It’s typical to be nervous during an interview, and, especially in cases with multiple interviewers, to feel a bit like you’re on a firing squad. The questions are coming fast and loose, and as much as you try to rapid-fire your responses, the nerves are getting the best of you.
Don’t despair - there are things you can do to maintain a feeling of control in even the most high-pressure interview setting. And no, they don’t involve yoga.
1. First off - breathing. Yes, that’s right, we’ve just told you to breathe.
But taking a big, calming, even audible breath does more than centre you - it gives you time to re-focus on the question and generate a possible response, all the while demonstrating that you are in fact still alive, despite the slightly fearful blank look in your eyes.
Then, if you’re still at a loss, try this…
2. Ask for more time. Politely requesting a moment to think about your response, or even for your interviewer to repeat the question shows that you are engaged and thoughtful, and avoids the dreaded dead air scenario where they stare at you and you stare at them and nobody breaks the silence - yikes. Give yourself a beat, why don'tcha? And, if that still feels too awkward…
3. Use the water bottle trick. After asking for a minute to think, slowly unscrew the lid of the bottle of water you strategically brought with you, and even more slowly, take a sip - all the while giving yourself time to think.
Lastly, come prepared with your own questions for the interviewer - they will almost always ask you, and even if you were not the most prepared for their queries, this offers a terrific chance to direct the conversation, and leave a lasting good impression.
Ask about dress code, opportunities for advancement, or for them to name a time they felt their team went above and beyond. Not only will you be demonstrating your interest in the position, you will also gain a bit of insight into what it’s like to work there, and engage your interviewer in a dialogue that will ultimately serve to make you more memorable. Now, with this in mind, go out and own that interview!