Job interviews can be stressful. Ninety-three percent of candidates get nervous beforehand, according to a 2020 survey by background-screening company JDP. While it's common to be nervous during interviews — especially if you're an older adult who hasn't applied for a new job in years — there are some things you can do before, during and, if necessary, after the interview to shake off those jitters and make a good impression.
Before the interview
Prepare and practice
Preparation can go a long way to making you less nervous, says leadership and career coach Andy Hillig, founder of Hillig Solutions, a leadership development and career coaching firm. You don't want to come across over-rehearsed, but the more you know what you're going to say, the more confident you are.
He also suggests spending some time in front of a mirror, paying attention to your responses and body language. This can help you adjust your delivery and polish your answers. If you practice with family members or friends, choose someone who will be honest with you about what you can improve, Hillig says.
Give yourself time
The last thing you want to do is feel stressed and rushed when you start the interview, so plan accordingly, says Angelina Darrisaw, founder and CEO of executive career coaching firm C-Suite Coach. If you're doing a video interview, give yourself plenty of time before and after the interview so you don't feel rushed.
If you're travelling to an in-person interview, map out your route beforehand and plan to arrive at the locations half-hour or 45 minutes early. But don't check-in at the front desk until 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. It's better to have to wait than to arrive late, which will make a bad impression and increase your stress level, Darrisaw says.
"I always like to remind people that it's perfectly acceptable to have some notes in front of you,” Hillig says. They can be invaluable if you get nervous or lose your train of thought.
During the interview
Strike a power pose
Your body language can make you feel more confident, Darrisaw says. “Both in person as well as virtually, having that strong posture for yourself is something that makes you appear more confident,” she says. “And the way our brains work, how we feel, typically, or what we do with our bodies manifests in how we actually feel in that moment.” Before you respond to a question, take a deep breath and straighten your posture, which can make you feel more powerful.