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Reduce Interview Nerves By Preparing Ahead of Time

Woman in interview confident Reduce interview nerves by preparing ahead of time

Reduce Interview Nerves By Preparing Ahead of Time


You will get nervous in an interview. The panel are expecting it. They understand. You can however, help yourself reduce the nerves.


To reduce your nerves, practice interview responses before hand. This will allow your body and brain to become accustom to the words you're going to need to say.


I acknowledge, that you will not know the questions ahead of time. For school leadership roles, some panels give candidates a question early to prepare a response, but most interviews are 15 minutes of preparation and then a 25 minute interview. With questions being sight unseen, you will not know what they are but you do know, you'll be using your leadership experience to be the examples. That is what you can practice.



Reduce interview nerves by preparing on paper first


You can take paper resources into your interview, which means you can easily prepare the leadership stories you have, that will be the backbone of your responses. I have a whole blog about this here.


The idea is to prepare answers, in a structured way, following a model of change. I recommend printing out the table with your responses  with blank space in the bottom row so you can easily project into the role(more about that here), based on the question you get asked. It allows you to spend time with relevant documents from the school and add in the right jargon.


Preparing examples ahead of time will also me you won't need to be remembering them in a time of high stress. All you need to do, in the 15 minutes prep, is to choose the story that best matches the question and spend your time planning how you will project into the role.



Reduce interview nerves by listening to yourself.

Say your leadership stories out loud. Here your own voice say them. Wrap your mouth around the words. Help your brain organise the sequence of events correctly.


The whole idea of this is to practice not rambling. When the nerves kick in, it is easy for you to start trying to include more than is needed. You're trying to scrambling for any thing to say, so you say the first thing that comes to mind.


This will also help when your inner critic starts talking to you when you're in the interview, or when you start having an out of body experience. When you can hear the words you're saying and the voice in your head says, "You sound weird" or "Do you really know what you're talking about?" and so many more possibilities.


To add another layer of self feedback, record yourself. I use an app, Otter.ai (not affiliated) as it records and transcribes what I am saying so I can go back through and pick out the best parts. I then practice again until the leadership story becomes natural to say.


Practicing saying your leadership stories out loud will help reduce the thoughts and feelings during an interview.


Reduce your interview nerves by doing a mock interview.

Doing a mock interview will be about 80% of how you'll show up in the actual interview. There is part of you that knows the stakes are lower, but there is a big part of you that will still turn up as you would on the day of your interview. So this is a great way to see how you'll go.


Set it up with a member of the executive team. Agree on a time, put it in your calendars, and don't forget to allow for the 15 minutes prep time. Have your folder of prepared leadership stories so you can practice matching the stories to the questions.


Do the mock interview and get feedback! Feedback is a gift that will allow you to grow. From that feedback, you can make any adjustments and know you're prepared for the interview.



You can reduce interview nerves by:

  1. Preparing your leadership examples ahead of time
  2. Practicing saying your stories out loud.
  3. Doing a mock interview.


I help educators prepare for interviews with clear strategies and mindset support. If you'd like to connect, book a free call here.