It’s natural to feel anxious before an important job interview. You have a lot at stake in terms of your financial future, career opportunities, and day-to-day happiness. You also know that you’re going to be scrutinized for each decision you make, from how you dress to what you say.
While the jitters are common in such a situation, they can be troublesome as well. You may be too distracted to think clearly about what you need to do, and you may give your interviewer the impression that you lack confidence.
Make anxiety work for you instead of against you. Try these strategies for regaining your composure and landing more job offers.
Steps to Take Before Your Interview:
1. Shift your perspective. There are advantages to anxiety if it gives you more energy and motivation to work hard. Still, you can accomplish the same thing with more comfortable emotions. Turn your anxiety into eagerness so you’re looking forward to your interview instead of brooding about it.
2. Accept your feelings. Suppressing emotions can actually intensify them and make them surface at inopportune times. Embrace your doubts and challenge them rather than trying to ignore them.
3. Prepare thoroughly. Planning ahead will give you confidence. Research the company and staff members you’ll be meeting with. Rehearse your answers in front of a mirror or with a friend. Focus on the difficult areas, so you’ll sound as eloquent as possible.
4. Sleep well. Getting 8 hours of sleep the night before would be ideal. If you’re too restless to snooze, lie still and rest. Chant something uplifting or picture cheerful images. A warm bath before bed may help too.
5. Move around. Exercise is one of the most constructive ways to release tension. Go for a run in the park the morning of your interview or take a yoga class at lunchtime.
6. Breathe deeply. Our emotions are closely connected to our breath. Doing breathing exercises each day will give you greater control. For a quick fix, try lengthening your exhalations and picturing your doubts leaving your body.
7. Limit caffeine. The last thing you need is too much caffeine. Put yourself on a budget, like one cup of coffee soon after you wake up and another one later in the morning.
8. Leave early. A peaceful commute will help you stay on track. Ensure you understand the directions to the venue where you’re interviewing. Give yourself plenty of time in case of heavy traffic and severe weather.
Steps to Take During and After Your Interview:
1. Smile wide. Start off with a great first impression. Put on a big smile, make eye contact, and shake hands while you introduce yourself. If you’re interviewing with more than one staff member, greet each of them warmly.
2. Create a conversation. Remember that an interview is a chance for give and take rather than being an interrogation. Many interviewers will appreciate your ability to guide the conversation toward your major strengths and concerns.
3. Show interest. Let the interviewer know how much you want the position. Demonstrate your knowledge of the company and ask pertinent questions. Even if the job turns out to be unsuitable for you, you can practice being engaging without being misleading.
4. Finish strong. Reinforce your performance by closing on a high note. Summarize what you can contribute to the company and thank your interviewer for their time and consideration. Follow up with a thank you note and any materials you promised to send.
Imagine feeling poised instead of nervous when you go on a job interview. Reframing your anxiety and being prepared will help you to impress your potential employer and advance your career.