How to combat pre-interview nerves

How to combat pre-interview nerves

Sign up for blog updates and get an instant 10% off code for NCC Home Learning courses.

Going through a job interview guide is a great way to begin your preparation.  You can learn essential tips and tricks on how to impress your interviewer.  Here we are focused on how to calm nerves.  It is normal to feel some anxiety; it might even be helpful as it stimulates your senses and makes you more alert.  However, if you are overcome by the stress and pressure of the occasion, it can ruin your chances.

Here we offer the essential tips to help calm you for the big day.

Take a walk

Nature is our friend when we are stressed.  Fresh air, listening for bird song, studying the leaves – all these are strategies that will keep you in the present and stop you worrying about the future.  Take a quick walk around the local park – and if it is in person, leave five minutes to walk around the block to help you relieve some of the stress.

Use the STOP method

The STOP method is championed by Chris Charyk.  It is a mnemonic for:

  • Stop what you are doing and focus
  • Take some deep breaths
  • Observe what is going on with your body and mind – do a scan
  • Proceed, taking what you have observed with you.

The point of this technique is to encourage you to slow down and stop rushing.  Our stress response will help us to fight or run – so we may be accelerating our anxiety with our speedy motions.  This will slow you down and allow you space to rationalise any fears, nerves or doubts.

Be prepared, even for the worst

You will have irrational fears that can grow out of proportion.  However, there is no fear that you cannot prepare for.  If you are concerned that you will have something on your teeth – take a mirror and give yourself a quick glance before you enter the building.  In other words, take your fear and prepare a solution.  This will help you feel like you are in control; you can handle the worst.

Compile your cheat sheet

Preparation of all kinds is essential to calming your nerves.  It is not just about feeling in control, but it is about being ready for all the questions you may be asked.  Do not think that you can wing it.  You need to compile all the essential details.  You can start by making a note of the necessities – such as the address, the name of the manager, the time to arrive, the main points to get across during the interview and the questions you want to ask when prompted.

If you scan your cheat sheet just before you go in – those butterflies will stop hooping around just a little bit.

What are you doing after the interview?

It is easy to build too much importance on this one moment.  Therefore, to put it into perspective, think what else you will do that day.  Make an appointment for afterwards – maybe meet someone for coffee or go out for a meal. Perhaps there is a dog walk with your name on it – something that you will look forward to, once you have gotten this interview out of the way.


You may feel too nervous, but you really do need food to perform at your best.  Indulging in your favourite comfort foods may work well.  However, for others, eating food that increases alertness and provides essential antioxidants can keep them going for longer when under pressure.  A lack of food can cause a loss of concentration and a feeling of negativity.  Best to avoid this when going into an interview!

Give yourself that motivational speech

Find yourself a quiet spot and talk to yourself about how smart you are and how qualified you are for the role.  Say it out loud so that it sticks – though – try not to do this in front of the receptionist.  The company bathrooms are the right spot – if you are confident you are alone!

Call a positive friend

There is no shame in calling that one person who always acts as your personal fan club.  You have talked to this person a million times in stressful scenarios, and they have always put a positive spin on events.  You need someone to tell you how brilliant they think you are – use your mum if you can – they tend to be our biggest fan.


Finally, fake it ‘til you make it… smile even when you feel like crying.  Smiling releases positive endorphins and can help make you feel more confident.  There is nothing wrong with that fake smile – it will make the manager hiring you like you a little bit more.

There are many other ways to quell nerves before an interview, but it’s important to always go in with a positive mind frame. What are your techniques for getting rid of pre-interview nervousness?

Extended reading resource:-

Tips for staying calm during an interview

Overcoming nerves in media interviews

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
Like this article? Spread the word

Related courses you may also like