Although all job interviews are frightening, there is nothing quite so frightening as your very first time. Sure, you've seen them in films, even heard about them from your mates, but there is nothing that is quite like experiencing it first-hand.

Fear of the unexpected is totally natural – even seasoned interviewees are not immune to some nervous pre-interview jitters. Here are some tips for how to minimise them and be the best you can possibly be.

Be prepared

This seems obvious, but remember the old idiom: by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Even if you feel totally out of your depth, there are a few obvious things you can do to at least get yourself into the right headspace to be interviewed.

Man thinking


Read over your CV

It’s what got you here, after all. Make sure there are no details of your CV that you aren't totally comfortable with. If there is something unusual on there, assume you’ll be questioned on it, and get your answer ready.

And read over the job specification

Again, when you have minimal information to go on, your best bet is to work with what you have. Look at what the job entails – do you know enough about these skills? Think about past instances where you've demonstrated these skills.

Look at the job spec and prepare answers that relate these qualities to you. Not only will it most likely pay off in interview, but the very act of taking time to organise will make you more confident and calmer.

And prepare questions

One thing that often stumps first time interviewees is when the employer turns the tables and asks for questions back. There is no worse answer to this than, “No thanks, I’m fine!” Make sure you have something to say in response by reading this.

Dress appropriately

Two men wearing weird hats

The keyword for interview appearance is simple. You should wear plain, professional, comfortable clothes, with neat hair and clean, minimal makeup. It’s unlikely that interviewers will remember people who stand out for good reasons, so your best bet is to not stand out for bad ones.

Try to stay calm

This is obviously easier said than done, particularly for those of a nervous disposition. Some find a short session of meditation at the beginning of interview day to be of great help: it helps with perspective taking and mindfulness.

You can also try to rationalise your feelings – of course you’re nervous, this is a scary situation. And remember that without nerves, you wouldn't care. It’s important to challenge this energy into improving (rather than denigrating) your interview performance.

Don’t get your hopes up

Remember that it is, at the very least, statistically unlikely that you’ll get this job. Almost no-one’s first job interview is also their last. If nothing else, this experience gets you over the hurdle of never-been-interviewed, and is all good practice for the future.

But think positively

There’s nothing less attractive than walking into an interview already defeated. Even if you're feeling success is really unlikely, an optimistic demeanour is always appealing. If not for this job, then maybe the next!


Annie Walton Doyle writes for Inspiring Interns, which helps career starters find the perfect job, in everything from sales jobs to marketing internships. To browse our graduate jobs London listings, visit our website.

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