How to handle your jitters for a successful job interview

worried female job applicant with fingers crossed
It’s 10:00 PM and you have a job interview early the next day. But once you’re in bed, you start doubting whether or not you can handle the job. You immediately worry that you’re going to embarrass yourself during the interview. And now you can’t sleep.

Interviews can be anxiety-inducing for some job hunters. The stress can start to surface days before your interview, before you sleep, sometimes hours before the interview, or even in the middle of answering one of the recruiter’s questions. Of course, the advice “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine” won’t work on you when you’re already worrying.

You don’t want to fumble and embarrass yourself. You don’t want to waste the interviewer’s time because, more importantly, you want the job. What do you do?


Be prepared.

company recruiters reading resume with worried job applicant watching

Being prepared gives you a sense of confidence as you know what you’ll say when asked a question. Learn which questions are commonly asked and practice answering them. You can also examine yourself and your resume.

A good way to examine yourself is to perform a SWOT analysis. The acronym stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Despite intended as an organizational assessment, you can also use it to gauge yourself. Strengths are your assets, weaknesses are areas you need to improve, opportunities are elements you can explore, threats are those that can cause you trouble.

For example:

•     Strengths: English-proficient, knows foreign languages, good communication skills
•     Weakness: No work experience, introverted
•     Opportunities: The increase in multilingual customer service accounts
•     Threats: Alma mater not a top school

Despite your academe not being well known, the increasing need for foreign language speakers puts you in an advantage against other candidates. You can use your introversion to say that you’re a good listener, and your foreign language proficiency as a bargaining chip.



worried bearded job applicant loosening tie with business team in backdrop

The body, when presented with a stressful situation, enters a stress response mode—fight or flight. However, there is a third one: freeze. It’s when you go totally blank, like you’re at a loss for words or actions—like a deer in headlights or when you lose Internet connection and the video starts rebuffering.

You don’t want to blank out during the interview. When the feeling of dread occurs, breathe to calm yourself down. If you feel any of these before the job interview, do some stretches or simple exercises to get your blood pumping.


Fake it ’til you make it.

confident job applicant holding pen sitting next to busy recruitment agent

When you’re still not feeling confident enough, sometimes bravado works. Fake it ’til you make it. Take note of your typical body language—be more assertive than submissive. For example, you should straighten your posture when you notice that you’re slowly slumping. Flashing a smile also helps, as smiling lightens up your mood. What you don’t fake, however, is your credibility.


Interviews are like first dates. You want to make a good impression on your potential employer. Think of it like you’re wooing the interviewer to pick you. You dressed up nice and went to that interview because you want that job. Keep these interview tips in mind and go forth and win their hearts.