Shaking off interview nerves

CLAREMORRIS – Mary O’Brien-Killeen, T: 094 95 42965.

Q: I tend to twitch a lot with my hands in an interview. Any tips for preventing this from happening? (GF, email).

A: It is inevitable that you will experience nerves before and during an interview. You are stepping outside your comfort zone. Even the most skilled communicators can experience nerves – in fact, many sports stars, stage performers and singers are reduced to blubbering wrecks before entering the arena, writes Mary O’Brien-Killeen, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.

So you must first of all realise that you are unlikely to fully overcome pre-interview nerves. The key thing is to take control of them as best you can.

Here are some tips:

  1. Understand that good preparation is the best cure of all for nerves. Go in the door feeling relatively bulletproof, confident that you can deal with whatever comes at you in there.
  2. Understand that what many of us were told in school (sit still, plant your feet on the floor and fold your arms on your lap) is not good advice. We need to move to burn off energy. In all likelihood, you can’t walk around the room during interview, but you can gesticulate with your hands, you can look left and right at the interview panel and you can sit forward and sit back at different times as you become animated in the conversation.
  3. Stop expecting miracles. You will not be word perfect on the day. When you chat, you will need to take thinking time and there will be an occasional quiver in your voice, an er and an um, and all of that is the essence of your communication style. Accept it and move on. Focus on what matters: the value you can bring to the role.

Mary O’Brien-Killeen is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers in Claremorris, Co. Mayo.

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