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How to Ace an Interview Without Being Nervous

by Beth Winston

It's perfectly natural to be nervous during a job interview. In fact, it can even help you to perform at your best and come across as animated and enthusiastic. But, it's never helpful to be overwhelmed with nerves. If you find yourself shaking, sweating and short of breath, you need to learn and employ some techniques to control your nervousness.

Visualization

The basis of controlling your nerves comes from a couple of useful ideas you can put into practice before the big event. For several days before the interview, rehearse the scene in your head, mentally visualizing the first few minutes of the interview. Imagine yourself walking in calmly and confidently, greeting your interviewers with a firm handshake and smiling pleasantly. Set an expectation for yourself in your head that things will go well, and imagine a positive reaction from your interviewers. Positive visualization of this type works for controlling anxiety in all kinds of high-pressure situations.

Practice

There's really no substitute for practicing when it comes to controlling nerves. Ask a friend or mentor to simulate an interview with you. Walk into the room and practice your greeting and how you will sit. Have him ask you several of the questions that you anticipate, including some of the difficult ones. Practice your answers out loud. If there are questions that have stumped you in previous interviews, practice those. The more you practice, the more fluent you will become, and the less your nerves will overwhelm you.

Be Prepared

Odd things that may go wrong on your way to the interview site can throw you, and set off your nerves. So a couple of days ahead, lay out the outfit you plan to wear. Check that everything is clean and in good repair, and that it fits comfortably. Drive to the interview site, preferably at the same time of day as you will have to do it on the day of your interview. Check how long it takes you to get there, and whether there are any holdups on the way. Find where you're going to park and exactly which door you'll use to enter the building. If you have all of this knowledge already in your head, you can focus more confidently on your performance.

Physical Techniques

Once you're at the interview, waiting in the lobby, be aware of your breathing. Slow it down and take regular, medium-deep breaths. Notice if your neck and shoulders are tense, or if you have any tics such as a tapping foot. Roll your shoulders back to relax them and let the tension out of your body. Stand up tall as you enter the interview room and smile confidently as you shake hands with the interviewer and make eye contact. A confident exterior can help you to feel more confident inside.

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