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Pre-Interview Nerves/Stress Routines!!!!

R203

Valued Member
Dec 14, 2018
104
34
Hi everyone!

Would love to hear what's everyone's pre-AC routine. What do you do the day before, night before and on the actual day itself? Any last minute routine that helped calm your nerves? Any foods that you particularly find would help with stress? Any workouts, music, books, foods, movies suggestion all welcomed!!! :D:D
 

M1999

Legendary Member
Nov 28, 2019
382
844
I normally do a slightly upbeat stretch. It’s between a stretch and a workout. But not enough to get sweaty. I have struggled my whole life with generalised anxiety so I have to calm myself down with natural oils etc that really help. I also tell myself ‘look it’s not that important it’s just a conversation’ downplaying it makes me calm down because otherwise, the feeling of it is so overwhelming I end up crashing. This is quite extreme but it’s just what worked for me haha! My best advice would be to not think about you’re doing it until you are actually doing it.
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
4,265
5,514
When you could travel to interviews, I would get their super early and find somewhere to have a nice breakfast and decent coffee nearby. I would make sure any of my reading/prep was done in advance and just read the Metro while chilled out for a bit. I am guess I am fortunate that in most instances I have been fairly blaze about jobs even when I have wanted them - I think this ultimately helps. I have always thought that my life is not dependent on this job/other opportunities will come along/I have plenty of time - and I think that attitude actually helps me remain calm
 

Haf

Star Member
Future Trainee
Jul 28, 2020
26
43
For my interviews, and any big exam or test really, I never do anything the day before because I’d take that time to give my brain a rest! The night before I’ll iron my clothes and go to bed on time too.
On the day, I don’t really get nervous thinking about the interview itself but I always try to get to the firm earlier (being late is what actually makes me nervous!) and scope out a nearby coffee shop where I’d just read the day’s news.
I’m generally quite a laid back person and take things in my stride but establishing what works for you to calm nerves and best prepare is something I would recommend you explore before interviews!
 

Nicktim

Well-Known Member
Jun 9, 2020
22
23
Some things that help me:
- The gym helps me stay calm, take my mind off things bothering me and makes me feel good so the night before an interview I would go for a workout. (Replace for home exercise with the gyms closed!)
- Don't eat anything heavy the night/morning before the interview. Might sound gross but nerves and a full stomach are a recipe for disaster. Equally, make sure you do eat something before an interview because you need the energy to keep you going. I know people who don't eat when they're nervous and end with rumbly stomachs and a lack of energy.
- Make sure you have double and triple checked your interview location and how you're getting there and expect the worst when it comes to transport! (Less relevant with COVID but at least make sure you know how to access the link and you're practically prepared for a video interview - kick out any roommates and tidy your workspace).
- Assuming you have done your interview prep in advance, avoid last minute cramming which will probably make you even more nervous and actually be counterproductive. Instead spend the night before the interview doing something you enjoy or that you find relaxing (for me that would involve watching football or playing Xbox, but will be different for everybody).

Good luck!
 

bethbristol

Valued Member
Future Trainee
Oct 30, 2019
120
361
Definitely agree with what’s been said above - try and have the evening off prior to try and relax and get an early nights sleep. When we were able to travel into London for an interview I would try and do something the evening before to completely distract me like dinner or a film because I am one of those people who could stay awake all night otherwise - and the time this happened before an interview was HORRENDOUS. On the day of the interview definitely eat something at least small because once the first nerves go in the interview your stomach will start rumbling - I had to ask grad rec at my Hogan Lovells interview for a snack because it was just before lockdown so they had put them all away and I could feel myself swaying - so try not put yourself in that situation. Things like a banana or a smoothie can be good if you’re feeling too anxious to eat.
 

LilLauLLB

Distinguished Member
Mar 21, 2020
56
52
This might sound quite conceited but my way of preparing for competency-based interviews is by listing down of all of my past achievements/awards/positions of responsibility/work experiences etc...and labelling the competencies I've developed through them. Before any interview, I would read that list. Both as a way to ingrain them into my head so I can examples on hand, but also to give myself a little confidence boost as it reminds myself of how far I've come. :D
 

Naomi U

Distinguished Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Dec 8, 2019
71
126
The bulk of my interview experiences were pre-covid. I would always aim to arrive around the area of the firm about an hour earlier just so I could have a look at where I needed to be to avoid getting lost. With the office located, my next hunt would be for a nearby coffee shop ( there are usually so many in the city so this is quite easy). Once inside, my focus here is to just relax and do some light prep by reading over my notes. I personally don't try to learn anything new that morning except a brief look at the news to check that nothing major happened overnight. With about 20 minutes to go, I would usually make my way back to the office, usually getting there about 10-15 minutes early (personally I don't see anything wrong with this, from my experience almost everyone arrives at this time). Also remember to turn off your phone or put it on silent ( my google maps would sometimes be screaming through my bag that I had arrived at my destination lol)

I did have a few virtual interviews and I guess these are slightly easier as you don't actually leave your house :) However I would still aim to get up a few hours before and pretty much proceed how I would in the coffee shops e.g. light prep, brief look at the news. I would recommend things like clearing your background the night before as well as checking your laptop's audio and sound.
Again - check your phone just in case you get an unexpected call!
 
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bethbristol

Valued Member
Future Trainee
Oct 30, 2019
120
361
The bulk of my interview experiences were pre-covid. I would always aim to arrive around the area of the firm about an hour earlier just saw I could have a look at where I needed to be to avoid getting lost. With the office located, my next hunt would be for a nearby coffee shop ( there are usually so many in the city so this is quite easy). Once inside, my focus here is to just relax and do some light prep by reading over my notes. I personally don't try to learn anything new that morning except a brief look at the news to check that nothing major happened overnight. With about 20 minutes to go, I would usually make my way back to the office, usually getting there about 10-15 minutes early ( personally I don't see anything wrong with this, from my experience almost everyone arrives at this time). Also remember to turn off your phone or put it on silent ( my google maps would sometimes be screaming through my bag that I had arrived at my destination lol)

I did have a few virtual interviews and I guess these are slightly easier as you don't actually leave your house :) However I would still aim to get up a few hours before and pretty much proceed how I would in the coffee shops e.g. light prep, brief look at the news. I would recommend things like clearing your background the night before as well as checking your laptop's audio and sound. Again - check your phone just in case you get an unexpected call!

And following on from this make sure that everyone in the household is aware of the interview taking place.. I forgot to tell my brother that I had a presentation during my VS and so he walked into the room (with a coffee for me so I can't be that mad at him) but definitely added stress that wasn't necessary
 

Naomi U

Distinguished Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Dec 8, 2019
71
126
And following on from this make sure that everyone in the household is aware of the interview taking place.. I forgot to tell my brother that I had a presentation during my VS and so he walked into the room (with a coffee for me so I can't be that mad at him) but definitely added stress that wasn't necessary
Yes definitely! I also had a few of these where I would have to give a very shady side eye to my mum peeking her head through the door :rolleyes:
 
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Jacob Miller

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Feb 15, 2020
175
470
Copied and pasted part of this from an answer on another thread recently:

I live in Aberdeen and my AC's were in London, so a lot of my day before the AC was spent travelling (see below)



Typically, my day would start around 6am for a train so I'd get working early- revising for different parts of the AC. I would typically practise my answers, use queue cards etc. Read the news, make sure I was totally up to date on everything.

When I got to London, I'd typically done more or less 8 hours work so I'd normally take a break for a couple of hours- drop my bag into the hotel and go get some lunch. I often booked a mock interview with Rare (I was a rare candidate) for late the day before so if I had one, I'd hop to their office after eating and get that done. I would normally do a little more work when I got back to the hotel but maybe only another half hour or hour. In the evening, I made a conscious effort to switch off and take my mind away from the AC. I'd normally order sushi (Aberdeen doesn't have any Sushi delivery :( )and video call my fiancee for a while then just watch Netflix or something and get an early night.

Morning of, I'd try and be up at a decent time, showered, suited and booted with enough time to get a coffee. I'm terrible for skipping breakfast so I normally wouldn't eat (don't recommend) and would try and be at the firm about 20 minutes before I needed to but I would aim to be in walking distance of it at least an hour beforehand. Normally, I'd grab a coffee somewhere nearby (while I typically drink large volume drinks like lattes, I would typically recommend going for something less voluminous for obvious reasons). Depending on how I was feeling, I'd try and eat something (usually something pretty light, though). Typically I would either walk or catch an Uber to the AC as I always feel like I'm coated in dust after being on the tube!

After the AC, I'd normally head back to the hotel to change and then go out for dinner and hit up one or two of my favourite bars (Nightjar cocktail bar on City Rd is usually a must). I normally booked a later train home so I could chill out in the city for a little while before getting back on the train.
 
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Raam

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Apr 4, 2019
140
319
hey everyone , for a virtual interview i know you need to look at your interviewers ... does this mean you look into the webcam to look them in the eyes? but then you actually can't see them if you're staring at the webcam if you know what i mean!?

I completely understand! It helps to have your webcam at eye level so when you look at the screen from time to time, it doesn't look like you're looking away too much.

That being said, I'd practise speaking about anything in front of your camera, looking into it and not at the screen. That way, it won't feel weird for the actual interview.
 
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Florawilliams

Esteemed Member
Sep 17, 2020
75
101
I completely understand! It helps to have your webcam at eye level so when you look at the screen from time to time, it doesn't look like you're looking away too much.

That being said, I'd practise speaking about anything in front of your camera, looking into it and not at the screen. That way, it won't feel weird for the actual interview.
thank you :D yeh i thought this! ok i will focus mainly on looking into the webcaM! a bit strange not actually looking at the people interviewing you
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
4,265
5,514
hey everyone , for a virtual interview i know you need to look at your interviewers ... does this mean you look into the webcam to look them in the eyes? but then you actually can't see them if you're staring at the webcam if you know what i mean!?

if on zoom you can drag and drop the order of people on the screen. I always move candidates to close to where the camera is as then it is effectively “eye contact” and you can still see the other people clearly.

You aren’t going to look them in the eyes (not possible on Zoom/video calls) but looking at them will just show general engagement.
 
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Alice G

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Nov 26, 2018
1,541
3,774
I have really enjoyed reading this thread and think it's been a great question to ask @R203

I am one of those people who gets very nervous and anxious before things like ACs and exams and it affects me physically too - I can't physically eat anything despite entirely agreeing with the advice above and my hands and feet get freezing cold (apologies to all those interviewers who had to shake my icy hands :D) so I think it's important to talk about this and normalise these feelings, especially because everyone is so different.

Despite trying to implement all kinds of strategies, there are a few which helped me:
Being prepared, including having your bag packed, outfit sorted and also checking emails for what you need to bring (firms might need you to bring ID or potentially certificates etc).

Getting there early - I really recommend this as on the day of my Shearman interview, despite leaving over an hour earlier than needed, I was held on the tube for about an hour due to an incident. Luckily I was above ground so could get in touch and made people aware but I was about 5 mins late in the end despite being so early to set off! Whilst I thankfully managed to secure the scheme, I did feel quite flustered and panicked that day which really didn't help me with nerves.

Speaking to fellow candidates and people in the firm. I would often be the first there because I found being in the environment and familiarising myself made the day seem less daunting. I would often speak with the people in reception and would try to chat to other candidates and get to know them as this always made me feel more relaxed too - everyone is in the same boat and just the act of smiling can increase your serotonin which naturally helps you feel more at ease.

I also think if you can select whether you do it in the morning or afternoon can help.I picked afternoon for Freshfields because I found I was barely sleeping the night before ACs and it was the act of getting to sleep which was so problematic. I picked the later time hoping I could maybe sleep in a little longer so as to increase the amount of sleep I would get and I found this was better for me personally - having it in the afternoon and being assured of that also helped me to fall asleep quicker too incidentally so this might be something to contemplate.
 
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