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  • Stacey Baker

How to stay calm during some very nervous interviews

Skype interviews are actually better for nervous interviewees: They mean you can sit on your hands to stop showing that you're shaking. However, it can sometimes be quite unsettling doing interviews over Skype, particularly if there's a time delay and you end up talking over each other. A good method of conquering your nerves for Skype interviews is to get a friend or family member to record you while you practice. That way you can see what the interviewer will be seeing and improve any areas that you feel may need work.

If you get the shakes, find a quiet place to calm yourself down: Take several deep breaths. Focus on making your entrance and those first few minutes as strong as possible. Think about posture, eye contact and a great handshake to demonstrate confidence. Also, avoid the glass of water if you are feeling very shaky. Lastly, remember they need and want you to succeed as they have a post to fill.

Researching the interviewer on LinkedIn will only show that you are being diligent in your preparation: It's great that you can now find out about the career path and professional interests of the people you are meeting. It can help you prepare questions to ask them about what attracted them to the company. It can also give you some pointers on the backgrounds the business finds valuable.

Put it into perspective – an interview is not a life and death situation: I prepare as much as possible. I practice with a trusted friend or colleague and I try to look after myself physically with yoga breathing and relaxation techniques. It always helps to remind myself of my successes to boost my self esteem and for this I have an appreciations envelope where I store all the lovely feedback I have had from friends and colleagues to boost my confidence.

Prepare your questions before an interview: The reality is you cannot prepare for every possible question in an interview. Examples in particular are very important but they need to be ones you can apply to a number of different areas or competencies. Take your time, listen properly to the question being asked, and don't be afraid to pause for a few seconds before you answer while you think of the right approach.

Hand write your answers during preparation as you would speak them: Don't worry about grammar or punctuation – keep it natural. Then put your answers away, ask yourself the questions one by one and answer from memory. The fact you've handwritten answers should aide your subconscious, and the fact you wrote them as you'd speak should mean you deliver them naturally, rather than sounding as though you wrote them and learned them. You'll quickly get to be able to mix and match from what's lodged in your memory, and be able to deliver all your answers much more naturally than you'd ever think possible.

I use visualization to prepare myself: As well as research, I imagine myself in the job – how I will be feeling, what I will be doing, what I will be saying or hear other people say. I arrive early to give myself time to prepare myself physically, go into the toilets and do some "power poses", breathing techniques and, as I go in, use the experience for learning rather than focusing on getting the job.

The next time you get feedback and they say you looked nervous, push them and ask about the quality of your answers: If you know where you went wrong in what you said, this will give you tips for improvement and may also give you more confidence to decrease the nerves. You could also ask a friend to practice the interview with you beforehand. If you have been for lots of interviews, you will know the type of questions to ask. Talking things through beforehand may help. Your friend may also spot any body language that gives away nerves.

When freezing up during an interview, honesty is the best policy: But first, clarify your understanding of the question by saying something like: "To clarify, did you mean...?" If you still don't know, then be upfront and describe how you are going to find out about whatever it is. This will demonstrate that you can be trusted to say if you don't understand something, that you are proactive in finding out, and gives a positive insight into how you would handle things in a real situation.

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