How to Relax During a Job Interview (For Candidates)

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 18 Mar 2021

Job interview nerves are perfectly normal, especially if you’ve found your ideal pharma job and want to make a good impression on recruiters and hiring managers. Whilst interviewers may see nerves as a sign that you genuinely care about a role, you need to make sure they don’t take control over you.

In this article, we’ve given our top tips on how to relax during a job interview to help you communicate your key achievements and potential as a candidate in the best way possible, with advice on what to do both before and during your interview.

Pick an Early Interview Time

If you’re given a choice of times for your interview, try to pick the earliest slot where possible. This means you won’t be building up your nerves throughout the day and can instead get it over with and have the rest of the day ahead of you.

Plan Something for Afterwards

Picking an early interview time will also mean you can plan something for afterwards, giving you something to look forward to and taking the focus away from your nerves. It will also mean you won’t spend the rest of the day overthinking your answers!

Plan Ahead

Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to plan for the aspects of your interview that you are in control of, as this will give you less to worry about on the day. For face-to-face interviews, this could involve doing the following:

  • Printing out a copy of your CV/application
  • Finding a professional outfit to wear
  • Mapping your route to the interview

For virtual interviews, this could involve:

  • Testing your audio, camera, and internet connection before the day
  • Making sure you have the relevant links and/or passwords to access the interview, and familiarise yourself with the platform
  • Find an appropriate space to do the interview or make one if necessary

For more advice on preparing for virtual interviews, read our recent article on how to survive a Zoom job interview.

Prepare for Things Going Wrong

You should also prepare for things going wrong on the day of your job interview. For face-to-face interviews, this could include giving yourself extra time to get there to account for traffic or public transport delays and planning out at least one alternative route. For virtual interviews, this could include making sure both your phone and laptop are ready to join the call in case one disconnects.

Planning for these will give you less to worry about on the day as you know you’re covered if something doesn’t go to plan. 

Eat Beforehand

Make sure to eat something beforehand, as being nervous on an empty stomach will only make you feel worse. You also don’t want any rumbling sounds distracting your interviewer!

Research Questions and Rehearse

Research the most commonly asked interview questions for your job role and practice answering them either by yourself or with a friend. Don’t be tempted to try and memorise scripted answers – this will only add more pressure to the situation, and will be very obvious to interviewers. You also can’t be 100% sure on what questions they will ask or how they will ask them, so memorising lots of answers will only confuse you.

Instead, make a list of the key requirements of the role and write down the most relevant and impressive parts of your CV that you think will help you to stand out in these areas. You can then look at these before your interview just to make sure you’ve got them fresh in your mind.

For example, if you’re applying for a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) job, search for open CRA vacancies on PharmiWeb.Jobs and make a list of the most common requirements. This could include things such as attention to detail, flexibility, and understanding of Good Clinical Practice (GCP). You can then match these up with the parts of your CV that show these.

Think Positively

Instead of worrying about interviewers asking you questions in areas you might be lacking in, remind yourself of your biggest achievements and the things that set you apart from your peers, and be ready to sell these in your interview. Thinking about what you can do instead of what you can’t will give you more confidence on the day.

Keep the Interview to Yourself

Especially if you’re applying for multiple roles, it’s a good idea to keep the interview to yourself and to tell as few people about it as possible. This will take the pressure off and help you to move on from the experience if things don’t go to plan.

Remember That Interviewers are People Too

Ultimately, interviewers are human too and will probably be nervous about conducting the interview and making a good impression themselves, especially if they’re new to the process.

If you can, find out more about your interviewer beforehand to help you humanise them and make sure they’re not just a scary name in an email!

Wear Something Comfortable

Whilst you should choose something professional to wear to your interview, you should also pick something comfortable. For example, If you buy new smart shoes, make sure you try them out beforehand and don’t wear them for the first time to your interview. Being comfortable will help you to appear more relaxed and confident.

Pause Before Speaking

Don’t jump straight into answering a question as soon as the interviewer has finished talking, and instead take a moment to collect your thoughts. A good tip is to always accept a glass of water if it’s offered to you – that way, you can break up the silence by taking a sip of your drink whilst you think.

Take It One Question at a Time

Once you’ve answered a question, try not to overthink how well you answered and instead make sure you’re fully focused on the next one. You need to show you’re engaged in what the interviewer is saying, and you can always go back to questions at the end to add on to answers you didn’t present so well.

Sit Up Straight and Smile

Another good way to overcome nerves is to fake confidence. Sitting up straight and maintaining a good posture will help you to appear – and hopefully feel – more confident in front of your interviewers, and therefore in control of your nerves.

Good Luck...

Following the above advice should help you to stay in control of your nerves and relax during your job interview, allowing you to sell yourself as a candidate confidently to your interviewer. 

Visit PharmiWeb.Jobs for more advice on surviving job interviews, and finally – good luck!