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Nervous Sweating: Can You Control It and Ace Your Interview?

2 men in suits shaking hands

By Stephen J. Praetorius

Job interviews are stressful enough as it is. Between trying to look the part and making a great first impression — not to mention thinking on your feet to come up with impressive answers — you've already got enough on your plate during those first few moments with your potential new employer. For no reason should you have to add nervous sweating to the list. Lucky for you, there are a number of simple steps you can take to stay dry before, during and after that all-important first meeting.

Your Pre-Meeting Game Plan

To quote Alexander Graham Bell, "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success." That same principle holds just as true for managing your nervous sweating. Here are few pointers you should follow before your interview to make sure you arrive dry and confident:

  • Apply antiperspirant the night before. You might not know this, but antiperspirant actually requires some time to work, says Lifehacker. Swiping before bed affords it that time to plug your sweat ducts.

  • Steer clear of coffee. Caffeine has been shown to stimulate sweat glands in the skin, which will only add to your perspiration problem, according to a study from Frontiers in Neuroscience. The same goes for spicy foods, alcohol and cigarettes. Avoid them all within 24 hours of your interview for your best chance of staying sweat-free.

  • Wear clothes that breathe. Natural fabrics like cotton and linen will allow air to dry your skin if and when you start to perspire. Synthetics, on the other hand, tend to trap humidity. Also, go for darker fabrics, since they'll hide sweat much better than their lighter counterparts.

  • Try to chill out. Everyone has a method of relaxation. Some guys like deep breathing exercises, others prefer yoga and still others just give their resume another quick once-over. Remember to take the time to do whatever activity that calms your nerves. Every little bit helps.

Mid-Interview Sweat Stoppers

No matter how hard you try, sometimes you just can't stop nervous sweating. The good news is you have options for dealing with that errant bit of sweat even in the midst of your big meeting.

  • Carry a handkerchief. A cotton pocket square is the perfect tool to dry off a sweaty brow. Bonus: It'll prove useful when your palms start to sweat because wiping your hands on your pants might leave a mark.

  • Ask for a glass of water. Cold water can help lower your core body temperature, which may help with the sweat. A drink is a great way to help you slow down, too. You can pause to take a quick sip any time you need a moment to think of the perfect response.

  • Use bathroom breaks to your advantage. Is your interview multi-part or simply on the longer side? Find a moment to regroup in the restroom. There you'll have the opportunity to reapply antiperspirant, splash water on your face and briefly place a damp paper towel on the back of your neck, all of which will help keep nervous sweating at bay.

When you don't have to worry about sweat, you can devote your undivided attention to convincing the interviewer that it'd be silly to hire anyone else.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Speed Stick products. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.