Most people feel at least a little anxious when interviewing for a job. There are several things you can do to make yourself more at ease before and during telephone and in-person job interviews.
A Learning Opportunity
The most important way to ease nervousness about a job interview is to look at it as a method of determining whether you and the company are a good fit. If you look at an interview only as something you might mess up and thus lose out on a golden opportunity, you're putting too much pressure on yourself.
Job interviews should not be about your landing a job no matter what, although it's understandable you might feel that type of stress if you really need the income, health insurance, and other benefits. It's more helpful and more realistic to see your initial phone interview and follow-up in-person interviews as opportunities for you to learn more about the company and for the company to learn more about you.
The end result for both you and the company should be figuring out whether you are a good fit for the company and the particular job you're applying for. If the culture of a company would make you miserable or if you don't have a skill that is required but wasn't included in the job description, it's better for both parties to learn that before you take the job.
Learn as much as you can about the company where you've applied for a job, so it will be clear during interviews that you're a serious candidate. You'll also feel more confident going into interviews with some knowledge you can share with the HR representative and hiring manager.
Resume and Cover Letter Review
Before the phone interview, it's a good idea to look over the resume and cover letter you sent. Remind yourself of the skills you offer and the experience you could bring to this job. Have the resume and cover letter handy during the interview so you can refer back to it and also write down any additional selling points you can think of that you might have left out of your application materials.
Take some deep breaths before the phone interview begins and before you head into the office where you'll be meeting your in-person interviewers. You can also imagine yourself speaking confidently and intelligently to the interviewer as you inhale and think "release" or "confidence" as you exhale.
During the phone interview and any subsequent in-person interviews, be prepared to share details about yourself, your values, and your skills and experiences. But be sure to emphasize what you could contribute to the company. The HR representative and anyone else you speak with will want to learn more about you but mostly in the context of how you would fit in at the company and how you would add to its success.
Questions for the Interviewers
It's helpful to have some questions ready for your interviewers, so you'll feel prepared, intelligent, and probably even less anxious. You can practice asking the questions at home to get the phrasing right.
Make sure that when you leave, you will have enough information to make the right choice should the company offer you the job.
If someone from the company hasn't told you enough about the corporate culture, their expectations for you, or the exact role you will play in the company or a specific department, ask for clarification.
If you're meeting with the person who will be your boss, ask about their background and how they got to their current role in the company. Ask what they like and what they would change about the company, what their most urgent need is from someone in the job you're applying for, and what previous people who had that job did well and could have done better.
Finally, it's OK to ask what the next step in the hiring process would be and when they expect to make their decision.
If you've done all of those things, you should leave that last interview feeling confident that you've done everything you could to help you and the company draw the right conclusions about your working there.