The pre-interview ritual you never knew you needed: 5 steps to confidence

A quick introduction!

“I’m so nervous!” The most overused line you say when you have an interview coming up. Your stomach hurts, you can’t think straight, you start having second thoughts, and ultimately just overwhelm yourself. But just like with most things in life, it's important that you mentally prepare yourself. You’re now probably asking, “Well how do I do that?” Don’t worry, I got you covered! Check out this pre-interview ritual I have created to help you get rid of those interview jitters.

Step 1: Wake up and have a healthy breakfast  

Of course, the start of your day begins with you getting out of bed, washing up, and turning to the mirror to give yourself that two-minute motivational speech. Alongside this pep talk, it is important to eat a healthy breakfast. Just like what famous inventors James Caleb Jackson and John Harvey Kellogg said, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”    

A good food to have, that will help calm those pre-interview nerves, is simply a banana! That’s right, a banana! This well-known fruit provides more benefits than you think, from increasing your potassium levels to balancing your blood sugar levels, and not to mention, it’s something light and natural! It is recommended that you try eating a banana 30 minutes before your interview. A little tip, try to lay off on your cup of coffee for that day. Trust me, it won’t help.                                                                                                                                                                                      GIF of a banana shaking, with the caption "potassium intensifies", with the credit tag "Reddit" located on the top right.                                                                                         

Step 2: Move those legs!                                        

Sometimes we become so anxious and overwhelmed that we just end up staring blankly at a wall for too long. Move around and go for a walk or a jog outside, this will help you stay calmer and relieve any of that stress you’re feeling before the interview. Taking a stroll around the neighbourhood, meditating or even doing a short exercise is enough to distract your mind from the interview and clear out those butterflies in your stomach. I find that the less I think about my interview, the more confidence I gain in myself! 

GIF of a woman (Phoebe) running in season 6 of the TV show, "Friends", with the credit tag "NBC" located on the top right.                                                                             

Step 3: Talk to yourself, it’s not weird!  

Most of the time when we feel nervous or anxious, we tend to stay quiet and disengage ourselves from others. Let’s say you're trying to solve a problem, most of the time you speak out loud to yourself to get your brain moving and working through it. Talking out loud to yourself, a friend or a family member before your interview will help you build momentum to speak more fluently in your interview. Alternatively, you can simply search up “interview practice questions” on YouTube and practice answering them!

 GIF of man talking to himself in the mirror, with the caption "I feel like I'm talking to myself sometimes." A clip from the reality show called "The Challenge", with the credit tag "MTV" located on the top right.                                                                  

Step 4: Dress to impress!   

So, you’ve had a nice, healthy breakfast, you’ve moved your body around a little, and you have gotten yourself into a talkative mood. Now it’s time to clean yourself up and put on that great outfit you have been saving just for this moment!

Now, you are presenting yourself with the clothes you wear for the interview, so make sure that you put on something clean, ironed and professional. Depending on the type of interview you have coming up and the company’s culture, it would sometimes be okay to dress a little more casually. For example, if you are interviewing for a job that is not that formal, it would be appropriate to dress more casually, whereas if you are interviewing for a more professional position, it is best to go with a nice suit, blazer or dress. Keep your head held high, show that beautiful smile of yours, and make that great first impression!  

GIF of a girl dressed fancy, walking down a school hallway. A clip from the movie "Little" by Universal Pictures, with the credit tag "Universal" located on the top right.

Step 5: Keep calm and relax 

Just breathe! There is no point in stressing yourself out if you don’t have to. You’re probably someone who always feels the need to do a last-minute review of all your interview notes just to make sure that you haven’t missed any information. But as you are racing through those last few minutes to get “prepared”, your anxiety levels are at an all-time high and you can’t think straight anymore. Taking those last few moments to breathe can do a whole lot for you. 

A good breathing exercise to follow while waiting for your interview is one called the “4-7-8” breathing exercise by Dr. Andrew Weil. The following is a video of Dr. Weil demonstrating his breathing technique:

 A visual guide for the "4-7-8" breathing technique:

 exhale for 8 seconds).

Not only can you apply this technique before your interview, but anytime you find yourself in a stressful situation, this can help!

GIF of a man (Oscar) placing his hand over his mouth in shock. A clip from season 5 of the TV show, "The Office" (United States), on the networks NBC and Global TV, with the credit tag "NBC" (original network) located on the top right.

A quick rundown

This is it! The ritual that’s going to change your life! Well…I may be exaggerating just a “little” bit, but it’s definitely one that will change your pre-interview approach and help improve that confidence already inside you. Now, let me sum this all up for you:  

  • Have a banana for breakfast. It’s easy, quick and healthy! 

  • Get a little exercise or meditation in. It will help relieve some of that pressure you feel.  

  • Get yourself into a chatty mood. The more you talk, the less hesitation you will have in your voice during your interview.

  • Make sure to come into your interview looking sharp. Dress appropriately and present yourself in the best way you can!

  • Have a go at Dr. Weil’s “4-7-8” breathing technique. It will help keep you calm and relax those uneasy feelings you are experiencing.

Don’t get me wrong, interviews can be scary, but they are something we can beat. Believe in yourself, you made it this far already, and don’t give up! 

About the author

Fatima Muni 

Social Media Campaign CoordinatorA photo of Fatima smiling 

Fatima Muni is an Arts and Business co-op student at Waterloo, and is currently completing her second co-op this term at the University of Waterloo, as a Social Media Campaign Coordinator for Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE). One of the main projects she is working on this term is writing blogs for the Co-operative Education blog page. To date, she has written about helpful co-op tips and student co-op experiences, and continues to write more blogs with the purpose of sharing information that can benefit other co-op students! Feel free to check out Fatima's LinkedIn.

References and further resources

5 pre-interview rituals you can do 'the day of' ( 

Banana Natural Beta Blocker for Anxiety - Health Extremist ( 

What to Wear: How to Dress for a Job Interview ( 

10 Ways to Calm Your Interview Anxiety | Psychology Today 

Breathing Exercises: Three To Try | 4-7-8 Breath | Andrew Weil, M.D. ( 

Should you drink coffee before an interview? – AppleOne Blog 

7 Tips for the Morning of Your Interview | TopResume

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