Job interviews can be stressful situations. At times, this stress and fear manifests itself in the form of visible nervous twitches known as “tics”. Before you know it, the job interview question you were nervous about answering has now led to facial muscles visibly twitching, teeth grinding, hands shaking, or you start a nervous habit of playing with your hair. The interview becomes too much to handle.
You know they can see it. But this has nothing to do with your ability to perform the job at hand. And you see or feel it happening, so what is the best way to address it?
We offer some ways to deal with nervous tics in job interviews.
Preparation is key
The most powerful way to liberate yourself from fear and anxiety is with preparation. By nature, humans are most nervous when they do not know something. People fear the dark, change, feeling embarrassed and in this case...losing out on a job opportunity.
The best ways to reduce or eliminate fear and nervous tics is with preparation for answering interview questions, explaining your experience, choosing the right clothes and properly researching the company. Very few people in this world can “wing it” and do a great job.
The more you are prepared, the more confident you will be. And that will reduce or eliminate nervous tics.
Arrive early and relax
If you fear things like “being late” or unfamiliar surroundings, a great way to avoid the nervous tics involved is by arriving early to get comfortable with the surroundings. You do not want to arrive too early and become an inconvenience.
But getting to an interview early enough will give you time for your nerves to settle down. By the time you get into the interview, your nerves will no longer be a factor.
Treat the interview like a friendly conversation
Typically, two friends having a conversation about hobbies, sports, or activities will not cause nervous tics. Essentially, you are “talking shop” ie. talking about what you love and know best. You are not nervous because you feel comfortable just having a conversation. There are no perceived consequences as a result of your conversation.
So, treat your job interview the same way. “Talk shop” with the hiring managers about what you know, why you are right for the job and answer their questions like a person who belongs on the team.
This may require you almost tricking your mind into thinking about the “conversation” and not “the consequences of messing up interview questions”.
Breathe and take your time
Anxiety, stress or fear usually accompanies shallow breathing. Breathing normally and taking your time allows the mind to slow down and regain perspective that ‘every little thing's gonna be alright’. Breathing properly, as a person who is not nervous, offers the following benefits for job interviews:
- Lowers blood pressure, which helps you stay more relaxed.
- Brings your nervous system to a state of equilibrium, lowering stress levels.
- The oxygen flows more easily to the brain, helping you think clearly.
It sounds like such a small thing but if you ever find yourself getting nervous, just stop for a moment and take a deep breath. It will do wonders for your job interview. You can even try this the night before an interview to practice.
If you know it is really bad...be honest about it
Sadly, there are times when the nervous tics become so obvious that it begins to make the interview awkward, or in some cases, the people interviewing you become concerned.
If you have nervous tics that can be quite obvious and you are aware it makes others feel awkward, the best thing to do is be honest with others about it. Let them know what is happening and many times it will be an icebreaker that helps stop the nervous tics. You can then turn the interview around in your favor.
The hiring manager will do one of the following:
- See your honesty and confidence as a sign of strength.
- Assume this interview and the nervous tics are a warning of things to come.
Be honest with yourself. Some nervous tics are actually the result of diagnosed chronic conditions. And some are the result of poor preparation for job interviews and personal issues.
The more honest you are with yourself about the reason for nervous tic, the faster you will gain control over them and not allow them to dictate your success in job interviews. You may even find it is simply time to find a new, low-stress job or career.