What to say to help a friend who is nervous about interview
Want to support your friend before their big interview? Here's how to help them reduce nervousness and give them the encouragement they need.
If you have a friend who is feeling nervous about an upcoming job interview, you might be wondering how you can help them calm their nerves and feel more confident. While ultimately the success of the interview depends on the individual's own preparation and performance, there are certain things you can do as a friend to support them and boost their confidence.
Here are a few general tips:
- Offer encouragement and positive reinforcement. Remind your friend of their skills and experience, and let them know that you believe in their ability to succeed. But, limit your input and encouragement when you observe that your friend is saturated and needs breathing space.
- Help them practice their interview skills by going through mock interview runs. Role-playing and going over common interview questions can help your friend feel more prepared and confident.
- Encourage them to take care of themselves leading up to the interview, especially if they are still working in the daytime. Suggest that they get a good night's sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and arrive at the interview location early to give themselves plenty of time to relax and get settled.
- Remind your friend that it's normal to feel nervous before an interview. Everyone gets nervous, and it's okay to acknowledge those pre interview feelings of fear and anxiety. Encourage your friend to focus on the present moment and to take a few deep breaths to help calm their nerves.
- Help your friend visualize job application and interview success. Encourage them to think about the aspects of the job they are most excited about, and to focus on those positive thoughts leading up to the interview.
What to say: Some basic sentences
When it comes to interviews, preparation and confidence are key. It's important to remind your friend of their strengths and accomplishments, and let them know that you believe in their ability to succeed. Dissuade them from being nervous and draw their attention to the things they are good at. Here are a few phrases and words of encouragement (which we go into a bit more detail) you can use to help your friend feel more prepared and confident for their big day:
- "You've got this! You're well-prepared and you know your stuff. Just relax and be yourself - the interviewers will love you for it."
- "I know you're nervous, but just remember that the interviewer is just another person. They're not out to get you, so try to relax and enjoy the conversation."
- "This is an amazing opportunity for you, so make sure that you really sell yourself. Be enthusiastic about your skills and past work experience, and don't be afraid to show off a little bit."
- "Remember that the interview is a two-way street - they want to see if you're a good fit for the company as much as you want to see if the company is a good fit for you. So ask questions too!"
Sending a message of encouragement before the interview can help boost your friend's confidence and remind them of their own abilities. It's important to be sincere and specific in your praise, and to focus on their strengths and accomplishments rather than dwelling on their weaknesses or fears.
It can also be helpful to offer specific examples of times when your friend has excelled in the past. For example, you might say, "Remember when you gave that presentation at work and everyone was impressed with your knowledge and poise? You have those same skills and qualities that will help you succeed in this interview." By recalling specific instances of their past successes, you can help your friend tap into their own inner confidence and feel more prepared for the interview.
A List of Situational Phrases to Boost your Friend's Confidence
Your friend is next in line to enter the interview room and you get a WhatsApp message saying that they're feeling nervous. You want to say something to boost their confidence.
Here are some situational phrases that increases in specificity you can send them that will help your friend feel prepared and confident going into their interview:
- You've got this. You're smart, talented, capable and you've got a bunch of accomplishments to showcase. Plus, you're well-prepared for this interview and you're going to do great.
- I know you're switching industries; it isn't easy, but you shouldn't be worried about a paycut now and you have to focus on actually getting the job first!
- It's not easy for me to get you referred for this interview, and this role isn't even publicly available. I know you and I know you know your stuff. You can do the job and all you need is to just be yourself, relax.
- We've already practised day and night. There's no need to joke around in the interview. You are already super prepared, don't worry! Act your age, be mature and the interviewer is going to be genuinely impressed by you. There is no need to pretend!
- You've been waiting for a chance to get out of your job which you've been hating for the past year, and here's the opportunity to get out. You can do it!
- Just stay calm and focused, and let your knowledge shine through. This is just a conversation. It's not a test or a competition. Just relax and be yourself, and the rest will fall into place.
- As your friend, I've spent hours with you in so many mock interviews and we've run through all the feedback. There's the bad things and also some constructive comments. You are aware of your nervous habits as well. Be conscious and aware during the meeting so you'll catch yourself and cut those actions. You will do well. Don't worry.
- This job has what you want: a great work-life balance in an environment you are used to. I know you can do well in the interview and I know you can do clinch the job! I can't wait to see you work there happy and in better health!
- You've already submitted your resignation and given notice. You know that I know this is your best job listing that's cut out for you and this company is even allowing you to start quickly. So I believe you can get this job, get paid better and get yourself out of that terrible place you call work!
Going beyond just good: Being an excellent support
When a friend is going through the interview process, it can be difficult to know how to best support them.
Here are a few tips on how to be an excellent supportive friend during this time.
- First, it’s important to make time and making yourself available for your friend emotionally. This means being available to listen and offer advice when needed, but also knowing when to give space. It can be tough watching someone you care about go through the stress of interviews, so make sure you check in regularly and let them know you’re there for them.
- Second, you can help by being a sounding board for practice questions. Ask your friend if they want to do a mock interview - run through some questions together, prepare for the Question-And-Answer (Q&A), etc before their big day. This will not only help them feel more prepared, but will also give you an idea of what they’re likely to be asked so that you can better support them on the day of their interview.
- Third, remind your friend not to apologise to the interviewer if he or she is visibly nervous. It is okay to feel nervous, "sorrys" are not required. Some stuttering or fidgeting is normal and natural during an interview. Draw focus away from the feelings of anxiety.
- Finally, don’t forget the power of being "un-annoying" in your positive reinforcement! A little encouragement goes a long way, especially during times like these. But don't go overboard and keep haunting them. Limit your encouragement and interview support. Regulate. Moderate. Send your friend good luck messages before their interviews and celebrate with them after each one—regardless of whether or not they get the job in question. Go with them. Play along. The journey is just as important as the destination!
Help Them in their Practice: Be There for Them
Role-playing and going over common interview questions can help your friend feel more prepared and confident. You can ask them about their past experiences and accomplishments, and have them practice answering questions about their goals and why they are interested in the job. Here are a few examples of common interview questions to practice:
- "Tell me about yourself. What is your personal brand?"
- "Why do you want to work for this company?"
- "What are your strengths and weaknesses, and don't list those common ones!"
- "How do you handle conflict or difficult situations?"
It can be helpful to write out a list of potential questions and have your friend practice answering them out loud. This will not only help them feel more prepared, but it will also give you an opportunity to give them feedback and suggest ways to improve their responses.
In addition to practicing answering questions, it's also helpful to have your friend practice their body language, eye contact and nonverbal communication. Encourage them to make eye contact, sit up straight, and use confident hand gestures. These nonverbal cues can make a big difference in how confident and poised your friend appears during the interview.
To further simulate the interview experience, you can also do a complete and comprehensive mock interview, with you playing the role of the interviewer. This can help your friend get used to answering questions under pressure and give them a sense of what the actual interview will be like. Mock interviews can be made to be tough so he or she comes prepared. Be sure to give them constructive feedback after the mock interview, set attainable goals during these interview practice sessions and encourage them to keep practicing and improving.
By practicing their interview skills, your friend will feel more prepared and confident on the day of the interview. Encourage them to continue practicing and seeking out opportunities to improve, and be a supportive presence throughout the process.
Encourage Them to Take Care of Themselves
It's important for your friend to be well-rested and relaxed leading up to the interview. Suggest that they get a good night's sleep, eat a healthy breakfast on interview day, and arrive at the interview location early to give themselves plenty of time to get settled. You can also encourage them to engage in activities that help them relax, such as going for a walk, listening to music, or practicing deep breathing.
Taking care of oneself before an interview can make a big difference in terms of confidence and performance. A good night's sleep can help your friend feel more alert and focused, while a healthy breakfast can provide the energy they need to perform at their best. Arriving at the interview location early can also help reduce stress and give your friend time to mentally prepare.
In addition to getting rest and nourishment, it's also important for your friend to engage in activities that help them relax and de-stress. Encourage them to take breaks and do things they enjoy, whether that's going for a walk, listening to music, or practicing deep breathing. These activities can help calm their nerves and put them in a positive, relaxed mindset leading up to the interview.