The Interview Jitters – 6 Ways to Negate the Nerves

Rachel Morgan

“Miss Morgan, what do you see yourself offering to Transylvania?”

“What are you involved in in your high school?”

“Well, Miss Morgan, what do you do in your free time and why?”

So. Many. Questions. How do you prepare for literally any question? That’s what we all want to know going into interviews. You don’t know what questions will be asked, what you’ll share and what you won’t, and there always seems to be that one question that you just don’t know how to answer. It’s okay – all of us feel that way. And there are some easy ways to survive the interview proces. I’ve done it before – jobs, scholarships, entrance interviews – and with grad school in a year and a half (oh dear) I’m sure I’ll be doing it all over again. Here’s what I can tell you, both from experience and my own nervousness.

1. Wear dress clothes. Think business casual – you can wear anything you might wear to church or a family member’s graduation. Jeans are not recommended – skirts or slacks for girls, dress slacks for boys. You don’t have to shine up your shoes, but first impressions are important!

2. Wear clothing you like. This is important. You have to be comfortable and at ease with yourself. I tend to wear my favorite blue blouse or one of my favorite dresses. When you feel comfortable and at ease with yourself, your true personality can shine through.

3. Answer questions honestly. The interviewers don’t want the cookie-cutter answers to any question – there is no ‘right’ answer. They want to know you. And how can they know you if you don’t tell them?

4. Never be afraid to ask for more time on a question. I’ve actually done this, in my Transylvania interview. A professor came out of left wing with a question I didn’t expect. I was thoughtful for a moment, then simply asked “Will you give me a moment to think? I’d like to get my thoughts in order.” Not only did they oblige, they seemed pleased I cared enough to take my time and answer thoughtfully and honestly.

5. Bring something to calm you down before and after the interview. It can be nerve-wracking to wait your turn. I normally bring my iPod and headphones in my purse, but a little number puzzle, a Rubix cube, a Game Boy, anything that will calm you down and help those butterflies settle is a good idea. That way, you will be more at ease heading into the interview.

6. Breathe. Relax. And smile. Sometimes things may not work out. Don’t beat yourself up over anything you may think you said wrong – just smile and be yourself, and things will work out. You can do it!

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