Conquer your legal job interview jitters using mindfulness

August 1, 2018

You’re not alone if you find interviews stressful. Many of us have experienced going into panic mode – sweaty palms, weak knees, mind and heart racing, tightness in the chest – while waiting to be called in for an interview. As we think about what and what not to say, we feel a mix of anticipation, fear, and excitement, which can become overwhelming.

A job interview can often trigger the fight-or-flight response. It can cause us to become flustered and forget key facts; sometimes, our emotions override the rational part of our brain.

In truth, an interviewer wants to get to know the real you and how you can add value to their team and organization (take it from an experienced legal recruiter). Successful interviewees aim to stay calm and focused to represent themselves accurately. By remaining fully present during your interview, you are more likely to pick up on important conversational cues that help you fully represent yourself to a potential employer.

Mindful meditation can help you calm those job interview jitters.


Mindfulness meditation is about being present and engaged in the moment. It is a simple yet effective technique that enables you to control your thoughts and behaviours to get through stressful situations in a calm and productive manner.

Mindfulness meditation is taking the corporate world by storm and has been embraced by many successful companies, including Google, Nike, and Apple.

 Stop. Breathe. Notice. Reflect. Respond.

While you are waiting for an interview to begin, try to practice Stop, Breath, Notice, Reflect, Respond (SBNRR), a mindfulness technique taught at Google:


Stop: Take a moment to acknowledge your feelings.

Breathe: Take a deep breath to clear your mind and calm down your brain. This is a crucial step.

Notice: Observe the feelings you are experiencing at the moment.

Reflect: Understand what’s causing the emotion and consider if it is the right response.

Respond: Make a conscious decision to respond in the kindest and most compassionate way to create a positive outcome.


SBNRR is about taking a mental step back to consider alternative ways to act on your emotions.

Practicing this simple mindfulness technique will help you become more aware of your emotions as they unfold, which can be the foundation of a successful approach to an interview. This can help tame your emotions and bring forward the rational part of your brain for more calm and reasoned decision making.

Research reveals that mindfulness assists with managing stress, enhancing performance, strengthening relationships, increasing personal well-being, and making quick decisions, all of which are crucial for a successful legal job interview. Even a few seconds of SBNRR technique can improve your interview’s outcome.

Practicing mindfulness meditation techniques can help you relax, stay well-grounded, and understand your interviewer’s intentions and reasoning behind asking a difficult question. It can also help you stay positive and find the best way to craft your answers during an interview.

Be a mindful interviewee.  By being present and engaged, you leave a more positive and lasting impression on employers.  Mindfulness meditation practice teaches you to focus on one thing at a time so that you can be completely present during interviews.

Build a meaningful relationship. Focus on building a genuine respectful connection with the interviewer (rather than trying to impress them). Start by taking the time to connect with yourself and then approach the interviewer in the same way you would approach a good friend, with compassion and trust. Ensure you keep positive thoughts, which will build confidence in your connection. Your emotional and mental state will influence the connection you have with the interviewer(s), so be sure to nourish it.

Of course, mindfulness alone will not secure a job. Experience, skills, and knowledge are all critical variables. Nonetheless, mindfulness can increase your odds of success that much more.

Try using SBNRR as a mindfulness technique to manage your interview jitters and you may notice a great deal of improvement in your performance and confidence, and increase your chance at landing the right position for your legal career.

Good luck with your next interview! If you are considering your next career move, connect with us to explore your options in the legal market.

Chaaya R. Jugdeb, Recruitment Associate