How Your Nerves Could Help Land Your Next Job

You’re called into the office to meet with the hiring manager.

This is it.

Your hands are sweaty, your heart is racing, your toes fidget in your shoes until you stand up and start walking in the suddenly very small office. Adrenaline. Fears of unlikely scenarios flash through your head: tripping over your own feet, vomiting in a plant, passing out, clumsily breaking a beautiful glass award.

Stop. Breathe. Relax. You’re only reading this article, remember?

Being a little nervous can be an advantage. Take it from me. I’ve been on both sides of the interview table. I have been a tense applicant and I have interviewed over 1,000 students and graduates. While I don’t recommend standing up and shouting, “I’m nervous! Hire me!” here are a couple ways you can take interview anxiety and turn it into job offers.

Nerves Help Show the Genuine You

Being anxious or a little worried shows that you want do well. Since this is so common, interviewers are used to seeing it. They know the difference between nerves and arrogance.

As an interviewer, when I saw a little nervousness, it made the person seem real and authentic when they said, “I really want this position.”

Your anxiety may make the things you say feel a little awkward as you say them, but as long as you are genuine you’ll do well.

Being Nervous Forces Winners to Prepare

I remember how nervous I was to interview with a multi-million dollar company in Reston, Va., during my senior year of college. This was my first career interview and I didn’t want to mess it up.

I researched the company, their website, the person I would be meeting with, his boss, the industry. My confidence grew. I put together three “go-to” stories that demonstrated success as an individual, success as a team member, and how I had learned from failure.  I practiced questions. I sharpened up my resume. All because I was nervous!

At the end of the interview the recruiter said, “You really did your research, I’m impressed. We would love to work with you. Let me introduce you to the VP of contracts.” And because of all my preparation, I said, “Oh, is that Chris?” They smiled as they nodded. I could tell being nervous had helped me nail this interview.


If you’re 100% confident and 0% nervous, you might be interviewing for the wrong position. Life is about growing and moving forward, beyond your comfort zone. A mix of excitement and a little bit of “eek” is just the right place to be. You’ve got this.

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Categories: Business, Career Advice, College & Career Advice, Job Advice, Tips For Finding A Job