Calming Interview Nerves

If you can minimise nervousness in the run-up to your interview, you’ll be in a good position to perform well on the day. It’s worth remembering, though, that a few nerves and being under a little stress can be good for you, according to the latest medical research. Being under slight stress is likely to fire you up, make you more alert, able to tune out distractions and think creatively – all great aids to an impressive job interview! Interviewers expect you to be a little nervous too, and will take that into account. 

But talking to someone who is clearly a bag of nerves can be a turn-off for employers. So how do you minimize the stress of preparing for an interview and maximise your chances of looking in control and landing the Legal Secretary job you’re after? Here are a few things you can do the day and evening before your interview that should help you relax, sift out any negative thoughts and sleep well before the big day.

•    Be prepared – Be sure you have fully prepared and know your CV and work history back to front. Know your employer, and be ready with relevant questions for them. You will also have researched the location you’re going to, so you feel totally assured you will be getting there on time. 
•    Do some exercise – A run, a gym session, a bike ride or a swim releases endorphins in the body. This will relieve any stress you’re experiencing and help you sleep well.
•    Take a bath – A warm bath will relax you and help you get a good night’s sleep before your interview. Adding aromatherapy oils such as a spoonful of almond oil and a few drops of bergamot is well worth doing, but remember to stay in the bath for at least 10 minutes to ensure the oils have a chance to take effect.
•    Have a soothing drink – Drink camomile or lemon balm and rose tea, recommended for lifting the spirits or relieving stress and insomnia. 
•    Think positively – Spend some time thinking very positive thoughts about yourself, leaving no room for negativity. You are unique and you have confidence in your own abilities and intelligence. Think of the times you’ve learned the most, achieved great things, impressed others. Memorise these good points about yourself so that they are front of mind. 
•    Practise deep breathing – This is a great mind-calming initiative, so give it a try. Breathing deeply from the lower abdomen rather than the chest can help you disperse the sharp, shallow breaths resulting from an agitated mental state. Sit in a quiet room and try 7/11 breathing. For this, breathe in slowly and steadily to the count of seven, then breathe out slowly and steadily to the count of 11. Continue with this rhythm of in-breaths and out-breaths until your breathing becomes more relaxed and regular and the tension subsides.
•    Practise ‘anchoring’ – This technique takes a while to master but can become useful in life generally. The idea of anchoring is to recreate in your mind a moment or scenario that is very calming – such as lying on a beach or looking at a beautiful country view. Or you might want to visualize a calm, empowered person – Cate Blanchett or Hillary Clinton. Then choose a physical ‘cue’ like touching your right thumb to your right forefinger. The idea is that you can instantly call on that feeling of calm, or that person’s strength, whenever you need it, such as just before or even during the interview. 

Not all these techniques will work for you, but have a go, and without a doubt, you will have calmed your nerves and done your best to relax and perform at peak. 

Alison Clements

ILSPA publishes an article from specialist recruitment site each month. advertises thousands of the latest legal jobs from leading recruitment agencies and direct employers across the UK. By registering as a jobseeker you can apply for jobs, upload your CV to be seen by employers and sign up to email job alerts.