Best Interviewing Practices – Coping with Nerves

Knowing what to expect in the interview process can help you with your ability to cope with nerves. Additionally, being a strong mentor to someone else can also help them overcome their nerves and encourage their best self to shine through in any interview!

What to Expect

We all know about those traditional questions that are asked at just about every interview. As mundane and cliché as it seems to practice your responses for those questions, it may just be your saving grace. Knowing how to respond to questions like, "What is you're greatest weakness?," is a great example of why it's important to practice. If you can't figure out what to say on your own, don't be ashamed to google it. Or, reach out to a mentor to role play. This kind of prep before an interview is what can set you apart from the rest.

Each interview is different for everyone. Some are good and some are bad. I have had the pleasure of having both. Unfortunately, the way to go about both of them is to just smile and be your best self. Whether they are praising your hard work or questioning what you ever plan to do with your degree, staying professional is key! You never know who they'll talk to after you leave and you never know what connections you might be missing out on because you didn't stick to your interviewing "script." Just stay on your toes and be your best self!

My Last Interview

My last real interview I did was for the job I currently have, here at FriendsOffice. This interview was so important to me, that I was for sure I was going to mess it up. Despite that, there were quite a few things that went well! My interviewers were incredibly nice and professional during the interview. It didn't feel intimidating to talk about my skill set and work because of how open they they were. It all came so naturally that I just had to remind myself to do the normal things like sit up straight and not fidget!

Even though the interview went well, there were actually quite a few things I didn't expect when I was getting ready. It didn't have much of an effect on my interview, but I was not expecting my current supervisor, who is based in Dayton, to be joining us via Zoom meeting. It was quite the surprise! I was also not expecting my interview to be done by individuals that were closer to my age than my parents' age. That in combination with how open and "friend"ly (all puns intended) the process was, I can't say I was expecting anything like the interview I had.

It almost felt like I was so thrown off, I forgot that I was nervous. I remember walking out of the building and trying to remember everything that had just happened. It was such a delightful whirlwind, I just felt kind of numb and anxious to hear back. I set up times in my calendar to follow up with FriendsOffice until they had made a decision, and stuck to it. Ultimately, I got the job and have been living the dream ever since.

Tips and Tricks

  • Find a Release: Finding a release is just like finding a coping mechanism. Whether it's physical or it's mental, focusing on something other than how nervous you are is a great practice. I prefer to wear long sleeves for interviews because I can hold onto the seem of my sleeve instead of fidgeting. I also have found myself closing my hand up to put pressure on my nails. It brings me back to the present and keeps me from overthinking. Whatever works, go for it!
  • Practice: Practicing doesn't necessarily mean doing a complete run through of how you think the interview will go. Just practicing responses to commonly asked questions works just as well! Start thinking about your strengths and weaknesses and how you might respond. Don't let yourself be surprised by the questions that you know you can expect to be asked.
  • Make a List: Lists are life-savers. If you're feeling nervous, start making lists. List the things you need to do before the interview, the things you need to bring with you for the interview, the clothes you want to wear, etc. You can also plan you're follow-ups early! You can bring a notepad and pen and make a list of what you're beign asked during the interview, too. Whatever kind of list makes you feel like you won't be forgetting something or takes your focus off your nerves, go ahead and put your pen to paper. Write it down!
  • Prep Early: If you know you have a few days to prepare for your interview, start early. The more prepared you are the better! If you are needing to fill out documents, make sure you have them printed and filled out before the day of your interview. If you need to bring a flash drive, organize it and have it set aside with your other interviewing materials. Save yourself the time and headache of doing everything in one day. If things start to go off the rails, at least you know that it wasn't because you weren't prepared.

Extras!

Practice makes perfect, especially when you're preparing for an interview. Developing good habits and focusing on your own self-mastery is sure to improve your interviewing style. For more like this, checkout our blog post "Good vs Bad Habits: The Power of Self-Mastery."