8 Secrets For Calming Your Nerves and Acing Your Interview

Congratulations! You successfully landed an interview for your dream internship or job. Just being offered an interview means the company sees potential in you. No matter how long you spent preparing and reading about the company, pre-interview nerves are normal. Here are some tips I've picked up throughout the years on how to calm your nerves for the big day:

1. Preparation is key

It might feel like common sense, but the more prepared you are for your interview, the more confident you will feel going into it. Research your company on Glassdoor and read about other candidates' experiences interviewing with them. Nail your elevator pitch. Always have answers prepared for the following three questions: (1) Why me? (2) Why this position? (3) Why this company? 

2. Have a few facts about the company memorized 

I can almost guarantee your interviewer will ask, "Why do you want to work for this company?" Some interviewers will even directly ask, "Tell me what you know about this company." Even if you did extensive research beforehand, it's easy to stumble on this question in the moment due to nerves. Therefore, I suggest having at least a few key facts about the company memorized that you can easily draw from just incase you panic.

3. Prepare for those hard-to-answer questions

You can't predict every possible question that could be asked, but have answers prepared for common difficult questions. Some examples are: "What is your biggest weakness?" "Tell me about a time you failed," or "tell me about a time you struggled during a team project/assignment and what you did to fix the problem?"

If there are any potential problems or holes in your resume (low GPA, limited work experience), be prepared to answer questions about those as well.

4. Research your interviewer on social media

Shh...this one is my favorite tip! While it is not always possible to know who will be conducting your interview, many times you will know beforehand. This is where your expert internet sleuthing skills can come to play. Facebook is my favorite website to use because it reveals a more social, less polished side of a person. Social media "research" helps you learn a little bit about that person on a more personal level, which can make them seem less intimidating when you go in for the interview. You'd be surprised how quickly your nerves will vanish when you see an old college photo of your interviewer or an old profile picture with sappy quotes in the description. 

Furthermore, social media can reveal things you two have in common that could potentially be brought up during your interview. Did this person grow up in the same state as you? Are they really passionate about a cause you are also passionate about? Were they in the same sorority/fraternity as you? While it's probably a bad idea to blatantly say during your interview that you stalked this person on social media beforehand ("Hey! I found you on Facebook and I see you are from New Jersey. I am too!"), mentioning these areas of similarity could help you stand out.  For example, if I knew beforehand that my interviewer had also been a part of my sorority, I would make sure to mention my sorority involvement during the interview.

Tip: If you look up your interviewer on LinkedIn, it's a good idea to do so within incognito mode. While some interviewers may be flattered you took the time to research them, others could be creeped out. You're best off keeping this little secret to yourself. 

5. Talk to somebody who has experience with this company

Do you know anybody who currently works at the company or has worked there in the past? Have any of your classmates interviewed with the company before? If so, these are great people to talk to who could potentially give you helpful insider tips on what to expect or what the company is really looking for. If you don't know anyone off the top of your head who is connected, try searching on LinkedIn. And don't be nervous asking people for advice—most people are happy to help out.

 

6. Start off the morning right

It's the big day! Make sure to start off your morning on the right foot. Get to bed early the night before to ensure proper sleep (if you anticipate you will have trouble falling asleep, plan your schedule so that you get extra sleep two nights before—you most likely won't feel the effects of improper sleep the day of, but will definitely feel them two days later). Wake up early and workout to your favorite pump-up playlist. Make sure to eat a substantial and nutritious breakfast

7. Meditate, breathe and visualize

It's extremely important to be in the right state before your interview. Take a few deep breaths and meditate if you need to. Try using positive affirmations. Visualize the interview going extremely well. Remember, you wouldn't have even gotten an interview if the company didn't see any potential in you. Focus on your strengths!

8. Remember, people hire people!

Last but not least, remember that people (not companies!) hire people. It doesn't matter if you are interviewing for one of the top companies in your industry. The company itself is just a name, not a person. Your interviewer is the one who is actually going to talk to you, and he or she is just person. A human being who has hopes and fears, passions and goals, just like you. Never let a company's name intimidate you. Focus on connecting with the interviewer—they are the one who actually has power over whether you get hired or not.

 

Interviews can be scary, but remember that even your interviewer was in your position at one time in their life. Keep your chin high, your voice steady and your mind positive. You'll be sure to ace it! 

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