How to Mentally Prepare for an In-Person Interview
Deb Ward / JANUARY 11 2021

Let’s face it. Interviewing can be stressful. Some people can use that to rise to the occasion and fuel their best performance. Others struggle to tame the anxiety that results in talking too fast, fidgeting, or forgetting to highlight important accomplishments.

Currently, virtual interviewing is still the preferred method, however slowly but surely, companies will start to interview in person again and it is good to start preparing yourself for both virtual and in-person interviews.

To stop the nerves from getting the better of you, here are some techniques and tips to boost your confidence and help you present the most relaxed, focused, and confident version of yourself:

  • Preparation is job #1. That means honestly assessing your hard and soft skills, accomplishments, and personal attributes that set you apart from other candidates. Identify which technical skills are most important in this position… and especially in the hospitality industry, highlight the soft skills, such as adaptability, resourcefulness, leadership, and teamwork, which help you to work effectively with others.
  • Focus on positivity. Instead of thinking of how it can all go wrong, focus on your career achievements and what you do well. Rehearse a story that shows how you successfully handled a situation that came up that demonstrates your ability to think on your feet and work well with others. Use upbeat “self-talk” to combat any negative thoughts.
  • Practice interviewing with a career coach and learn from your mock interviews. These “exercises” provide powerful preparation and mental workouts for your confidence. You’ll uncover some areas you need to work on and better anticipate questions you might be asked.
  • Put yourself in the interviewer’s position. Consider what you would want to know and what questions you would ask a potential candidate. This shift in your perspective will help you understand what to focus on and help you become more compelling and concise in your answers.
  • Manage your stress. If you are consumed with nerves, you won’t seem confident and composed. Do some deep breathing or mediation before the interview and consider taking a brief walk outside before you check-in. Slow down so you don’t speak too quickly and breathe through your nose. It might help to remain standing while you wait so you can meet the interviewer at eye level when you are introduced.
  • Listen. When very nervous, some people are so busy rehearsing what they’re going to say next that they don’t listen. Sit back and listen carefully to what’s being asked and give the interviewer your full attention. It shows you value their time and are engaged in the conversation.
  • Visualize success. Mental rehearsal works. Athletes do it all the time. Imagine yourself as if you already have the job and are contributing to solving a challenge and offering solutions. Of course, it’s critical that you do your homework and clearly understand the market, the competition, and potential issues facing the company. 
  • Be Yourself. Don’t try to be perfect and overly rehearsed.  It can come across as fake and may even seem like you’re hiding something. Be confident that you are a high-quality candidate; speak in a friendly way as you would to a colleague. Slow down, listen, be yourself and you’ll come across as confident, relaxed, and authentic.

If you take the time to prepare, show how your skills and experience will contribute to this position, and are upbeat and likable, you’ll approach the interview with a calm and positive demeanor and be well on your way to success.