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Calming the Pre-Interview Nerves


A fellow member of the Candidates Chair LinkedIn group and friend, Lisa Yoon, called me about an article she was writing on this topic and asked what I did in the hour before an interview.

Good or bad, I’ve had a fair amount of practice at this. I kept it to three things to build my confidence.

First, I ignored any thoughts of what I did not know.  Just like cramming for a test in school, if you don’t know an hour beforehand, you will not learn it adequately in an hour.  The key to success in this step is to keep away from the internet, no use to tempt your will power.  If you have to look at anything, check out the profile of who you are interviewing, there may be something that you’ll pick up about them.

Second, I wrote down the top 3 messages/themes I wanted to deliver.  I find that most people recall 2-3 things following an interview.  So make your know the most important ones to deliver a few times.  The key to success in this step is realizing that if the interviewer wants more, they will ask, so make these 2-3 items compelling to the interviewer.  I find whatever helps them accomplish their job; it adds more interest in you.

Third, I selected the five questions I felt were most likely to be asked.  Then I practiced the answer aloud five times to help me sound more natural and comfortable that I worked my top messages/themes.  This was my mantra, with each repeat of the answer, I felt more confident and relaxed.   The key to success in this step is practicing aloud and actually hearing the words.  When you say the answer in your head you flip on ‘auto correct’ so it’s difficult to catch phrases that might slip you up.

Confidence in yourself cannot be underestimated when it comes to settling your nerves.    If I’ve learned one thing, it’s often as important on ‘how’ you deliver the message, not just its content that leaves a lasting impression.

Good luck today.



Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

I agree that being prepared is the best way to calm those interview jitters. And I believe that the best way to be prepared is to understand your value and be able to clearly articulate that value in C-A-R + SI stories ... what CHALLENGEs did you face * what ACTIONs did you take * what RESULTS were delivered * and what was the STRATEGIC IMPACT? When you are prepared with CAR+SI stories, your confidence overflows. At least, that's what my clients tell me.