Tips to Handle Tension During Interviews

Yes, you can handle the tension.

Yes, you can handle the tension.

These tips were requested by Jen, one of our readers.

What you do the night before and hours before your scheduled job interview can help ease your tension during the interview itself. Simply put, you have to prepare for your big day. Here are a few things that you can do to help you reduce the jitters:

  • Prepare answers to common questions. A post I wrote a couple of months ago, enumerated some of the most common questions that employers ask during a job interview. You can mentally prepare a few answers for these common questions so that you don’t end up looking for words during the interview. Don’t memorize your answers though because employers might ask slightly different questions and your answer may end up sounding unrelated.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Not getting enough sleep at night can make you feel tired, weak and disoriented in the morning. Naturally, these could affect your mental alertness. You might find it hard to understand questions or quickly formulate answers.
  • Eat a hearty breakfast. Your morning meal is the most important of all. Breakfast is what can give you energy and alertness for the rest of the day. Do try to keep away though from food and drinks that you know usually give you an upset stomach. Some people don’t like certain beverages in the morning because they could quickly end up in a comfort room. You don’t want to excuse yourself in the middle of an interview. By the way, make sure that you have visited the comfort room and that you have done your business before you even head off to an interview.
  • Dress for the part. Looking neat and well dressed on your big day can contribute greatly to your sense of confidence. Keep your clothes simple but clean and appropriate. Limit your makeup and remove extra earrings, nose rings and non-traditional accessories. Another past post gives some tips on what to wear during an interview.
  • Visualize and shake your fingers. Before you enter the interview room, take a few minutes to inhale, exhale and to bring back to memory your goals and aspirations in life. Think of your reasons for applying, the valuable skills that you have and what you imagine yourself to be when you do get a job. Thinking of these can help you prepare because you are reminding yourself that you need a job and that you can do it. If you’re still feeling a bit cold and jittery, take a brief trip to a corner or to the bathroom and shake your fingers.

There are also a couple of things you can do during the interview proper to relieve your tension. Here are some of them:

  • Take a comfortable position. Before you answer questions, make sure that you are comfortable in your seat and that you can hear your interviewer from where you are. Finding a comfortable position however does not mean you are permitted to slouch or to put up your legs. Sit up straight. Women should keep their legs together especially if there is no table separating the interviewer from the interviewee. Keep your hands on your lap.
  • Be polite. Always greet your interviewer upon entering. Use polite words such as sir, ma’am and thank you. Being polite can affect how an interviewer sees you and responds to you. You have a better chance of making an interviewer positively responsive to you if you are pleasant and polite.
  • Take cues from your interviewer. It may not be appropriate for you to crack jokes during an interview. Your interviewer however might make some or at the very least he could smile now and then. Take these as cues for you to smile back to relieve the tension. Incidentally, try to look “light.” Never bring a frown to the interview room.
  • Remember that the employer is also human. It can be unnerving to have to face a manager or executive. It will help to remind yourself though that even if someone has a higher rank or status in life than you, both of you are still essentially the same. You are both human. Outside of the workplace you are equal. Putting that into your head can help you get over being intimidated.

These are only some of the tips to help you ease interview tension. The best tip of all though is to simply believe in yourself. If you do not have the confidence, you will have a hard time getting through those questions.




14 Responses to Tips to Handle Tension During Interviews
  1. jen
    July 9, 2009 | 1:13 pm

    thanks nina, i will really follow your recommended tips.It’s a big help for me..

  2. Job Opening
    August 10, 2009 | 2:02 am

    Thank you so much for this article, so many people including me need this. it is so easy to lose composure during interviews-

  3. Ninah
    August 10, 2009 | 2:31 am

    you are welcome :)

  4. Vic
    September 28, 2009 | 4:41 pm

    These tips are helpful for everyone who faces job interviews. I agree that preparation and a bit of training are very effective in getting a successful and positive interview results.

    BTW, congrats, for being one of the finalist in the 2009 Phil. Blog Awards in the business category.

  5. Ninah
    September 28, 2009 | 11:10 pm

    Thank you Vic. It feels great to be a finalist :)

  6. Jerico
    October 7, 2009 | 10:47 am

    Thanks for the tips Ninah. Two thumbs up. I’m gonna remember all these to help me with my interview tomorrow. I Hope i can pass the interview.

  7. WebGeek
    February 8, 2010 | 2:14 am

    Another great post, thanks!

  8. Tooyul
    September 27, 2010 | 1:10 am

    I learned a lot from your blog. More information .. Thank you! Keep the spirit to continue to share knowledge.

  9. pj
    April 21, 2011 | 2:16 pm

    Great post, You have written it well and your own stuff is really nice! Keep it up :-)
    -Dealies Philippines

  10. sherwin
    October 18, 2011 | 10:53 am

    thank you for posting my pic…

    • Admin
      October 18, 2011 | 10:32 pm

      Hi Sherwin. So that’s you. :) Glad to have you around.

  11. myra
    March 21, 2012 | 10:49 pm

    hi, thank you for posting this job interview tip,, its really a big help for my upcoming big day!

  12. vhee
    April 22, 2013 | 2:25 pm

    thanks ninah!!!
    u’re truly a big help to us..

  13. jum
    November 8, 2014 | 6:57 am

    Great! Thank you! It help a lot;)

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