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Interview anxiety is nervousness or panic that you may feel due to an approaching interview. Symptoms may be physical, such as an increased heart rate, or mental, like racing thoughts. Interview anxiety can exist by itself or be related to generalized anxiety or social anxiety disorder.
Some people may experience anticipatory anxiety, which appears in the days leading up to the interview marked by worries about what will happen. Others may experience more anxiety on the day of the interview and in the interview itself. Either way, interview anxiety can be managed with helpful tools and research-based strategies.
How to get over interview anxiety
Here are 12 ways to overcome your interview anxiety:
Prepare for your interview thoroughly
Learn as much as you can about the company you are interviewing with. Find their mission and vision and note what you like about them. Prepare several questions to ask your interviewer about the company to demonstrate your interest. Feeling knowledgeable can help alleviate some of your worries.
Consider doing a trial run by driving to the office or interview location in advance to get an idea of how long the trip will take. On the day of the interview, allow yourself extra time for any unforeseen delays.
Pack everything you will need ahead of time. Consider bringing the following items to an interview:
- Office address and directions
- At least five copies of your cover letter, resume and list of references
- List of questions to ask your interviewer
- Notepad and pen
- Business cards
Read more: Interview Questions To Ask Employers
Practice your answers
Consider having a mock interview with a friend or at a career center at your university. Practicing the interview process helps you feel more confident and can show you what to expect at the real interview.
Picture your success
Find a quiet place to sit and visualize your upcoming interview. Imagine yourself at ease and confident. Go through the interview in your mind, picturing yourself answering questions, carrying yourself well and feeling comfortable throughout the process. These visualization exercises can help you recognize you are capable of succeeding, even in a stressful environment.
Having fewer decisions to make on interview day can help you feel less rushed and less anxious. Choose your outfit and try it on ahead of time. Plan and prep your pre-interview meal or snack. Fill up your gas tank the day before if driving to the interview.
Eat well and exercise
In the days leading up to your interview, try to take care of yourself physically so that you do not have to worry about canceling your interview due to illness. Several hours before your interview, consider going for a run, a walk or a bike ride to help release nervous energy. Try to avoid caffeine and other triggers just before your interview. Instead, consider drinking water or green tea to help you relax.
Lower your stress levels
Consider the following methods for reducing stress and anxiety:
- Talk to a friend. You can call a friend before your interview for a distraction and encouragement.
- Write down your thoughts. Writing down your thoughts can help you process your emotions and may even provide healing benefits. Consider keeping a journal the week leading up to your interview.
- Listen to music. Music may improve your body’s response to stress. While you are getting ready and on your commute to the interview, consider playing music that energizes you to help you feel ready for success.
- Laugh. Laughing can help combat anxiety. Listen to a funny podcast or watch your favorite comedian before your interview to help take some of the pressure off of yourself.
- Relax your body. Just before the interview begins, relax your shoulders and unclench your jaw to release muscle tension.
Increase your confidence
Before leaving your house, or in the parking lot of the office if it’s private, consider assuming the Superman pose for a couple of minutes: hands on your hips, feet apart, standing tall. This can help you feel powerful and in control.
Take deep breaths
Anxiety causes you to breathe shallowly, increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in your body, which can further increase anxiety levels. Taking deep breaths—breathing in for a count of four, holding for a count of two, then exhaling for a count of four—can help reduce this build-up of carbon dioxide.
When waiting for your interview in the lobby or waiting room, take deep breaths. Try to avoid looking at your phone. To keep your hands busy and distract your mind, you can write notes or draw on your notepad.
Anxiety often makes you focused on yourself and your own thoughts. Combat this internal focus by making it a point to engage with others. Ask the receptionist their name or make small talk with your interviewer when walking to their office. Repeat the names of those you meet. These small tasks will help your thoughts shift from internal to external.
Anxiety can often be the result of feeling powerless. You can feel empowered by asking the interviewer questions. Remember that a job interview is also a chance for you to decide if a company is right for you. Ask about any policies that are important to you, such as service days, environmental impact initiatives and expectations for weekend and overtime work.
Think before responding
Before responding to questions, take a breath and use a few seconds to organize your thoughts. You can give yourself a little time by saying, “Let me think about that for a second” or “I want to think of a specific example for you.”
Accept the outcome
Hiring decisions are based on many different factors. No matter what decision is made, be proud of yourself for going through the interview despite your anxiety. Make note of what you may be able to improve upon in the future, but avoid overthinking your performance. Every interview is valuable because it is an opportunity to improve your skills.
“12 Tips for How to Get over Interview Anxiety.” Indeed Career Guide, 11 Mar. 2021, https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/anxiety-interview.Tags: Are You Ready to Interview Your Interviewer?, Temp Staffing of Indiana, Tips For Creating a Positive Interview Experience for Candidates