How to calm interview anxiety and bring your best self to potential employers

So, you’ve cleared the first hurdle – your application’s been noticed and you’ve got an interview. It feels amazing! Until the nerves kick in and the euphoria of getting an interview is replaced by the dread of actually having to do it. We’ve all been there – interviews are daunting for anyone – but when you’re a mum who has been out of the job market for months or years, the nerves can feel unbearable. That’s why Successful Mums have put together our five steps to help you prepare for your interview, boost your confidence and impress employers. Of course, nothing is ever guaranteed, but these tips will help you go into your interview feeling calm, confident and ready to bring your best, most successful self.

Do your homework

It sounds simple, but one of the biggest things you can do to feel prepared for an interview is to brush up on your knowledge of the company and the job role you are applying for. It doesn’t have to take long, even just finding an hour to browse the company website, and re-read your application and the original job advertisement is a great way to remind yourself of exactly what they’re looking for – and exactly how you can offer it.

On a practical note, make sure you keep a copy of the advertisements for each role you apply for. They are often removed from the website at interview stage, so you’ll thank yourself later.

Plan your outfit

Don’t leave it until the night before – especially if your smart clothes haven’t left your wardrobe in a while. The last thing you want the night before an interview is to take out your old favourite suit and find that it’s dirty, moth-eaten, or just isn’t comfortable any more.

Feeling confident and professional in what you’re wearing can be key to feeling calm and collected on the day, so give yourself plenty of time and start to think about your outfit a week before your interview. Not just that, but make sure you try everything on beforehand.

You can also check out more of our styling tips in our style yourself confident blog.

Prepare your answers

We’ve all experienced it, you’re in an interview, they ask you a question and your mind goes completely blank. It’s a horrible feeling, and of course, it’s impossible to predict everything you will get asked in an interview – but there are some commonly asked questions that it’s worth preparing answers for:

● Why do you think you’re a good fit for our company?

● Why do you want to work for us?

● Tell us about a personal achievement at work?

● When have you faced a challenging situation?

● What are your main strengths?

● What are your hobbies and interests?

And don’t forget, it’s also worth preparing a few thoughtful questions to ask your interviewer. Employers are always impressed by candidates who can ask insightful questions about the company or the role they are applying for.

Do a mock interview

Practice makes perfect! Asking a family member, friend or partner to prepare a mock interview can be a great way to ease into the interview mindset and identify anything you could work on. If you want to take it a step further, professional interview training could be the answer. At Successful Mums, we know how important interview coaching can be to help you to prepare and adapt your answers to commonly asked questions, boost your confidence and improve your chances of success. That’s why we offer interview skills coaching as part of all our back to work and career coaching courses.

Practice relaxation techniques on the day

Deep breathing, visualisation, positive affirmations. Whatever works for you, it can be incredibly helpful to practice calming techniques in the days leading up to the interview. But don’t stop there, you can use them on the day. Before your mind starts racing, take a few minutes in the toilets or waiting area beforehand to take some deep breaths, do a quick guided meditation, or even try power posing. It’s unlikely that your nerves will go entirely, and a bit of adrenaline isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but these techniques can help you feel more grounded, confident and ready to take on whatever your interview throws at you. Don’t worry, you’ll smash it!

Whether you’ve had a career break, or you’re searching for a job and need advice, we’ll help you get truly work ready and provide you with up to a year’s support too. As well as refreshing your interview techniques, we help our mums create top-notch CVs, learn digital skills and above all, build your confidence. Take the first step and register today!

Words by Izzy Wilson for Successful Mums