How to Conquer Your Interview Nerves

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2D flat design image of an interviewee feeling nervous, representing how to conquer your interview nerves by GradSimple.

Time to read: 5 minutes

Ever wonder why your palms sweat and your heart races before an interview? Slowly but surely, it starts to feel crippling. It’s not just you—but it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s transform that tension into a powerful asset for your next interview, ensuring you not only succeed but shine.


  • Acceptance is Power: Acknowledge nervousness as normal; accepting emotions can pivot focus from fighting anxiety to constructive management.
  • Preparation Fuels Confidence: In-depth research and mock interviews, leveraging platforms like LinkedIn and GradSimple, convert tension into preparedness and assurance.
  • Physical and Mental Balance: Activities like a brisk walk, the 4-7-8 breathing technique, and power posing enhance bodily and mental readiness, fostering calmness and self-confidence.

Acceptance and Mindfulness

Embracing Your Nerves

Accepting that you’re nervous is the first step toward regaining control. Acknowledge your feelings without judgment. This acceptance is critical—it helps shift your focus from fighting your anxiety to managing it constructively. The more you tell yourself that you shouldn’t be feeling a certain way, the opposite usually happens. 

Example: when you find yourself feeling interview nerves, make it a practice to validate your feelings and say, “I’m nervous, and that’s okay.”

Mindfulness: The Key to Composure

Mindfulness means being fully present in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without being overwhelmed by them. Practice mindfulness through simple breathing exercises or guided meditations. These techniques can center your thoughts, reduce stress, and improve your interview performance by enhancing focus and calmness.

Apps like Headspace or Calm offer guided meditations that can reduce stress and improve focus. Even a short 5-minute session before the interview can center your thoughts and enhance composure.

The Privilege of Pressure

Quote by Billie Jean King on pressure being a privilege.

Reframing Stress as an Opportunity

Stress, a natural response to significant events, can become a motivating force. For instance, consider how athletes use pre-game nerves to enhance performance. In interviews, this same energy can sharpen focus and actually improve performance.

You don’t get into a lot of pressure situations in your lifetime. If you can put yourself in a pressure situation where the stakes are high, you have worked hard for it, you have earned it.

Doc Rivers

Growth in Disguise

Stress isn’t just a hurdle; it’s a signal you’re growing. Every moment of nervousness is an opportunity to extend your limits and improve. Recognize these signs as stepping stones to success, pushing you to prepare better and aim higher in your career journey.

Preparation & Practice

Research is Key

Begin your interview prep well in advance to build familiarity and confidence. Research the company’s mission, culture, and recent achievements. Look them up on platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor to gain insights into their work environment and employee experiences. 

Prior to an interview, understand the job description deeply to ensure that you align your skills and experiences with the employer’s needs. Solid preparation turns the unknown into the known, lessening anxiety and boosting confidence.

Mock Interviews: A Practice Arena

Simulate the interview environment through mock interviews with a friend, mentor, or coach. This practice will do wonders to help you build your confidence. Rehearsing your responses sharpens your delivery, making you more articulate and composed during the actual interview. It’ll also allow you to receive advice and feedback in a low stakes environment. 

PRO TIP: Regular mock sessions improve not just your answers but also your ability to handle the unexpected calmly. At GradSimple, we make it easy for you to get 1-on-1 interview preparation coaching with recruiters or hiring managers.

Physical and Mental Readiness

Energize Your Body

Physical exercise, like a quick walk or a light workout, can significantly reduce stress levels. It releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators, which help calm nerves and improve focus. Make time for some physical activity before the interview to energize your body and clear your mind.

Calm Your Mind

Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help center your thoughts and ease anxiety. These practices encourage a state of calm, allowing you to approach the interview with a balanced and focused mindset. Regular mental conditioning leads to better stress management and a more confident presence during interviews.

PRO TIP: Try simple techniques like the 4-7-8 breathing method to quickly regain calmness and control in stressful situations.

Positive Self-talk and Visualization

Cultivating Confidence with Self-Talk

The words you speak to yourself matter. Positive self-talk can transform your mindset, turning doubt into confidence. Before the interview, affirm your abilities and value, reminding yourself of your qualifications and past successes. This practice strengthens self-belief and sets a positive tone for your performance.

Example: Phrases like “I am capable and prepared” reinforce self-belief and readiness. Repeating these affirmations daily leads to a stronger, more confident mindset.

Envisioning Success

Visualization is a powerful tool for preparing your mind for success. Imagine the interview process in detail, from entering the room to confidently answering questions and engaging with the interviewers. This mental rehearsal primes you for a successful interaction, making you feel more prepared and reducing the fear of the unexpected.

The Power of Body Language

Communicating Confidence Non-Verbally

Your body language speaks volumes before you even say a word. Stand tall, maintain good eye contact, and offer a firm handshake to project confidence. These non-verbal cues send a message of self-assurance and professionalism, influencing both how others perceive you and how you feel about yourself.

Example: consider the “power pose” technique: standing in a posture of confidence, like hands on hips, can actually increase feelings of power and assurance. Practice this before your interview to enhance presence and self-confidence.

The Bottom Line

Managing interview nerves effectively turns potential stress into a potent tool for success. With strategic preparation, mindfulness, and self-awareness, you can harness this energy to showcase your best self in interviews.

Ready to unlock your full potential and navigate your career journey with confidence? Join the GradSimple community today, and let’s turn those interview tensions into triumphs together.

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The human who runs the ship. Occasional writer, occasional web developer. Yes, this is the guy who hired a raccoon (if you know, you know).

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