Career Advice for Job Seekers

Graduate Tips: How to Deal with Interview Nervousness

William Frierson AvatarWilliam Frierson
May 22, 2014

Female office worker interviewing prospective employee

Female office worker interviewing prospective employee. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you’re just graduating from college you may not have had much experience with job interviews. That inexperience can cause a lot of nervousness. The best ways to calm your nerves is by preparing, planning and practicing to get the job you want and get started on your career path. Here’s what you need to do.

Prepare and Practice

A common cause for interview nervousness is a lack of planning and practicing. This is vital for graduates.

Practice answering common job interview questions by writing them down. Oftentimes, graduates are unsure of their answers to questions about their skills, where they see themselves in 5 years, and so on. Writing down your answers will help you figure out your career goals and strengths, and you will be better prepared to answer the hiring manager’s questions.

Practice mock interviews with your friends, family and your college’s career counselor. This will help you get through those tough questions now, and not in the presence of an actual recruiter or hiring manager. The more you practice, the better prepared you will be for your real interviews. Plus, you’ll be less nervous about your job interview because you have prepared your answers and practiced for your interview.

Do Your Homework

Whenever you apply for a job you will need to know everything you can about your employer and what is expected of the candidate who wins the job position. Go online and read about the company. Here are some things you should know:

  • Who is the president?
  • When was it started?
  • What products and/or services do they sell?
  • How many employees are there?
  • What job positions are there?

Common interview questions include information about the company because they want to see if you are committed to the job you’re applying for. Be prepared by researching the company and reading all about it.

You will also need to study the job description to fully understand what is expected of the graduate they are seeking to hire. It’s best to incorporate key words from the job description into your resume, cover letter, and during your interview. Show the hiring manager that you understand what the job entails. Knowing this will help you prepare to let the hiring manager know that you are the best candidate for the opportunity.

Having this knowledge will fill you with confidence and eliminate interview nervousness because you will understand what the company and the job position is all about. You will be ready to answer any questions that come your way. Practice questions about the company and the job description with your friends, family and career counselor as well.

First Impressions

When you first walk in that door and find the hiring manager you have about 90 seconds to impress her. Your first impression is incredibly important. Here are some tips:

  • Dress for the position. You cannot overdress!
  • Smile and make eye contact
  • Have a firm handshake
  • Sit up straight and keep excellent posture
  • Avoid crossing your arms – keep your body language positive and open
  • Show enthusiasm

These are also things you can practice with those helping you practice and prepare for your job interview.

When you prepare, plan and practice properly your nerves will fade. You will have the knowledge and the experience necessary to walk through that door and nail the interview. Bring a folder with you that contains another copy of your resume, a copy of the job description, and some information about the company. It’s okay if the hiring manager sees this. It shows you care enough about the interview to research these things. You can refer to it if you need to. Now go launch your career!

Gerald Buck is the editor of EJobApplications, a website offering free downloadable job application forms, career information, job interview and resume tips, as well as much more. He can be reached via email at

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