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How to eliminate nerves before a big interview

Job interviews are both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.

Once the excitement of making it through to interview stage wears off and the countdown to the interview is on, it’s completely normal for the nerves to kick in. This is especially true when it comes to interviews for ex-military and those returning to life on civvy street after leaving the forces.

Being in the forces isn’t just a career, it’s a way of life – so it’s understandable that many find the process of applying and interviewing for civilian jobs daunting. Don’t let nerves get in the way of landing your dream job though! Here’s how to get your nerves under control

 1. Accept that it’s normal to be nervous

People often think that nerves are a bad thing but, that’s not the case at all. If you’re nervous, it shows that you really care and that you truly want something.

Plus, if you spend too much time obsessing over why you shouldn’t be nervous, it could actually have a negative effect by making you feel that you’re doing something wrong simply by feeling a bit anxious – and before you know it, your focus could end up shifting to your nerves rather than the interview itself!

Instead, the best plan of action is to simply accept that you will feel nervous and that it’s okay to do so. Just acknowledge your feelings, take a deep breath, and focus on the task at hand.

2. Use your nerves to your benefit

This leads us onto our next point. Believe it or not, a small amount of nerves can improve your performance.

Yes, really! Anxiety gives you a boost of adrenaline which can help to motivate you to do your best. Recognise your nerves, embrace them and own them – and don’t forget, your interviewer will be looking to see how you handle yourself in a difficult situation.

So, by showing them that you can overcome your nerves and not let them get to you, you can prove to them that you are more than capable of dealing with stressful situations.

3. Make sure you’re fully prepared

Without a doubt, the best way to combat interview nerves is thorough preparation. Start off by researching the employer and make sure you go over the job description so you can be sure you understand the role and the skills you need to highlight.

For example, if you are interviewing for a role that will see you work on a specific piece of machinery, they will most likely ask questions to check you have the necessary knowledge.  

Of course, when it comes to interviews for ex-military, some of the questions you will be asked will depend on the position you are interviewing for, but you can definitely prepare answers to popular questions, such as your career goals, your reasons for leaving the army, and of course, the old favourite, where you see yourself in 10 years.

Lastly, it’s important to prepare questions to ask the interviewer as well so that you can show them that you are engaged and interested. For more top interview tips, click here.

4. Brush up on your video interview skills

Thanks to advancing technology and more recently as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more employers are using video interviews, which means you need to make sure that your telephone and online video interview skills are up to scratch so you can stay calm on the day.

For starters, decide on your location in advance – ideally somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed. Make sure the background is nice and tidy and free from clutter (first impressions count after all!) and make sure your technology is fully charged so you won’t have to scramble around searching for chargers on the day.

Lastly, be sure to remember your body language: smile, listen and show them you are interested in what they are saying. It’s also a good idea to maintain eye contact by looking directly into the camera rather than your own image on screen.

If in doubt, it’s always worth doing a practice run to see not only how you come across, but also to test your computer, camera and internet connection to calm your nerves and make sure everything runs smoothly on the day. Discover more top tips on video interviews in this blog.

5. Try and get some rest

If you’ve got an interview coming up, it can be tempting to stay up late and do as much preparation as possible the night before.

But, if you can, it’s important to try and relax and get a good night’s sleep. In the morning, make sure you eat a good meal beforehand, so you feel energised and focused; you could even do some yoga or meditate when you wake up to get in the right mindset!

Finally, before the interview kicks off, take some deep breaths to centre yourself and get in the zone.

How we can support your job search

At M&E Global, we have a truly holistic approach to recruitment and as such, we work with our candidates to help them throughout the interview process, which means we will be there to provide advice and coach you every step of the way so that you can go into your interview feeling confident and fully prepared.

For more advice and interview tips or to speak to one of our friendly team, contact us today. Alternatively, for more information about the roles we are currently working on, have a look at our current vacancies here.


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