It is big news when a new fast-food chain opens in a small country town like Gunnedah. “Gunnedah” I can hear you saying, “Isn’t that where Miranda Kerr is from”. Yes, that’s right. And yes, I did know her. It’s also the “Koala Capital of the World”, but that doesn’t seem to rate a mention!

I remember the buzz when an Eagle Boys opened in my home town back in the mid 90’s. I was in Year 10 at the time, and everyone I spoke to was applying for a job there, and I was lucky enough to get an interview.

I’d never had a proper paid job, little-lone an interview. So I thought I needed to do something different to make myself stand out from the crowd. I decided to go in my school uniform. I went to a Catholic School that had a strict uniform policy which included wearing a tie plus it was the most formal outfit I owned. The line-up for interviews went down the street across the next few shops, and I was the only one in school uniform, tie and all.

Having long hair made me extra conscious of my presentation. I wore my hair up in a ponytail, which I never did at school. I polished my school shoes and fixed my tie in the perfect position. I felt self-conscious, and lots of kids made comments about the way I looked while we waited – nothing bad though. I figured the effort I had made would show a lot of attributes about me that would be suitable for the job.

I was happy with the effort I’d made but it didn’t help with the nerves. I couldn’t believe the churning in my stomach. It’s called butterflies. I’d felt it before doing dangerous things like jumping from a house roof onto a tree (amongst a lot of other typical risk-taking behaviour I was predisposed to at that age), but this time it felt more like a washing machine in my belly. It was horrible.

Eventually, it was my turn to walk in the doors. As I went in, I could feel cool air around my arm pits. I looked down, horrified at the sweat patches under both arms. It was too late to do anything about it except keep my arms down.

Two people were doing the interviews, the owner and the store manager. I made sure to look them in the eyes and shake their hands (something my Dad had always drummed into me when meeting new people). They were very friendly and knew my father, which broke-the-ice but still didn’t help the feeling in my guts.

I don’t remember much about what they said, but after it was done I shook their hands again and hoped for the best.

I did get the job. Everyone at school was impressed; only a handful got a position there. It felt pretty good. It obviously helped that the owner knew my family and research backs up that having a network of family and friends means you are more likely to get a job.

To this day I still get very nervous before and during an interview. Some strategies I use to help are yoga breathing techniques, visualisation, extensive preparation for potential questions and being aware of my body language to avoid nervous-type behaviours.

Approaching job interviews with confidence can be achieved. Here’s a few simple tips from CHESS that will help boost your confidence in your next job interview.

Ben is a valued CHESS employment consultant, based out of our Coffs Harbour agency. Ben has worked in community services since 2006 and has a keen interest in youth, mental health and mindfulness. He is a qualified yoga and meditation teacher specialising in scientifically validated techniques for depression and anxiety.