From Deployment to Employment: Managing Interview Nerves with Military Precision

Posted on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 by Adrian CheesmanNo comments

From Deployment to Employment: Managing Interview Nerves with Military Precision

Transitioning from military service to civilian employment can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to job interviews. While veterans possess a unique skill set that can make them stand out, interviews in the civilian world can feel like foreign territory. The good news? You can manage interview nerves by applying the discipline and strategies learned during your military career. Here's how.

Recognise the Importance of Preparation

Just like you wouldn't go into a mission without proper preparation, you shouldn't walk into an interview without being adequately prepared. Research the company, its culture, and the role you're applying for. Knowing your potential employer well will not only impress your interviewers but also help you tailor your responses, making you feel more confident.

Actionable Tip: Reconnaissance

In military terms, think of this as reconnaissance. Collect intel by visiting the company's website, reading up on news articles about them, and scanning their social media channels.

Prioritise Mental and Physical Well-being

Your physical and mental state can significantly impact your performance during an interview. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat a balanced meal, and engage in light exercise before the interview to help reduce stress.

Actionable Tip: Pre-Mission Check

Consider this your pre-mission check. A well-maintained 'vehicle'—in this case, you—performs better.

Utilise Breathing Techniques

In high-pressure situations, like military operations or interviews, deep breathing can help calm your nerves. Try inhaling for a count of four, holding the breath for four counts, exhaling for four, and then pausing for four before repeating.

Focus on the Mission Objective

Keep your mind trained on the objective: to secure the job. Distractions and stray thoughts can add to your nervousness. If you find yourself drifting, refocus by reminding yourself why you're there and what you aim to achieve.

Dress for Success

In the military, your uniform is a symbol of pride and discipline. While the dress code in civilian jobs might be less formal, dressing smartly for an interview can set the tone and boost your confidence.

Speak with Clarity and Confidence

In the military, clear and confident communication can be the difference between success and failure. The same principle applies in interviews. Listen attentively to questions and answer them concisely and clearly.

Actionable Tip: Comms Check

Perform a 'comms check' by practicing common interview questions with a friend or mentor. Fine-tune your answers and work on your delivery.

Master the Art of Situational Awareness

Being aware of your surroundings and reading social cues are skills honed in military service. Apply this situational awareness to gauge the mood in the room and adapt your responses and demeanor accordingly.

Handle Curveballs Gracefully

Unexpected questions or situations can arise during interviews. Use your problem-solving skills honed in the military to address these 'curveballs' calmly and effectively.

Actionable Tip: Adapt and Overcome

The military teaches you to be adaptable. If you encounter an unexpected question, take a moment to think before you respond, just like you would adapt to a changing situation in the field.


Whether or not you secure the job, always review your performance. Consider what went well and what you could improve on for future interviews.  Do this as soon as possible after your interview, write it down and refer back to it prior to attending your next.


Interview nerves are common but can be managed effectively by applying lessons from your military service. By preparing diligently, maintaining your mental and physical well-being, and employing tactics like deep breathing and situational awareness, you can walk into any interview room with military precision and confidence.

Good luck!

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