3 Ways to Stay Calm During Your First Interview


Whether you’re a seasoned job seeker or are entering the job market for the first time, the first interview with a hiring manager can be a challenging experience.  In fact for many, the job interview is the most nerve-racking part of the entire job search process.  From sweaty palms to a shaky voice to nervous laughter, the interview process can cause even the most qualified candidates to lose their cool.  While very few candidates can walk into an interview sans anxiety, there are ways to keep your nerves to a minimum.

3 Important Tips to Help You Stay Calm During Your Next Interview

Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Ninety percent of success in job interviews is contributed to preparation.  As with anything, the more you practice, the better you’ll become.  In the days leading up to the interview, consider role-playing with a friend to prepare answers for common interview questions.  Use the following questions as a starting point:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What makes you the best person for the job?
  • Tell me about your most recent mistake.  What did you do to fix it?

If you do background research on the company and prepare answers for these types of questions, you’ll feel more confident going into the interview.  This will prevent you from fidgeting for answers to questions you already know you’ll be asked.

Avoid stress the day of the interview.
Nothing will make you more anxious then rushing around the day of the interview.  Make sure to pick out your interview attire and print copies of your resume well in advance, so you aren’t dealing with any last minute wardrobe malfunctions or printer issues.

If your interview is in person, avoid rushing by mapping out directions and allowing yourself more time than you’ll need to get there.  Factor in time for bad weather, traffic, road closures, or getting lost.  If your interview is over the phone, make sure to scope out a quiet space to take the call well before it’s time.  You want to ensure you won’t have any background noise or other distractions to interfere with the conversation.

Avoid drinking large amounts of caffeine too close to the interview since it can amplify your jitters and make you seem more nervous.  In the hour leading up to your interview, try doing a few deep breathing exercises or listening to calming music.  These are great ways to get yourself in a relaxed mindset before you walk through the door or answer the phone.

Listen, think, and then speak.
During the interview, be sure to smile no matter how nervous you are.  When the interviewer is talking, maintain good eye contact and really listen to what they have to say.  Take a few seconds to understand the question and think before you speak.  Taking a second or two to process information will show that you’re collected and keep you from blurting out a less intelligent response.

Speak to the interviewer in the same way you would talk to a superior at your current job, a professor, or one of your parent’s friends; be polite, concise, and respectful.  Keep in mind that the interviewer and you are more alike than you realize, and that they are just as human as you are.  The goal of the interview isn’t just to convey your accomplishments and skills.  It’s also a test to see whether your personality is a good match with the organization’s culture.  Therefore, it is important to be yourself and be personable.

By staying confident, preparing for your interview, and thinking before you speak, you’ll be well on your way to impressing the interviewer and landing the job.  Even if things don’t work out, think of it as practice for you next interview and take comfort in the fact that you were offered an interview in the first place.  This means that your resume got you noticed, and you already beat out a pool of other top applicants.  You wouldn’t be there if they didn’t think you were qualified for the job.

Still having trouble with the interview process?  Let the experienced recruiters at RealStreet Staffing help put your job search on the fast track.  Your recruiter will conduct a one-on-one interview to assess your interests, experience, career goals, and work preferences to prepare you for your next opportunity.   Contact us today to start laying the foundation for a better architectural, construction, or engineering career.

We have had an eight-year relationship with RealStreet on a number of federal construction management contracts. They have been extremely responsive to our needs, helping us fill a variety of construction services positions, often with short notice. They have been a reliable and responsive partner, and we can always count on them to quickly deliver Read More…

Tony Leketa, PE, Executive Vice President

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