It’s helpful to run through interview questions and responses in your mind and work out your thoughts on paper, but nothing replaces actual practice!
You can request a mock interview to practice answering questions and discuss any concerns you have with a career counselor. Schedule an appointment through Handshake and note you’d like to work on your interview skills.
- Practice interviewing on your own with our virtual tool, “Big Interview.” Big Interview is an online system that combines training and practice to help improve your interview technique and build your confidence.
Big Interview’s tools include:
- Challenging, virtual mock interviews for all experience levels and dozens of industries
- A database of thousands of interview questions with tips on how to answer them
- The ability to rate and share your interview answers for feedback
- A comprehensive video training curriculum covering all aspects of landing a job
- A step-by-step interview Answer Builder for crafting answers to behavioral questions
As a reminder, when using any online resource, never share personal information. When practicing your interview skills, keep your responses focused on your skills, abilities and experience.
- YouTube Video series, “Powerful Interview Tips”
- Career Readiness Workbook includes common questions employers ask, questions you can ask, etiquette tips, closing the interview, interview attire, types of interviews, sample thank you letter.
- Negotiating Offers and Salary – Equip yourself with data and insights from relevant websites that will help you answer the question, “What are your salary requirements?”
- Learn about On-Campus Interviewing
Manage your nerves
It’s not unusual to get nervous before an internship or job interview. Sometimes the prospect of an interview inspires such feelings of anxiety and dread that we anticipate every conceivable aspect of the process going wrong.
It may help to keep in mind that interviewing is a two-way street, an opportunity for you and the employer to get to know each other. Contrary to what you may have heard, interviewers do not want to intentionally ask you difficult questions just to see you make a mistake. In fact, employers want you to do well. Think about it: they invest a lot of time and money screening and recruiting candidates. The sooner they can identify the right person, the sooner their job is done.
The good news is that the more experience you get with interviewing, the less nervous you will feel. Like any other task you have mastered, interviewing is a skill. If you have ever been on a team, played an instrument, or performed in public, you probably didn’t just show up on game day and expect to deliver a flawless performance. Instead, you probably spent many hours beforehand practicing, rehearsing, and visualizing what you would do and say. Interviewing is no different; it is a skill that requires preparation and practice.
In addition to developing a constructive perspective, doing your research and practicing your responses, you can calm your nerves by engaging in focused breathing. The videos below provide a couple of ways to get into a more relaxed state of body and mind, setting the stage for a more positive outlook on the interview experience.
Watch this video to practice using your breath to feel less stressed:
Watch this video to find inner balance using alternate nostril breathing:
Use Mental Rehearsal
Rather than allowing your imagination to work against you, think about employing a tactic sports psychologists have used for decades to prepare athletes for competition. Mental rehearsal is a technique in which you visualize your desired performance in high-pressure situations. Research supports that mental rehearsal can effectively alleviate anxiety while increasing desired performance behaviors and outcomes.
Mental rehearsal for interviews involves envisioning how the ideal interview will unfold. The more detailed our vision, the more effective your rehearsal will be. Find a quiet space where you’re unlikely to be disturbed for 10-15 minutes and use these basic guidelines for practice:
Get into a comfortable position, sitting up, reclining, or lying down. Take a few deep breaths, and as you exhale imagine all of the tension slowly leaving your body. Allow your mind to focus.
- See yourself in the waiting room before your interview. Notice the color of the walls and the style of the furniture as well as the sounds you would normally hear in this environment.
- Remember not to act as a passive observer – you are in your own body. Notice what you are wearing. Make sure you select clothing that makes you feel confident and comfortable.
- Imagine the interviewer approaching you in the waiting room. You smile and extend your hand, thinking to yourself, “I am a terrific candidate for this job.”
- You walk into the room where you will be interviewed. This time, focus on the questions you will be asked. Imagine yourself answering the questions intelligently and confidently. If you’re not sure what kinds of questions they might ask, check out the resources on our Interviewing page. As the interview comes to a close, tell yourself, “That went very well.”
Consider some of the thoughts and feelings that emerged during the rehearsal process. Try to combat negative self-perceptions with upbeat self-talk, such as, “I have terrific communication skills,” or, “I have a wonderful eye for design.” Personalize your statements so that they make the encounter feel realistic.
As you become more accustomed to the visualization, try adding scenarios that have been anxiety-provoking during past interviews (for example, being asked a question to which you don’t have an answer) and practice thoughtful ways of responding to them.