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Got an interview? Stay in control

Beat nervousness with this eight-point guide. Chitra Jha tells more.

education Updated: Jul 14, 2009 17:56 IST
Chitra Jha

Most of us talk nineteen to the dozen when we are with our friends, but the moment we have to face an interview or participate in a debate, we are tongue-tied. We start fidgeting, sweating, and looking around, rather than focus on the topic being discussed. What makes us so nervous? Is it the fear of failure or is it something else? Whatever the reason, we need to know how to overcome this situation. Follow these points.

1Before you start an interview, you may be required to shake the interviewer's hand. Make sure your palms are not clammy. A sweaty handshake is not the best way to start. If no handshake is required, remember to wish the interviewer(s) ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’.

2Do not start asking too many questions at the beginning of the interview. Speaking too hastily is a sure sign of nervousness. Let the interviewer lead, and give straight, intelligent answers. Save your questions and comments for the latter part of the interview.

3Look into the interviewer’s eyes in order to stay focused, looking away for only a split-second occasionally. If you feel uncomfortable making direct eye contact, just look at the point right between their eyes. In any case, do not look around the room or at the ceiling, as if searching for something. Doing this is a sign of either nervousness or lack of interest. Neither of these will get you anywhere.

4Sit up straight with your back against the chair. A slouching posture or sitting at the edge of the seat not only makes you look unintelligent, but it also shows your lack of self-esteem. Do not fidget in your chair. It shows that you are uncomfortable.

5Don't smirk or respond with nervous laughter when faced with a question you can’t answer. It will give away your uncertainty. Maintain a serious, business-like expression and answer the questions honestly.

6Take a small pause before you answer. Don’t start answering immediately. Don’t keep repeating your answer or give explanations. That shows a lack of self-confidence.

7Do not scratch your head, rub your hands together, crack your knuckles, jiggle a foot, bite nails, tap your fingers, touch your face unnecessarily, adjust your tie, clench your fists, rub your nose or twirl the ring on your finger. All these movements give away your insecurity.

8The tone of your voice easily reflects your nervousness, so speak purposefully and clearly. Remember, it isn’t only what you say, but the way you say it that makes all the difference.

Most people feel nervous before an interview. Success comes to those who know how to stay in control.

The author is a life skills coach, time-line therapist, and new consciousness writer. Write to her at chitrajhaa@gmail.com.