Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
This article will cover several strategies to get your interview anxiety under control. It will also provide you with a step by step plan on how to stop worrying and start sleeping better, so you show up in your best condition on the day of your interview.
Most people get nervous before an interview.
Most people get nervous before interviews, but it’s a good thing. First, it means you care enough to be prepared. You’ve done your homework and can talk intelligently about the position because you’re interested in it. Finally, it shows that you’re excited to be part of the team and want to do an excellent job for the company.
Being nervous helps you think clearly, which is why many people will tell you not to worry so much during an interview. But in reality, being nervous is a sign that you’re preparing for the interview well and are ready for what’s next.
Everyone is different, and so is how we can handle anxiety and fear.
We all have different levels of anxiety. Therefore, it is essential to learn what we can do to control our anxiety levels and make the most out of it.
Some people are more anxious than others by nature. Conversely, some people are naturally calmer than others, and yet for some people, their level of anxiety might depend on other factors.
For example, some could be very confident public speakers but get very anxious when talking to their superiors/bosses.
It is crucial to understand how your level of anxiety affects your performance and what you can do about it for you to perform at an optimal level.
Some anxiety before an interview can be good.
A little anxiety before your interview can be a good thing. A little anxiety can help you stay focused and alert, which is good during an interview. The key here is to keep your anxiety at a manageable level. Too much anxiety can be detrimental (as discussed later in this article), so it’s essential to keep it in check by focusing on the positive. If you feel anxious about your upcoming interview, try to think of things that have gone right for you recently or things you have done well to get into this situation. This will help you feel more confident and less anxious as the big day approaches.
When trying to meet a deadline or finish a task in time, your body responds by pumping more adrenaline through the system to have the energy and focus on meeting the challenge at hand.
However, if your anxiety is severe or causing you to panic rather than motivate, there are things you can do to control it.
- Take a deep breath – It sounds simple enough, but it’s tough to do when feeling anxious. Anxiety causes rapid breathing, and taking deep breaths helps slow that down and calm you. It may help to try breathing in through your nose for four counts and out through your mouth for eight counts. You can also concentrate on slowing down the pace of your breaths as much as possible. This will help calm down both your mind and body.
- Think about what you have achieved so far. If you have graduated with good grades or have an impressive resume, then this shows that you must be doing something right! Reminding yourself of all the good things in your life will make those nerves seem insignificant by comparison.
- Take your time answering questions – Don’t let the interviewer rush you into responding too quickly. This isn’t a game show where speed wins, so make sure they know there are no time limits! Ask them to repeat the question if necessary, or ask them if they wouldn’t mind clarifying their question before answering (and don’t worry about sounding dense for clarification).
It may help take some practice interviews with friends or family members who won’t mind helping out by asking questions similar to those that might come up in an actual interview situation since this will get you more used to being under pressure and able to cope with it better.”
Speak slowly and clearly.
When you are nervous, you may tend to babble. This can be a real problem if the interviewer cannot understand what you are saying. Speak slowly and clearly. Don’t be afraid to pause and take a breath between phrases and sentences. If you get stuck or don’t know how to answer a question, it is better to pause than to overfill the silence with verbal filler (e.g., Uhm, well, so…).
As you become more aware of your breathing and learn to regulate it, you’re sure to notice your physical symptoms dissipating when you take deep breaths. This will help you stay calm, which can help make you appear calm and composed to your interviewer. Other techniques for calming yourself down include keeping your voice level and steady, avoiding fidgeting with your hands or tapping on the desk, keeping your feet planted squarely on the floor, and taking care not to slouch in your chair.
Don’t forget that practice makes perfect! As you do more interviews, these tips will become second nature—so take a moment before every interview session to check in with yourself and get ready for a good conversation!
Find a way to relax when everyone else seems busy doing other important things.
If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to make you feel more nervous before an interview, it’s hanging around in a room full of other people waiting for interviews. But, of course, that doesn’t mean you should get up and leave; if you do, your interviewer will assume that you were too anxious to stay and wait outside instead.
Instead, try doing something calming while you wait. For example, listen to music with headphones on (not so loud as to disturb others but loud enough so that it drowns out their conversations). If you don’t have a way of playing music on your phone, bring a book or crossword puzzle. Or grab some paper and draw. It shows you are creative.
Simple exercises make people less anxious, more optimistic, and more resilient in stressful situations. To stay calm, you can also meditate, write in a journal, walk (if the building allows), or do some stretches. Observe your surroundings. Repeat until the interviewer comes out looking for you. Just remember not to fall asleep!
Know the job description
Knowing the job description is essential for many reasons. First, you can ensure that you are genuinely qualified. Next, you will determine if this is the right job for you by knowing the requirements and how they fit into your skillset. Finally, understanding what the interviewer is looking for in an employee will help you ace your interview with limited anxiety.
You should study and understand your target company’s needs and objectives to match them with your qualifications during your interview.
Know your resume well
Many people have trouble keeping track of their resumes and their contents. When you are under pressure, it can be difficult to remember some things that should be included in your resume.
Here are some problems you might face:
- First, you do not remember all the duties you performed at your job.
- Second, you have more than one version of your resume and do not know which is correct or up-to-date.
- Third, you cannot remember if specific jobs or experiences are on your current resume.
- Finally, you have a gap in your employment history that you do not know how to explain (this is especially important).
The best way to deal with interview anxiety is by solving these issues before going into an interview.
If there is a possibility that you have an old version of your resume somewhere, take the time to update it so that it will match the new one. Add them if there are things on the old version that aren’t on the new one. Make sure everything matches up with what’s in your head! To avoid this problem altogether, use only one copy of your resume for everything and keep track of what has been changed and updated to make sure it changes everywhere else!
Study about the company
- Before your interview, it is imperative to study the company you will work for.
- Take time to go through the company’s website thoroughly and read about their products and services.
- Check out their latest news on the home page and the About Us section so that you can be up-to-date with whatever is happening in that organisation.
Also, have a look at their mission statement. This will help you understand what they stand for and let you know if you agree with it.
- It’s also a good idea to do a Google search for the company and see what other people are saying about them (good or bad).
In addition, check out their social media pages – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. These would give you information about how they interact with people outside of the organisation.
Finally, if possible, review any financial reports or economic outlooks on which your business model relies to be prepared for an in-depth conversation about this subject matter during your interview.
Research about the interviewer
One of the best ways to get to know your interviewer is to find out about them and their professional background. You can do this by:
- Googling their name or company
- Searching for them on LinkedIn (if you have access)
- Reviewing any part of their resume that was shared with you
Practice and prepare yourself
There is a lot you can do to prepare yourself for an interview, so take the time to make sure your body, mind and soul are ready.
Expect questions like “Tell me about yourself“, “What’s your greatest weakness?” or “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” These questions are classic and, therefore, easy to prepare for. Practice giving answers aloud that describe who you are and what you want to get out of this position. You can also practice answering more random questions with no correct answer per se. For example, if they ask you something like, “If you were a fruit, what kind would you be?” take some time thinking it through! Of course, you wouldn’t expect a question like that in an interview, but thinking on your feet is an important skill.
Make sure to practice your body language as well. As much as 70% of communication is non-verbal, so it makes sense that practising proper posture, eye contact, and handshakes will help convince them more than just saying the right words. Most people tend to lean forward when excited about something; if leaning back indicates boredom and lack of interest, don’t be afraid to let them know how enthusiastic you are about this opportunity!
Prepare a list of questions for the interviewer.
Interview anxiety is a common phenomenon among people of all ages. Asking for extra time for the interview is one of the ways to deal with your anxiety.
Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the company, position and responsibilities. Begin with general questions about the company, such as information about its products or services, size or location and any other fact you found by researching their website. Then, when you move on to ask specific questions related to that position, ask specific questions. Generally speaking, it makes sense not to ask “Who are your main competitors?” because this information can be easily retrieved online; instead, try to make sure that your interviewer knows if you have an interest in the industry by asking detailed questions regarding how they work in comparison with other companies.
Dress according to the interview
For the most part, when you’re interviewing for a new position at a company, you should stick to the basics. A tailored suit is almost always appropriate for interviews. Wearing a suit will immediately impact your interviewer and show them that you are serious about wanting to join their company and take your job seriously. Wearing a professional outfit will also help you feel more confident in yourself. If wearing a suit doesn’t seem like something that would be common at the company where you’re interviewing, opt for business casual attire instead. Depending on the season, that generally means dress pants or khakis, paired with either a button-down shirt or polo shirt worn under a sweater or blazer.
Go prepared with a pen, notepad, copies of your resume and other documents you may need during the interview.
An interview is a formal meeting where the interviewer will be looking at how well you present yourself. Therefore, you need to dress appropriately, carry a pen and notepad, and have copies of your resume, certificates, and portfolio. The pen should be black or blue, not red, as this shows that you are prepared and ready for the interview.
When it comes to your resume, don’t forget to read through it carefully before the interview. You should know all your achievements by heart because you may need to cite them during the interview. In addition, if the employer asks what kind of experience or skill sets you have, you will be able to answer confidently if you have reviewed them in advance.
Get plenty of sleep the night before your interview (but not so much that you oversleep.)
Before your interview, note the time you have to be there. Estimate how long it will take you to get ready in the morning, and then set your alarm for an hour or so before that (aim for a generous buffer). If you’re nervous about oversleeping, ask a friend or family member to call you when you need to wake up.
Try to get a whole night’s sleep (but not so much that you oversleep)—a restless night will only increase your stress and anxiety levels. If possible, avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening—both can interrupt sleep patterns.
If it’s a morning interview, don’t rush yourself. Get up early enough that you have time to shower and get ready without feeling hurried or stressed. Use this extra time to relax—do some deep breathing exercises or listen to calming music as part of your morning routine.
Stay hydrated on the day of your interview.
Take really good care of yourself by practising mindfulness
- Drink a glass of water before you start. Do not hesitate to ask for water if needed during the interview.
- Avoid coffee, tea and energy drinks on the day of your interview.
- Avoid alcohol on the day of your interview.
- Avoid sugary drinks like cola and fizzy drinks before an interview.
Get there early, so you have time to settle in before the actual interview starts.
Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the interview location. First, allow plenty of time to find the building. If you’re unsure where the building is, use a GPS or call the company and ask for specific directions. It’s also essential to give yourself enough time to find parking and then go to the bathroom before your interview starts. You’ll want to do this as rushing increases feelings of anxiety and nervousness.
With proper preparation, interview nerves shouldn’t bother you too much
To put yourself at ease, do your research about the company and the job. A few examples:
- What makes this company unique?
- What is the job description? Why was it posted in the first place? How will you make a difference in this role, and why?
- Research the organisation, practice responses to interview questions, practise your handshake, and practice telling powerful stories about your skills. The more prepared and knowledgeable you are about your potential employer, the better you are likely to perform in the interview.
Practice a mock interview where you speak aloud to answer common interview questions. There are many resources online that provide sample responses to commonly asked questions. In addition, watch videos on YouTube of hiring managers interviewing people for jobs. This will give you a sense of what happens during an interview. You may want to practice with a friend or family member.
A well-prepared candidate is a confident candidate.
- You’ll be asked, “What do you know about our company?” So prepare by reading through the employer’s website and press coverage about the company to get a feel for its goals, culture and challenges.
- Bring a notebook and pen to take notes during your interview. This is a sign of professionalism, but it will also help you stay focused on what is being said instead of trying to remember key points from the conversation.
- Arrive early to fill out any necessary paperwork, relax and collect your thoughts before meeting with the interviewer. Missing an interview because of traffic or other transportation issues would be unfortunate, mainly due to poor planning.
- It may seem obvious but arrive at your interview dressed appropriately (and freshly showered) according to industry standards for the role you seek.
You’ve worked hard to land this interview, so take the time to plan out any last-minute details! The more prepared you are going into an interview—especially if it’s your first—the more confident and relaxed you will be when meeting with hiring managers.
Conclusion: If you have interview anxiety, the best thing to do is try your best to avoid negative thoughts. It may help to talk about your problem with someone you trust, and even seeking professional guidance can help if it’s offered, but ultimately you’re the one in control of your thoughts. You can think positively or negatively. No one else can do that for you. Remember the old saying: “fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering”. Positive
If you think you did something wrong, ask yourself: what’s my purpose statement here? What can I take away from this experience? While it is okay to be nervous, we always get what we focus on – so don’t focus on nerves, focus on your performance, presentation, and above all else, be yourself!. This will help you stop feeling anxious and start feeling excited.