How to avoid interview nerves

Niamh Collins 23.09.2015

I recently met with a candidate with an outstanding CV. He had the experience, the qualifications and more than anything I knew he was very capable of doing the job. A element of nervousness is normal before an interview, but the problem with this candidate was that he was too nervous. 

My challenge was to help him overcome this issue. Here’s what I told him…

Sleep: Get a good nights’ sleep the night before the interview. When you are tired you are more nervous. Make sure you get at least 8 hours sleep.

Early morning: Get your interview arranged for the morning. This way you will be fresh and won’t be waiting around all day for the interview and allowing to nerves build up.

Travel: Make sure that you know where you’re going. If not, do a trial-run. If so make sure you know the distance and allow for traffic, especially at peak times.

Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins (the happy hormone) and will burn away some of that stress. I would suggest a walk and some fresh air the day before and even the morning of the interview.

Confidence: You can’t tell someone to be confident, it’s not a switch that people can flick on and off. But you can act confidently. Act as if you believe you are the right person for the job and you will be perceived as being confident. Also, you are being called to interview on merit, so remind yourself that you deserve to be there.

Prepare: For every interview there are five key areas to prepare.

  1. Know the job spec
  2. Have at least 7/8 points on the company
  3. Know your CV inside out
  4. Prepare examples for your competency-based questions and know the STAR technique.
  5. Know how to close the interview
  6. Perspective – It’s not life or death. Take the pressure off yourself. Prepare well, go in and give it your best. You are not going to get every interview you attend. But take the feedback from every interview you attend. This is very useful information for future interviews. 


In this case my candidate put the above advice into practice and successfully secured the role. Such simple steps, but he was the proof that they can make all the difference. 

Niamh Collins's picture
Associate Director | Accounting & Finance