Want to nail your next job interview? Here’s how to quell the nerves

Job interviews can be intimidating – go in prepared.

Job interviews can be intimidating – go in prepared.

For many of us, sitting a job interview is right up there with the questionable joys of public speaking or visiting the dentist.

If the interrogation – sorry, interview – goes well, you might just land the job of your dreams.

But bomb this high-stakes meet and greet and it can definitely give your confidence the wobbles.

The good news? With enough preparation, interviews don’t have to be something to dread.

“Nerves and anxiety are OK and can be your secret weapon,” says Talent Blueprint director Michael Berger.

“It’s good to be on edge because then you’re sharp, you’re on your game.

“Nerves are good, but it’s about controlling them.”

So, where to start?

Begin with the basics  

Preparation is key if you want to avoid or minimise nerves on the day of the interview, says Megan Dalla-Camina, founder and CEO of women’s leadership program Women Rising.

“Don’t go in cold. Some of this is old school, but it works. Make sure that you’ve researched the company, you’ve researched the role, you’ve thought about the questions that they might ask you.”

Giving the position description a thorough read never hurts either.

What type of interview will it be?

Berger suggests asking your recruiter or the company’s HR person what sort of interview you can expect. For example, will it be a panel interview?

“Knowing what type of interview will be held is a great thing to level the nervousness and anxiety,” he says.

Also ask if there’s anything you can do to prepare. For example, should you be responding with the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method?

Research your interviewers

Next, says Berger, find out who’ll be interviewing you.

Have a snoop on LinkedIn to find out more about their backgrounds, and how long they’ve been with the company.

You may discover others in your network know them well and can provide intel, says Berger.

“Finding out about their background may provide insight and talking points at the interview. For example, you might say, ‘Sally, I noticed you worked with ABC Ltd in Sydney, you must know X who was the MD’.”

Need some help with questions? Ask ChatGPT (or the internet)

Wendy De Munari, a communications skills coach and the director of Work Ready NQ, put plenty of thought into the questions she might expect before sitting an interview for a facilitator role.

“I even went on to ChatGPT and I asked ‘What type of questions would you normally be asked in an interview?’” she says. “And it gave me some great responses.”

Focus on your strengths

De Munari says rather than dwelling on our mistakes and the things you don’t think you’re capable of, spend more energy thinking about your successes and skills.

She suggests jotting down a list of your accomplishments, and why you’re a great candidate for the role.

“In talking yourself up, it becomes an affirming exercise for you as well”.

Banish your inner critic

Likewise, says Dalla-Camina, it’s worth pinpointing any ‘inner critic’ stories that may pop up during your interview preparation.

For example, are you telling yourself you’re “not young enough, not old enough, not qualified enough”?

Dalla-Camina recommends challenging these false stories with facts.

Practise, practise, practise

The more mock interviews you can do beforehand – with a friend or a partner for instance – the better, says Berger.

“It’s like if you’re going to go doing public speaking, if you haven’t practised the speech, you’re going to be nervous as hell.”

Don’t forget to prepare your own questions too

Failing to go in with a few questions for your interviewers can signal a lack of interest.

Berger suggests writing down three insightful questions in a notepad, which you can refer to during the interview.

Don’t forget the basics

This may seem obvious, but remember to plan your route and arrive early.

There’s nothing worse than stressing out about not being able to find a car park on the day, or finding your train is running late.

Dalla-Camina says if the interview is on Zoom or another online platform, you should also allow plenty of time.

“Make sure that you’ve tested the tech, that you can log in, that you’re not going to get a Zoom update in the minute before you’re logging on,” she says.

“All of these things that we overlook, we have to just bake them into the process because it all helps calm us down, make us feel that we’re grounded, confident.”


  • Spend a few moments beforehand visualising your success
  • Use relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing
  • Remember an interview is also a chance for you to find out whether the company is a good fit
  • You don’t have to be flawless; employers are looking for authenticity
  • Treat every interview as a learning opportunity, and ask for feedback afterwards.

Courtesy: Wendy De Munari

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