How to beat the nerves and show your true self in an interview

Source: CareerCast

Smile. Breathe. Stay confident. Just be yourself. These are the four key pieces of advice we’ve all heard before going into a job interview. But how do any of these tips help showcase your true personality when nerves kick in?


Author: Michele Dambach

Smile. Breathe. Stay confident. Just be yourself. These are the four key pieces of advice we’ve all heard before going into a job interview. But how do any of these tips help showcase your true personality when nerves kick in?

Like many of us, you’ve gone into interviews feeling an extreme amount of pressure. Some have experienced stress so severe it becomes impossible for the employer to see what they really have to offer.

If just the thought of an interview makes you feel a bit queasy, you’re not alone. The Opportunity Index by Hired, an October survey of 2,557 full-time employees, discovered job seekers not only rate the interview as the most stressful part of the job search process, they rate that stress above getting a root canal.

Which would you rather have -- a job interview or a root canal? I’ll let you think about that one.

Let’s take a look at four ways to show interviewers why you’re the best choice for the job -- even when you’re nervous:

1. Don’t get wrapped up in lies.

You’ve devised the perfect story that will surely get you hired. It may not be the full truth, but all that matters is you get the job. The problem is, employers are on the lookout for these lies and 69 percent of them say lying is a major deal breaker, according to a CareerBuilder survey.

Not only are employers trained to sniff out lies, but lying is nerve-wracking. Being dishonest about your experience or salary during the interview can keep you from showing the interviewer the honest, valuable traits about yourself.

This might be one where mom had the right advice: just be yourself. It’s OK to be candid and answer honestly. Employers appreciate when candidates really open up about their experiences, future goals, and even past mistakes.

2. Hold an actual conversation.

Candidates who only speak when spoken to can become boring and forgettable. Shake things up a bit and give interviewers something to talk about.

Most jobs value strong communication skills. What better way to show them off than by using your talents during the interview? Especially when you consider the fact that 73 percent of hiring professionals said a candidate’s conversation skills are most likely to influence hiring decisions, according to Jobvite’s 2016 Recruiter Nation Survey.

Speak up during the interview. Remember, this isn’t just about the employer -- it’s also about finding a job and company that’s a perfect match for you. Opening up about yourself and asking questions will help calm your nerves in a way that also helps you and the employer understand each other.

3. Google doesn’t know everything.

Google can tell you the ‘perfect’ answers to the most common interview questions. But not only does trying to memorize something make your nerves skyrocket, these canned responses put you in a box. Standing out among a sea of candidates is difficult when you’re contained to specific answers.

Ditch the script and forced responses. Your resume and cover letter got you this far because an employer liked your merits. Now is your time to shine beyond the application process.

Decrease the pressure by researching the company. Understanding its values, history, and culture will better prepare you for the questions to come. Entering an interview with your own thoughts and opinions about why you’re the best person for the job will give you an extra boost of confidence and show off your personality.

4. Smile, but not too much.

It’s important to smile, but the key to beating your nerves with a smile is being genuine about it. Nervous laughter, over-excitement, and a permanent smile plastered on your face can come across as fake. In fact, a Social Science Research Network study found those who smile too much are perceived as less intelligent. What’s worse is this habit could distract employers from fully seeing your real personality.

It’s important to never force any part of the interview process -- especially your smile. Use your knowledge of the company, your own talents, and your natural abilities to put forth a personality that is true to who you are.

This article is reprinted by permission from

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