Sara's Career Tip: How do I calm my "interview nerves"?

Hi there! I'm Sara Ayazi. As a career counselor at the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD), my goal is to help you navigate your career successfully!

Each month, I will be sending UCSF health professional students a career tip. A fellow health professional student recently asked if the following question can be shared in February's Career Tip of the Month:

“I get so nervous during interviews. I have my first interview coming up next week. Any tips on how to calm my nerves during the interview process?”

You are not alone! It is very common to feel nervous before and/or during an interview. Below are several tips that can help you calm your nerves, and hopefully increase your confidence, during the interview process: 

  • "Diagnose" the issue: Identify the aspects of the interview process that are causing feelings of nervousness. Is it not knowing how to answer the dreaded “Can you tell me about yourself” question? Or, not having the appropriate interview attire? Whatever it is, prioritize those concerns and create action steps to address them. At OCPD, we can support you with this process through our one-on-one appointments.
  • Create a pre-interview routine: What are some activities that help you relieve stress and make you feel confident? Before an interview, try to engage in at least one of those activities. Part of my role involves public speaking. Before each public speaking engagement, I listen to my favorite song to feel more confident. Others have found it helpful to receive a pep talk from a trusted friend before an interview, or engage in breathing exercises to help calm interview nerves.
  • Reframe your interview mindset: Interviews can sometimes feel one-sided where the focus is solely for the interviewer to determine whether they will select you. This perception can result in added pressure and stress for the interview applicant. Remember that the interview is a two-way street. Just as the interviewer is using the interview to ascertain whether you would be a good fit for their team, this is an opportunity for you to gather data on whether the program/organization is a good fit for you. By reframing your interview mindset, you can feel more empowered and less stressed.

If you are currently interviewing, best of luck! Want more strategies on how to feel more comfortable during the interview process? Check out the Office of Career and Professional Development website where you can find resources on the interview process, including Standout, a mock interview tool that will allow you to practice your interview skills. You can also make an appointment with OCPD where we can support you on this process.

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