By Wendy Gelberg

It’s natural to be nervous before a job interview. But it’s possible to tame the nerves so that they don’t get in the way. Here are three tips that can help.

1. Wear Your “Investigative Reporter” Hat – Replace the “I really want this job” mindset with an “I need to know more about this job” mindset. It’s easy to put unnecessary pressure on yourself if you go into the interview thinking this is your dream job when, in reality, all you really know about it is what you read in the job posting. And many times the job posting doesn’t match the reality. So approach the interview as an opportunity to find out just exactly what this job will entail. Think of yourself as an investigative reporter, scoping out everything you can about this position so that, later on, you can make a decision about whether you really want it or not. Meanwhile, you come across in the interview as curious and interested, which are qualities that make a good impression.

2. Focus on What You Can Control – Define Your Message – Most people take a somewhat passive approach to the interview and focus on anticipating questions they might be asked and developing answers for those questions. That puts you in a frame of mind that suggests you’re going to be interrogated, which tends to heighten your anxiety. You worry, “What if I didn’t anticipate the right questions and didn’t prepare an answer?” The only thing you can control in this process is the information you give – so while it helps to prepare for some of the most common questions, it’s also valuable to spend time defining what the employer needs to know about you, when all is said and done. And then, during the interview, you can focus on opportunities to communicate that key message. There are several prime moments to deliver your message: (1) In your response to the “Tell me about yourself” question; (2) When asked about your strengths; (3) In your wrap-up (e.g., “It was great talking with you. Based on your description of the position, I’m confident that [MESSAGE GOES HERE] can be an asset for your organization.” Then, whatever happens, you’ll know that you gave the employer the information you needed them to know, even if they didn’t ask the right questions or you messed up an answer.

3. Concentrate on Having a Conversation – Again, reframe the process and turn it from an interrogation into a conversation. When you do that, you’re less apt to worry about a “wrong answer” and more apt to develop rapport with the interviewer, which is a key element in a successful interview. In addition, when you’re engaging in a conversation, you’re asking the clarifying and follow-up questions that help you in your “Investigative Reporter” role.

Bottom Line: By changing the way you think about and prepare for an interview, you can reduce the anxiety and increase your effectiveness.

We are excited to welcome Wendy Gelberg to the JVS CareerSolution team as our newest Career Navigator. Wendy is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, an experienced workshop facilitator, as well as the author of "The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career." Wendy will be offering a variety of workshops at CareerSolution and she will also be available for one-on-one appointments, as part of our Customized Fee-Based Services.


Wendy Gelberg is a Career Navigator who provides one-on-one coaching, writes resumes, and facilitates job search workshops to help job seekers find the shortest distance between now and their next job. She has a particular interest in job search skills for introverts and authored the book, The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career. Wendy earned a Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, a Master’s Degree in Education from Boston University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Rochester. In addition, she is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, MBTI® Certified Facilitator, and Certified International Job and Career Transition Coach.

When not working, Wendy can be found on the tennis court or, in more sedentary moments, doing jigsaw puzzles or – the ultimate puzzle – piecing together her family genealogy.

Are you ready to find your CareerSolution?
Learn more about our services at!
►  Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to stay updated about upcoming events!
Signup for our e-list to have professional development opportunities delivered straight to your inbox.
Looking for something more? Consider our Customized Services.
► Work with a CareerSolution staff member one-one-one to clarify your career goals, create a job search strategy, write a resume, or develop your LinkedIn profile by calling 617-399-3299 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.