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Blog>Guides>A Guide on How to Reduce Stress and Calm Down Before an Interview

A Guide on How to Reduce Stress and Calm Down Before an Interview

Article index


  • Why do we get nervous before interviews?

  • Can interview anxiety be managed?

  • 10 ways to calm down before an interview.

  • Get an interview invite fast and land your dream job with Joblist.


Getting an interview invite, especially for a job you've always looked forward to, can be exciting. After the stress of submitting your application, you're now a step closer to landing that dream job. However, the interview process and the preparations that precede it can be nerve-wracking.

Racing heart rate, sweaty palms, difficulty breathing, and the inability to focus are common symptoms of interview stress. You could feel these symptoms even if it's your 100th interview. For first-timers, it might even be worse.

A recent survey by JDP shows that 93% of Americans have experienced anxiety related to job interviews — so you are not alone. However, you must stay calm and get yourself together to give yourself a higher chance of realizing that dream job.

This article looks at why we get nervous before a job interview, what this anxiety may look like if you're a first-time job seeker, and 10 scientifically proven ways to calm your interview nerves.

Why Do We Get Nervous Before Job Interviews?

Interview anxiety is pretty common among job seekers. Let's face it, the nerves that come with interviewing for a potential dream job seem inevitable.

Meeting strangers in a position of authority, talking about yourself to people you have never met before, being assessed based on your qualifications and charisma, and your desperation to get things right. The stakes are very high!

Although people react differently to stressful situations, the common feelings associated with job interview anxiety are:

  • Racing heartbeat

  • Sweating

  • Shortness of breath

  • Inability to focus

  • Dizziness

  • Cracking voice

  • Blushing

  • Lack of appetite

  • Nausea

10 Ways to Calm Down Before an Interview

Although interview stress might seem inevitable, it can significantly lower your chances of success if not appropriately handled.

That said, to ace your interview, you must try to relax and keep your cortisol level in check. Below are 10 approaches that can help you calm down before an interview.

Be Prepared and Do Your Research

Before your interview, you must conduct constructive and thorough research. If you fail to prepare, you've prepared to fail. There's no way to sugarcoat this.

Research to know more about the company, the services they offer, or the products they sell. Furthermore, research your potential employer, the recruiter, and the hiring manager. View their LinkedIn profile, and learn more about their role and personality. Arm yourself with knowledge, and it will help you.

Create an interview cheat sheet, write down possible job interview questions and practice them. For last-minute revisions, you can go through these questions again. Prepare your cover letter, notebooks, pens, portfolio, and everything you need for the interview.

Additionally, ensure you know where the interview is, when it is, and prepare to arrive before then. Or, conversely, if this is a remote interview, confirm the time, your contact, and the relevant links or phone numbers. This will give you enough time to get yourself together before the interview begins.

Photo of cheerful woman in yellow shirt smiling while writing down notes while working on a laptop at a table.

Boost Your Confidence With Inspirational Music

Calm your pre-interview jitters and boost your confidence by listening to inspirational music. This will help you get rid of pesky negative thoughts and fill your mind with motivational insight that will keep you going.

The power of music in boosting self-esteem and increasing optimism is well documented. In fact, in a related survey by JDP on how Americans prepare for interviews, 64% of the respondents listened to music before a job interview. You can try it out too. However, it doesn’t have to be inspirational or motivational music. We all have different tastes. So whatever turns your vibe up and puts you in a positive mood for the interview is perfect.

Young African American businessman smiling while standing on a bus listening to music on a smartphone and headphones.

Go for a Walk or Run

How else can you pump out those endorphins to get that feeling of euphoria? Exercise! When you work out, your body releases chemicals, one of which is endorphins. Endorphins reduce stress and ward off anxiety.

Taking a long run or walk in the morning just before your interview will ease any nervous energy. While on it, you can also listen to inspirational music. By the time you finish, you’re more likely to have a clear head.

Suppose you don’t have time for a run before the job interview. In that case, you can take advantage of arriving early and taking a short walk before entering the interview room and beginning a conversation with your potential employer.

Young woman running on a forest trail during the morning.

Eat a Good Breakfast

You're trying to land a new job. The last thing you want to be worried about is a rumbling stomach.

Putting your mental health in check before the interview is crucial. One of the easiest ways of achieving that is having a quality breakfast. This can help lower stress, improve concentration, enhance memory, and balance your mood. It also improves physical health and enhances energy level.

Healthy woman eating an acai bowl breakfast with a spoon in a New York City park during the morning.

Wear a Great Outfit

You've got just one chance to make the first impression of "Yes, I'm the one for the job."

Dressing professionally for a job interview is a no-brainer. If you want to feel confident throughout the interview, pick out a nice outfit that makes you feel comfortable and ready for success.

Before the interview, check if the company has a dress code and dress accordingly. Look into the mirror and admire how wonderful you look. Before walking in, check to see that everything is still in place for utmost confidence.

Positive businessman smiles in a blue suit while looking in the mirror.

Change Your Perspective

Your mind is powerful. So, use it to your advantage. Irrespective of how anxious you are, try to keep your interview nerves in check. Always keep a positive mindset. Think of it as a professional conversation about your career, not a battlefield. Understand that it's human beings and not aliens conducting this next interview.

They need you as much as you need them! Remember, you're not the only one interviewing for the job. Communicate your career perspective with your shoulders high. Keep in mind that you also want to determine if this workplace is right for you during this process.

As time goes on, you might consider jobs with better opportunities or a career change; so this could be one of many interviews you attend. According to recent research by Zippia, the average American worker has 12 jobs throughout a lifetime. Therefore, don’t put too much pressure on yourself for just this one.

Smiling businesswoman shaking hands with a manger in an office setting.

Talk to an Encouraging Friend or Family Member

Talk to a family member or a trusted friend. Tell them how you feel about the job interview, and be vulnerable enough to acknowledge that you're tense. This alone relieves you of the stress.

If you can't hype yourself up and compliment yourself when you’re nervous, why not let a family member do it for you? Don’t feel like you have to take on preparing for stressful situations, such as interviews, alone.

Two young female friends enjoying coffee together in a restaurant laughing and joking while displaying affection.

Take Deep Breaths and Strike a Power Pose

Did you know taking deep breaths can help you stay calm and lower your heart rate?

Slow, deep breaths can trigger psychological responses that launch you into a state of relaxation. You can do it during your last-minute preparation, when sitting in your car, or waiting in line till it's your interview turn.

Apart from helping you relax, this can help you overcome one of the most common interview anxiety symptoms: The inability to focus.

Striking a power pose for a few minutes will also increase your confidence. While doing this, continue to affirm that you're the best candidate. Some effective power poses are:

  • Smiling

  • "The salutation." Arms outstretched and face towards the sun

  • "The victory. "Raising hands above head in celebration

Handsome smiling confident businessman portrait.

Give Yourself a Pep Talk

Giving yourself pep talks before a job interview is essential. It might sound crazy to talk to yourself, but it isn't. Pep talks help decrease nervousness and boost self-confidence, and are also proven to have numerous other health benefits.

You can say these mantras aloud to yourself:

  • I will make it.

  • I can do everything I put my mind to.

  • I have all it takes to pass this interview.

  • I will love myself unconditionally irrespective of the interview outcome.

  • I am bold and confident.

Professional handsome man takes a look at himself in the mirror.

Plan Something Fun After the Interview

To not focus only on your jitters, you should plan something fun to look forward to after the interview. Anticipating a positive event is related to decreased negative emotion. The visualization of the positive event will help reduce your stress.

You can plan to take your dog on a walk, watch some Netflix, grab drinks with friends, eat out at a restaurant, or visit a loved one. Whatever it is, make sure it makes you happy, and prepare for it to be ready by the time the interview is over.

Friends having fun and drinking cocktails outdoor on a rooftop get-together.

Land Your Next Job Interview With Joblist

Preparing for a job interview can be challenging yet exciting if you approach it with the right mindset. However, most job seekers don't know where to search and apply for their dream job, let alone get an interview invite. That's where Joblist comes in.

Our system generates the best available jobs based on your preference. We believe that your job search, application, and subsequent interview invites should be fast, flexible, and stress-free. All you need to do is take the quiz and let us help you land your next big job interview.

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