How to Manage Your Emotions During a Job Interview, Plus 3 Important Preparations To Make Beforehand

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 21, 2024 at 9:46AM UTC

Interviews are anxiety-provoking experiences, and it’s natural for you to have some heightened emotions when you’re meeting with a recruiter or hiring manager. But sometimes, it can be difficult to control your responses to the feelings you’re having — you may become upset, frustrated, or, on the flip side, overly enthusiastic. This could have negative repercussions.

So, how do you keep your cool during a job interview and manage your emotions successfully?

How to manage your emotions during an interview

1. Notice your own body language.

Nonverbal cues — facial expressions, eye contact, hand gestures, crossing and uncrossing your legs — can all impact others' perceptions of you. Our body language says a lot, even if we're not aware of it. Make an effort to pay attention to what you may be doing and the signals you may be sending subconsciously.

2. Be aware of your interviewer’s nonverbal cues.

At the same time, be cognizant of your interviewer's body language and nonverbal cues, too. This will give you insight into how they are perceiving you, and you can modulate your own body language to match the tone of your interviewer.

3. Pause before responding.

Rather than responding to a question immediately, take a beat. Think about what you want to say before you speak. Not only will this help you manage your heightened emotions, but it will also give you a chance to develop a thoughtful answer. Don't be worried that the interviewer will wonder why you're not speaking — they will appreciate that you're being reflective.

4. Stay in the moment.

Try to avoid thinking 10 steps ahead — what if I just made a career-killing faux pas? What if I don't get this job? — and do your best to stay in the moment, thinking only of the interview you're in right now. If you think too far into the future, you'll only work yourself up, and you won't be able to give your full attention to the meeting or make as positive an impression as you can.

How to prepare

1. Reflect on how you’ve reacted in past job interviews.

Consider your behavior in interviews in the past. Have there been times you wish you'd reacted differently? Make a list of instances when your response wasn't as appropriate as you would have liked. Then, jot down some alternatives for next time, considering how you can keep your emotions in check.

2. Practice.

It's always a good idea to practice with a friend or colleague before a job interview. Ask your practice buddy to throw some tough questions at you — questions you know could put you on edge — so you can rehearse modulating your response and preventing your emotions from escalating.

3. Get a good night’s sleep.

Rest is important for your mental health. It will help you relax and feel refreshed. Do your best to get a solid night's sleep the night before your interview so you'll be alert and recharged.


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at:

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