When it comes to job interviews, applicants are usually full of anticipation, but at the same time these feelings are mixed with a bit of anxiety. It is not uncommon for people to experience nervousness prior to meeting with a potential employer, and feeling those jitters before the interview is a normal reaction.

While some level of nervousness is generally expected, being overly anxious when going on a job interview can inadvertently give the interviewer a negative impression of you. To avoid this happening, it is a good idea to try to focus on ways to calm your nerves to try and overcome any feelings of anxiety before arriving for the interview. Using techniques to reduce anxiety can help a person enter an interview appearing confident even if he or she actually feeling anything but.

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Get a Good Night's Sleep

Feeling restless over the anticipation before the interview is understandable, however, lying in bed tossing and turning all night can impact your presentation and the quality of answers you give. It also might mess with your level of attention during an interview. Realistically, a well-rested body and mind is going to work in an interviewee's favor. If you are refreshed and rested, you are less likely to fidget and more likely to have a clearer mind through the interview.

Applicants who are sleep-deprived may forget important facts, stumble over words, mix up details, appear distracted or look generally worn down. Consequently, a person who has had a good night's sleep the night before the interview is likely to look more alert, have a stronger ability to exhibit better confidence, focus on the questions asked, and be able to answer queries, perhaps even on the fly, in a coherent and clear fashion.

Drink some warm milk, meditate, get in a good workout the day before, avoid caffeine – do whatever it takes to get yourself in a good frame of mind to get a good night’s sleep.

Do a Test Ride to the Interview Location

Traveling to the interview location before the scheduled appointment can really help ease nerves before an interview. Having a solid idea of where the building is and gaining an understanding of how parking and/or mass transit works can relieve some of the pressure of going prior to going on an interview.

Doing a test trip not only gets you familiarized with the route and vicinity, it will also give you a good idea of how long it will take to get there. If possible, you might want to consider doing the practice run at the same time frame you would plan to leave for the interview so you can practice in realistic traffic conditions. This way you can make any time adjustments ahead of time to account for potential delays.

Also, if you are driving, be sure to gas up your car the day before (don't want any accidental spills or run late if there is a wait at the pump). If taking public transportation, be sure you have the right amount of cash and/or your fare card has enough funds on it.

Cars on highway
Credit: Leigh Goessl

You also might want to check out to see if other events are going on in the area where your interview is to take place. Traffic congestion might impact your ability to be on time for your interview.

Practice Questions and Answers

Practicing standard questions and answers before the big day will allow you to feel more comfortable with the interview practice and be more at ease; this can help with calming the nerves. If it helps, you might want to even consider donning your interview outfit and really getting into the role. See if a family member or friend will help you out. Or try answering questions while looking at yourself in the mirror.

Prepare Clothing the Day Before

Knowing what you're going to wear ahead of time also can alleviate stress.  To make things easier, plan to choose and lay out your outfit, including ironing, ahead of time. This way all you'll have to do the day of your interview is make any last-minute adjustments that may need fixing. Laying out your attire ahead of time makes one less worry of things that need to get done, and this is an easy one to take care of ahead of time.

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Research the Company

One of the most stressful things that can occur during a job interview is to be asked a question and have no idea on how to answer it. It is always best to try to prepare as much as possible for various scenarios. These days most businesses and organizations carry an expectation that applicants will have a solid understanding of the job and company they are applying to. One of the biggest mistakes applicants sometimes make is to drop a bunch of resumes and have no idea who they are applying with or what the organization's mission is.

The web carries a wealth of information and these days there is no good excuse for applicants to walk into an interview clueless over the organization. Having a basic understanding will not only keep you prepared, but you can feel confident in the fact you know the answers. Knowing this information will help calm nerves before even stepping foot into the interviewer’s door.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Even if your stomach is queasy due to fear of being interviewed, it is a good idea to try to eat a healthy breakfast. Eating a morning meal, even if it is a small one, gives the body nutrition and energy, helping you shine. Plus, do you really want to experience the embarrassment of a tummy grumble during the interview?

granola and blueberries
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Going on a job interview can be stressful and full of angst. In addition to being well prepared, also consider just taking a few deep breaths before the interview and perhaps try some relaxation techniques. Consider going on a run/walk, practice yoga or listen to soothing music before you get ready to go. The technique you use doesn't matter, as long as it is something that is calming for you.

Experiencing heightened anxiety before going on an interview is not uncommon, but it’s important to focus on remaining calm and collected to give a good first impression. Some levels of anxiety are OK, however if the degrees of stress become too high, this can interfere with giving a good interview.

Job interview
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