood and contributing to a better atmosphere, it also helps you to contain the nervousness.

    When you smile, your brain releases happiness hormones - it doesn't matter whether you're smiling with joy or just pretending. This positive brain doping takes away your fear, makes you appear more open and positive, and makes you feel better right away.

    ➠ Smile please - for good reasons

    12. Honesty

    A good recruiter knows you're excited. Your nervousness is a sign that something is important to you and proves that you are serious. Therefore, don't try to hide your excitement. Usually that doesn't work anyway.

    If you have stalled while speaking, have lost the thread or notice that you can feel your nervousness, speak openly that you are nervous. That has a human effect and makes you personable. In addition, you can literally fall off your heart. Just saying it can often make the situation noticeably more pleasant.

    As a rule, it is not in the best interest of a recruiter to finish applicants. It's about getting to know you and convincing yourself that you are the right choice for the advertised position. Therefore, you should not see the HR manager as someone who wants something bad for you, but rather remember that he is only looking for the best possible staff.

    13. Take a deep breath

    Nervousness affects your breathing. Many people then tend to breathe through their mouths or only into the top of the body. In addition to the dry mouth already mentioned, your voice will also be squeaky. Breathing consciously will help you relieve tension.

    If you are about to hyperventilate, you will only become more and more nervous and increase your excitement. So just before the interview, take a few minutes to do a breathing exercise (an example can be found in the box at the end of the article), in which you can calm down and go to the interview without stress.

    ➠ Breathing exercises: this is how correct breathing works

    Extra tip: breathing exercise against stress

    Nervousness in the interview can also be combated with targeted breathing exercises: Sit or stand up straight, shoulders straight, place your hand on your stomach and try to breathe there only through your nose - if possible without lifting your chest.

    Breathe according to the 4-6-8 method (also known as the "star method"):

    • Breathe in slowly and deeply until you count to four.
    • Hold your breath for a count of six.
    • Breathe out slowly through your mouth and count to eight.

    Repeat the whole thing at least five times. In time, you will no longer need your hand. But with this exercise you can breathe away stress as well as frustration or anger.

    [Photo credit: ESB Professional by Shutterstock.com]

    Even more interview tips

    ➠ Interview: All the tips

    Job interview process
    ➠ Interview preparation
    ➠ Application questions + answers
    ➠ Job interview clothes
    ➠ Introducing yourself
    ➠ self-presentation
    ➠ End the interview

    Interview types
    ➠ Second interview
    ➠ Assessment Center
    ➠ Stress interview
    ➠ Job interview English
    ➠ Video interview
    ➠ Telephone interview

    Typical questions
    ➠ These 100 questions can come
    ➠ 25 trick questions + answers
    ➠ Stress issues
    ➠ What are your weaknesses?
    ➠ What are your strengths?
    ➠ Why should we hire you?
    ➠ What was your last salary?
    ➠ Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    ➠ Why did you quit?
    ➠ Inadmissible questions
    ➠ Inquiries to HR managers

    Tips & Tricks
    ➠ Practice interview
    ➠ Interview mistakes
    ➠ White lies in the job interview
    ➠ body language tips
    ➠ Overcome nervousness
    ➠ Where to put your hands?

    ➠ Confirm the interview
    ➠ Postpone the interview
    ➠ Cancel the interview
    ➠ Cancel the interview
    ➠ Follow up after the conversation