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Job Interview Jitters: The One Thing that Helps Most

Job Interview Jitters

Your hands are sweaty; your heart feels like it’s beating out of your chest. How will you process questions when your ears are ringing and your internal voice won’t be quiet? Job interview jitters are no joke. No matter how qualified you are for the position, you may feel like your nerves will ruin your chances. Maybe they have before. What do you do?

We asked our recruiters and leadership team that question. They’ve seen it all and have been in some very stressful interview situations themselves. Their advice shares one central theme: Be prepared.

“Jitters can be overcome in a lot of cases when you are prepared,” says Technical Recruiter Scott Courville. How should you plan? Here are some suggestions: 

Consider Special Circumstances

First thing’s first: The following tips are great for handling the usual job interview jitters. Situational anxiety caused by the stress of an event like a job interview is extremely common. But more than 18% of us experience anxiety disorders like panic disorders or specific phobias that can go beyond mere jitters. Likewise, you may be among the one in 8 adults who are neurodivergent. That means you may have diagnosed or undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, sensory processing disorder, Tourette Syndrome, or any number of traits that make situations like job interviews particularly challenging.

If either of these exceptional circumstances is true for you, quieting your nerves with extra research or relaxation techniques won’t cut. Instead, you may want to tap into specific resources, including doctors, therapists, or organizations that focus on career resources for your particular situation.


Ready to move your career forward? Connect with The HT Group today!

Have A Game Plan

If you fall into the more 80% of the population who experience job interview jitters that are the more standard-issue situational variety, The HT Group Director of Consulting Services Sam Wood recommends splitting your job interview preparation into two focus areas: pre-game and game day.

“To pre-game, research the company and have some good and relevant questions for them. You will be judged by the questions you ask,” Wood recommends. Then, practice what he calls “your 30-second commercial” aloud in the mirror. That’s the story you’ll tell when the interviewer asks you about yourself. “Your delivery should flow out of you like poetry. By practicing out loud, you’re training your brain better versus just thinking it.”

The time leading into and during the interview is what he calls “game day.” That time is all about breathing, visualization, and other techniques.

“Right before the interview, take a deep breath. Hold it, breathe out, and pause again. Do this several times and get as close as you can under the circumstances to a meditative state,” he says. “Then, imagine how you want to feel during the interview. Walk through it in your mind while imagining yourself relaxed, funny, intelligent, and impressive. Tell yourself: You are confident and answer questions with ease.”

He recommends going deeper into the visualization to set the stage for being successful in the job. He understands it may sound corny, but he’s seen it work.

“Think/feel what it will be like your first day when you unpack your things. Then, think/feel about your first 90 days and then the first year. Imagine that you realize how much you’ve contributed to the company and how grateful they are for your efforts,” he says. “Now the important part: Take another deep breath and imagine how you want THEM to feel while talking to you. Look at their LinkedIn picture while you do this so you can better visualize them. It’s not uncommon to have a new friend within the first five minutes and land the position.”

Continue The Visualization

The HT Group Vice President of Sales Claire Reese, CSP, agrees that visualization can be a powerful cure for job interview jitters. She adds to Wood’s advice with additional steps that can help as you visualize the job interview.

“Envision the questions that might get asked and think about your answers. Then, think about how the interviewer is going to respond. Are they going to be smiling, nodding, saying words of affirmation? How will you respond? What are the words that you will use, how will you be looking and feeling? Going through the experience positively in your head ahead of time will help you to feel more familiar and confident, which will relax your nerves,” Reese says.

A side effect of the exercise is also a critical component of your interview behavior: It’ll help put a smile on your face.

“Remember to smile!  When you smile, you automatically feel happier and calmer,” she says. Wood adds that while smiling can come naturally in person, too many forget to smile during remote video interviews. In that case, take advantage of the setup and post a sticky note near your camera lens as a reminder.

Know Your Strengths

We get it: Talking about how great we are isn’t natural for most of us. It’s awkward. It can feel self-centered. It alone puts job candidates into a nervous tailspin. Many of us aren’t even self-aware enough to understand our own strengths. But it’s essential to do so. It’ll not only help prepare you for your interview, but it’s a great confidence booster, too, says Junior Staffing Recruiter Gracen Pizzitola. She offers an easy way to accomplish the task:

“Make a list of your previous jobs and write down times you received praise from your past coworkers or employers for the work you were doing,” she recommends. “Think back to specific projects you were particularly proud of and write those down. You can even think back to times in school where you received positive feedback from a teacher or athletics coach. Write down those moments and read them back to yourself. Remember the value that you have added to companies in the past and know that you will be an asset to your next career endeavor. If you go into the interview with those thoughts in mind, you will be more aware of your worth and what you have to offer.”

We each our triggers when it comes to job interview nervousness. Talk to your recruiter if you need additional advice on working through yours. Your recruiter can help you with mock interviews to identify your triggers and how you may be able to overcome them. That’s one of the great benefits of working with a recruiter – they can be both your cheerleader and your coach.


Ready to move your career forward? Connect with The HT Group today!