How to Calm Your Nerves Before a Big Job Interview

Business, Lifestyle
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Finding that right career can be a stressful experience, but luckily there are a number of websites to help you with finding the best job. Culver Careers can help you land that dream interview, but what do you do once you are there? Everyone freaks out a little internally before a big job interview. If you don’t panic, you probably have already gone through the process a number of times. As it happens, this is step one for calming your nerves before a huge interview.


Practice, practice, practice. Lots of morale comes from knowing you were able to overcome hard questions when challenged in previous situations. Nothing will calm your nerves more than proving to yourself that you are able to nail obscure interview questions that came out of left field. 

One idea is to have a friend or family member question you, but taking this situation seriously is harder than it might seem. That’s why another good option would be to apply to lots of jobs at once. That way, you can get in some serious practice before the one you are secretly pining for comes knocking for an interview. Just as athletes prep as if they were actually in competition when they practice, you need to be able to do all the hard work before that big moment so you can just relax and flow through those questions when the time comes.

You could work out some possible answers to potential questions using the S.T.A.R. (situation, task, action, result) method. 

Employers typically ask questions such as, “Explain to me a time that you overcame a challenging situation.” These behavioral-based questions can either make or break you; that’s why it’s in your best interest to make sure to practice a well-worded answer beforehand. When you are on the spot, your past experience will help you produce remediation of this answer instead of leaving you high and dry.

Situation (S):

Describe the situation that you were in; make sure to highlight a specific event, not a generalized situation. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.

Example: Advertising revenue was falling off for my college newspaper, and large numbers of long-term advertisers were not renewing contracts.

Task (T): What goal were you working toward?

Example: My goal was to generate new ideas, materials, and incentives that would result in at least a 15% increase in advertisers from the year before.

Action (A):

Describe the actions you took to tackle the situation with an appropriate amount of detail. Keep the focus on YOU. What specific steps did you take, and what was your particular contribution? Use the word “I,” not “we” when describing actions, to help keep yourself on track.

Example: I designed a new promotional packet to go with the rate sheet and compared the benefits of the newspaper’s circulation with other advertising media in the area. I also set-up a special training session for the account executives with a School of Business Administration professor who discussed competitive selling strategies.

Result (R):

Describe the outcome of your actions. Don’t be shy about taking credit for your behavior. What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? Make sure your answer contains multiple positive results.

Example: We signed contracts with 13 former advertisers for daily ads and five for special supplemental ads. We increased our new advertisers by 20 percent from where we started a year earlier.

Bragging about yourself can be one of the most difficult parts of the interviewing process. It’s not often you talk about how great you are in normal day-to-day conversations. On the contrary, it’s highly discouraged. That’s why practicing these unfamiliar situations is the key to feeling prepared.

To maximize your confidence, leave some time for your mind to calm down after your last practice run. If your interview is in the morning, don’t cram right before. This isn’t information you had to learn: you lived it. Reassuring yourself that you are the person for the job is the best stress reliever.


This brings me to step two: sleep on it. You have done the hard work and put in the time. Now it’s time to trust yourself. Getting to that “flow state” where you are not thinking, you are simply gliding through, is the sweet spot you want for your big moment. Don’t overanalyze the situation, or what will come of this – just do it. 

So once you are done practicing, put your notes away and just let go. Give your brain a chance to absorb everything, and let your mind wander for a few hours. You’ve got this.


Lastly, strike a pose! It has been scientifically proven that if you take up a lot of space for a couple of minutes, you instantly feel more confident afterward. So raise your head, lift your chest, spread your feet, and spread out those arms wide to multiply your chances of nailing that interview. Either a powerful star-pose or mimicking something you would see on a superman poster will do!

So repeat after me: practice, sleep on it, pose. You don’t need a special meal or drink to get you through this: you just need to believe in yourself.


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