How to Get Control Over Your Nerves When Interviewing

Staying calm during a phone or in-person job interview

Get confident for you job interview
••• Getty Images/Paul Burns

Are you returning to work or have you just been laid off?  If so, you have a golden opportunity in front of you.  You are about to look for a company that fits you.

Let me explain.

There’s a lot at stake for both you and your potential employer.

For you, a successful interview could mean you felt confident in your answers and at ease with the interviewers. You may also have learned some really cool facts about the company that makes you want the job even more!

For the employer, they really want you to be the right “fit” for them since they are spending time, energy talking with you.  They want all their effort to pay off!  Not only do they want to learn that you do know your stuff but that you agree with their core values and be happy with their work culture. 

So you see you both have this golden opportunity to see if the two of you can really make it work.  No one knows until you go through all the interviews and come out on the other side with more information and lessons learned.

So how can you go about being the shining star that you are and learn about this company, but not let your nerves get the best of you?

I’ve been on both sides of the table as interviewer and interviewee so here’s the scoop:

How to Manage the Phone Interview

Scoring a phone interview means the company agrees that your resume is a good match for the job description, but they have a few questions they want to ask you before inviting you in for a face-to-face interview.

First, find out how long the phone interview will be. 

Second, find someone to watch the kids.  We all love our kids but in times like this they can be stressful.  Phone interviews are usually short so you could see if a neighbor could take the kids for a walk or perhaps a babysitter could come over and play with them in the back yard. 

If you can’t find a sitter set expectations with your children.  Tell them your phone call is extremely important.  Tell them it would be like them talking to Santa and they wouldn’t want to be interrupted, right?  Then set a timer for the duration of the call.  Tell them when the timer goes off they are free to talk to you.  Put out water and a snack and put a new or favorite movie on.  Then go for the bribe.  Something big like you back them a seven layer chocolate cake or a banana split.

Then when you get on the phone with the interviewer set the expectations with them that your children are on a timer and should not interrupt, but that you’ve set a time limit.  If you feel uneasy about this piece of advice, I understand.  But if you do follow it, and they seem put off by your honesty, you have a clue as to what they think about work/life balance.

For the phone interview, be prepared to answer questions about anything that you put on your resume.  If you don’t feel confident, then edit your resume so that you can confidently speak to anything on it.

Be ready to share a little bit about you.  Know your values and be able to speak about them.  This helps with interviewing as well as getting to know new people.  It feels good to surround yourself with people who share some of the same values

Preparing for the In-Person Interview

You are going into a company to see if they two of you make a good match.  To help, here are a few questions for you to answer:

  • What perks are you looking for in your next company?
  • What did you love and hate about your previous job?  Will there more of the same in this new position?  Is this what you want?
  • What did you previous company offer and not offer?
  • What are you looking for in your next company’s leadership board?
  • What are you looking for in you next company and your next role?
  • How will this role shape your career path? 

When you’ve answered these questions you’ll feel more in control. 

When you enter the interview you won’t feel like “Oh please let me impress you so you’ll give me this job!!”  Instead you’ll feel like this, “I know what I have to offer and I’m going to tell you all about it.  Then I’ll turn the tables around to find out if you got what I want.”

You know what you know and you are who you are.  And this is a great thing.  Have faith in that.  A company will be very fortunate to have you, as well as your family, as a part of their team.