Beat those Interview Nerves

You know it’s not you but just before an upcoming interview, you start experiencing weird emotions/ sensations or butterflies in your stomach. Worse still, when you get to an interview what you say or the way you behave wouldn’t really be considered your normal behaviour. You are not alone. Nerves can make us behave in ways which are different to how we behave normally. Interviews can be nerve racking at the best of times, but fear not, use the tips below to help you:

Before the interview

Make sure you’ve done your research, but don’t overdo it. You are not expected to remember every fact and figure about the company. However, not being prepared can also be a source for stress. Get the balance right in what you need to know and the ideas you might like to develop in the interview.

In the interview

Don’t speak fast. When we are nervous, we are in flight or fight mode and everything wants to speed up including our speech. Slow it down. How? Do breathing exercises before the interview and when you get to the interview, slow your speech down if you find you are talking too fast. Just by taking slow deep breaths even in the interview, you’ll be able to slow your speech down considerably. Don’t pant though as this is very off putting.

Hands issues

Place your hands in front of you and never underneath a table. This helps to stop yourself from fidgeting, but also having your hands in front of you means you are demonstrating trust. Wear minimal jewellery because it’s very easy to fidget with jewellery, which can be very distracting.

If you find your hands are shaking as a result of nerves or you are finding the whole experience a bit too overwhelming then try clenching your thigh muscles. What this does is to distract your mind in thinking about something else. You’ll be able to disguise what you are doing as most business clothes will hide this behaviour.

Stand tall

Stand up before the interview as this will help you to ground yourself before you meet the interviewer. When you get seated, select a comfortable position to sit in as you will be sitting in the seat for at least an hour if not more.

Listen, listen and listen some more

When you are nervous, it’s really easy to miss what the interview is saying and then run the risk of giving the wrong answer or worse still, interrupt the interviewer before s/he has even finished speaking. Instead, take a deep breath and listen to what s/he is saying, you’ll be able to provide the best answer.

If you haven’t heard the question correctly or would like it repeated, say so. Better to speak up sooner rather than trying to muddle along and get all confused.

Be yourself

It’s about being authentic. When you are yourself, you come across more relaxed. When you are relaxed, you communicate clearly. Being yourself also means that you won’t “big” yourself up, but to answer the questions in the best way you can authentically.

Being yourself will also mean that you will get your message across as to why you want to the job and why you should be the one who gets selected. This way, you’ll be able to find the best examples to highlight with confidence. Above all, remember, the interview is an opportunity for you to let the interviewer know who you are. Therefore, be YOU. Job done!

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Whose dream are you living? Living your dream or someone else’s?

Whose dream are you living? Living your dream or someone else’s?

Doing something you enjoy, or doing something someone else suggested would be “good” for your career? Sometimes it can be confusing to think whose dream you are living, especially when you don’t really know what we want or where your career is going. Guess what? You are not alone! You’ll also know you’re living someone else’s dream if your current situation doesn’t inspire you or make you feel great.

Many people get trapped into following what other people want because it’s a path and they may be “right” and we end up following blindly, without really questioning the outcome! From an early age or peer through peer pressure, we may have been “encouraged” to follow one path or another and somehow, we end up blindly following it.

We follow because the people who want us to go down that path are usually very close and dear to us, so therefore we don’t want to disappoint them. However, this “charade” can’t be kept up for too long. Why? We get to a point, be thought trial and error or through a challenging circumstance, we realise, we’ve been living someone else’s dream and we’ve bought into their values and beliefs lock stock and barrel, without even realise it!

Time to Live YOUR own dreams

Others around you may also think they know what’s “best for you! Sometimes not “rocking” the boat is a lot easy than trying to convince others of what you really want, because it seems like a real uphill challenge. Going with the “flow” seems to be a lot easier than trying to “swim upstream”. However, only YOU know what’s good for you!

If you are fed up of being told how to manage your career goals, aspirations, time to take control of the YOUR career reins. Ask yourself the following:

  • What do YOU want?
  • What does YOUR dream look like?
  • Where are YOU going?
  • Who can help YOU?
  • What do YOU need to do to make your dream come alive?

Take One Step Forward

Be warned, figuring out what you want may take you some time, so STICK with it! Once you have an idea, you might not know how to get to where you want to, but that’s ok because your dreams will energise you into action. Try avoiding making everything perfect, just start! Nothing needs to be perfect at any stage, remember, Rome wasn’t built in one day! It takes time and taking the first step is the most important step you will take.

Some tips to help you take the first most important step:

  • What research do you need to do?
  • Where do you look for information?
  • Whose doing what you enjoy? Can you speak with them to see what it is like?
  • What next? Trust your judgement and you’ll know which steps to take thereafter!

Time to stop pleasing others and start pleasing YOU, by living your OWN dream!

Stand Out From the Crowd

More than just Grades
It’s no longer just ok to have great grades and a great cover letter. The old formula of getting great grades no longer guarantees being invited to interview. In many cases, it is a little outdated and not the only factor employers take into consideration when deciding who to hire. The working world has changed so quickly. You are not expected to have all the answers, but what you are expected to have is basic skills, business understanding and the willingness to make a difference.

If you want to make a great impression, match the grades with additional skills and great practical experience. Grades might help to attract attention, but it’s the practical experience and “can do” attitude which will HOLD a potential employer’s attention when reviewing your application. Practical experience is priceless because it means you have an understanding of how a business works.

Laying the Foundation

It’s not just what you know, but who you know which is now more important than just good grades and a brilliant cover letter. If you already know people in industry then great, but if you don’t get busy in networking to build your contacts. Nothing beats real professional relationship building and building a community of online relationships is also very important. Remember “people buy people” which is usually built on trusting professional relationships. A recent survey by Jobvine found that 34% of employers recruit based on shared common connections.

Use the following checklist to ensure you profiles are up to date and professional.

  • Good professional headshot photograph on LinkedIn
  • No incriminating photos on any social media platforms. It’s a given fact that employers go through social media profiles to mine information on potential candidates.
  • Ensure all your skills and experiences are up to date.
  • Avoid using generic words like analytical and ambitious. Instead match the skills by showcasing the experience.
  • Keep the profiles updated regularly, especially LinkedIn

How to raise your profile during the selection process?

Here are a few tips to help you raise your profile

  • Utilise your contacts who may be able to recommend you
  • Match the packaging with the product. Take a look at the core skills and experience you need for your chosen industry. How many of those skills can you already demonstrate?
  • If you don’t have the required skills, how will you acquire them? If unsure, ask for advice through friends, family or even people in industry and ask for their advice on how to get the necessary skills and experience needed.
  • If core skills are missing then, carefully select companies for internships or off cycle work experiences.
  • If you approach the big popular companies, then be prepared for a competitive selection process. To increase your chances, try smaller companies and build your internship portfolio that way.

Putting it all together

When your application/CV/resume lands on the desk, you potentially have less than 10 seconds to capture attention. Otherwise you run the risk of being passed over during the recruitment process.

If you require additional information, check out our website for further practical blog posts.

“I’m Never Going to Put Boundaries On Myself”

“I’m Never Going to Put Boundaries On Myself” said Nadiya Hussain the winner of #GBBO British Bake Off. If you followed GBBO from the first episode, you would have seen her going from having a lack of confidence in the earlier rounds, to defying her own limiting beliefs and then going on to win the finals of 2015.

What are limiting beliefs?

Have you ever caught yourself saying “I can’t…” or “that’s not something I can do because it’s not me” or “I’m scared”. These are examples of limiting beliefs which act like brakes and stop you dead in your tracks no matter how hard you want to move forward.

What happens when we have limiting beliefs?

There are a number of downsides of limiting beliefs.

  • Your comfort zones expands
  • You stop growing and developing to your full potential
  • You fuel fear by adding more to the “fire” so it becomes a catch 22 situation.
  • You play small
  • You use your comfort zone as a false sense of security
  • You shy away from reaching out for challenging goals and project
  • You end up chasing mediocrity instead of WOW greatness.

Fear not, you can overcome limiting beliefs.

How can you overcome limiting beliefs?

“I know I can do it” As the competition progressed, we saw Nadiya becoming more confident and won she starting coming first in technical challenges and generally started believing in herself more. She started being more creative and ambitious with her designs and experimented with different ingredients.

When you believe in yourself, you can achieve so much. Nadiya went from potentially playing “safe” and a bit of a wallflower blending in the background to being more visible in the way she spoke to the judges. She was beginning to be taken as a serious contender by her fellow participants as the competition progressed.

To overcome limiting beliefs, firstly you need to identify them. Once you identify them, have a think of the way they impact your life. The behaviours and outcomes can be subtle or be very noticeable. Each one of us reacts very different, but awareness is very important. The more aware you are, the greater the ability to change your behaviour.

Once you’ve figured out how these behaviours impacts you, you will look out for them in the future and you can start replacing them with empowering words or behaviours. Going from “I can’t… to I can…” is a great starting point. You will notice you can sometimes slip back into old behaviours really quickly. Why? This is because of conditioning, which has been repeated so many times, that it more or less feels automatic or on autopilot.

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What’s your Story?

What’s so important about your story? When you go to an interview you may recognise the question when the interviewer asks you “Tell me about yourself”. Some people fail to answer this question well because they haven’t thought the answer through or they spend too much time talking about their past in too much or too little detail. How to create a great story?

Think of your story as having three main key parts. The beginning, middle and end. Each one can be broken down further with more detail. Some questions to help you create your own “What’s your Story” are highlighted below:


Who are you? Where does your story start?

  • If you have just finished college/University/job, you may choose to talk about your choice of subjects or choice of college/university
  • Why did you choose the subjects/school/university?
  • What’s been your favourite topic?
  • What have you learnt?


Time to Expand

  • Elaborate on what have you done up until now?
  • What have you been good at?
  • Highlight any successes you may have achieved? You might choose to highlight awards, roles of responsibilities
  • Talk through any changes you might have made to your courses/role/work
  • Did you experience any setbacks and if yes, briefly state what you learnt from it.
  • How did you use the learning lessons to make further changes to your goal/strategy?
  • Where has this got you?


  • Where are you going?
  • What are your hopes, ambitions and goals?
  • What would you like to achieve moving forward? This can be broken down into time points (6 months, 1 or 2 years)
  • How have you tried to make it happen?

To make the story more interesting, you might want to add some humour to it to make you story come alive.

Once you know how to answer “What’ your Story”, you’ll start focusing on the important areas you want to get across.

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