If you haven’t had the chance to go through multiple job interviews, you might not be able to shake off interview anxiety.
Usually, interview anxiety is either a result of being afraid of poor performance or being judged. You should try to remain calm before your interview by breathing slowly and reminding yourself that the worst thing that can happen is not that scary after all.
If you’re having trouble managing your interview anxiety, keep reading for a detailed guide on how to tackle it, with tips and techniques included! Let’s begin!
- People usually feel anxious before their interview because they’re scared that they will not do a good enough job or because they’re afraid of being judged by people they don’t know well.
- The best way to take care of your interview anxiety is to prepare for interview questions beforehand so you know what may be asked and to do some research on the company so that you know what they’re looking for.
- Always make sure to take a deep breath before your interview and try to calm down by either walking or doing a power-pose beforehand.
What Are The Possible Causes of Interview Anxiety?
Before going into ideas on tips to reduce anxiety, let’s look at some reasons why you usually feel anxious during interviews:
- You want to do a good job. Your main focus when entering an interview is to do a good job with how you answer and how you use your body language. Interview anxiety can then be caused by overpracticing so that you don’t forget anything.
- You’re meeting new people. Social anxiety is what most interviewees experience throughout their job hunting process. Meeting new people can get scary, and on top of that, you need to impress them.
- The focus will only be on you. The main cause of interview anxiety is knowing that you’re there to be judged for who you are and what you look like. This can cause interview anxiety, as you will only focus on trying to portray yourself in a way that makes a great first impression.
How to Prepare for an Interview
The best thing you can do to prevent anxiety is to prepare for your interview. Preparing for your interview is always recommended since it can help you imagine every possible outcome. You should also use your anxiety to motivate yourself to prepare for the interview.
You might want to try going through some mock interviews to help you prepare. Or, you can have your friend ask you some common interview questions.
Let’s explore some of these preparation steps in more detail.
Practice Answering Questions
First, look up some common interview questions online. In addition to the most common ones, you’ll probably come across some tricky interview questions like these as well:
- Why did you leave your last job?
- How do you handle conflict?
- What are your salary expectations?
- How would you describe yourself in three words?
- What motivates you?
The most helpful way to answer questions like these is to stand in front of your mirror while practicing. You can also try to video record yourself. Both of these options will let you check how you’re moving your body, if you’re stuttering, and whether you’re maintaining proper eye contact.
Research the Company
The next step in preparing for your interview is to do as much research as possible. Go online and look up the company you’re applying for. Research what they do and read the job description carefully. You can also look up the interviewer online to see what they’re interested in.
Additionally, it’s always a good idea to tailor your answers and skills to their job requirements. If you’re applying for a teaching job, for example, try to mention how well you work with children and how patient you are. On the other hand, if the job description is for an IT position, emphasize your technical knowledge instead.
Get Exposed to More Interviews
The more interviews you attend, the less nervous you’ll be at your next one. That’s because you will be exposed to more interview questions and types of interviewers, which increases your confidence, reduces unpredictability to a certain degree, and ultimately reduces anxiety.
It’s also a great learning experience, as you can observe how different types of interviewers react to your answers, so you know how to alter them for the next interview.
What to Do Before an Interview
If you’re feeling really anxious before your interview, there are some things you can do to reduce your anxiety, such as:
Avoid Certain Food & Drinks
Avoid caffeinated drinks at all costs so you don’t get jittery during your interview. Caffeine is known for raising anxiety levels, which is the opposite of what you need to calm your nerves.
Besides that, it’s also recommended to have a small meal before your interview so you don’t get sleepy, but don’t overdo it, as a large meal can have the exact opposite effect.
Lastly, avoid drinking any alcoholic beverages before your interview, as they certainly won’t relax you. If anything, they will cloud your mind, and if your smell or behavior gives you away, your chances of getting the job will be dramatically reduced.
Dress to Impress
The next step is to decide what to wear to your interview. Remember to always wear something comfortable. An interview can sometimes last longer than expected, and it’s important that you don’t feel uncomfortable in itchy clothes that may distract you.
It’s smart to do some research on the company’s dress code to tailor your outfit specifically for the interview.
Lastly, if you’re prone to sweating easily, avoid wearing white, gray, or anything else where sweat stains will be visible.
Release Anxious Energy
Last but not least, the best way to conquer anxiety before an interview is to release all of that negative energy. Try to take a walk and do some breathing exercises to slow down your thoughts.
Don’t try to forcefully calm yourself down. If anything, this will only increase your anxiety level and is therefore not a helpful approach.
You can also try to look up some interview anxiety meditation exercises to help you calm down before your interview.
An important thing to remember is to drink enough water to avoid dehydration. Dehydration can make you feel more agitated, which will just increase your anxiety levels further. On the other hand, try not to overdo it with water, as you may need to take a trip to the bathroom more often than you’d like to.
What to do During an Interview
Now, let’s look at some things you can try to do to help reduce your anxiety during your interview:
Take Your Time
There’s no reason for you to answer questions as soon as you hear them. Take some time to think about the answer. Ask the interviewer whether you can take notes so you can refer to them.
Keep taking notes until you have enough material to answer the questions. Taking a moment to take note and think will allow you to properly think through and formulate your response, which will ultimately signal that you’ve come prepared for the interview.
The best advice we have for you is to imagine that your interview is just a conversation you’re having with a friend from work. It’s important that both parties are talking, as it’s essentially an exchange and not a monologue.
Consider how you would ask your colleague about something you don’t understand. Try to use the interview as a learning experience, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Another good tip is to moderate your facial expressions and body language during your interview. Always look the interviewer in the eyes and smile when appropriate. Try to give a nod or two when the interviewer answers.
Shake their hand firmly and maintain a good posture so that you don’t seem insecure.
Interviewers sometimes ask tricky interview questions to check how you handle stressful situations.
Some common questions are:
- What should the company offer its employees?
- What do you think a good salary is for you?
Here, it’s important to remain calm and not dodge the question completely. If you can’t muster the response or don’t feel comfortable answering, you can try to redirect the question to them or to another topic instead.
Don’t get defensive, even if you don’t agree with what is being asked. The recruiters want to know how you manage your emotions when it comes to answering hard questions like these.
You Are Interviewing Them, Too
The interview is an opportunity for you to get to know the company as well. Always remember that they also need to prepare for it and for your questions as well. Just like they’re trying to see whether you’re a good fit for their company, the interview is an opportunity for you to do the same.
This mindset will let you switch the focus from you to them. Try to ask multiple questions where possible to show your interest in the company. Remember that the company needs to impress you as well!
7 Extra Tips & Techniques to Manage Interview Anxiety
Most interview anxiety statistics online confirm that anxiety before an interview is almost universally experienced and completely normal.
It’s not possible to get rid of your anxiety entirely; however, here are some interview anxiety tips we’ve gathered to help you manage it a little bit better.
#1. Visualize Success
Go to a quiet room, close your eyes, and try to visualize a successful interview. This helps your brain prepare for the interview and will help you calm down your interview anxiety a little. Try to visualize the feeling you would get after a successful interview.
This technique also helps in building confidence, and it is widely used by athletes before competitions.
#2. Give Yourself a Pep Talk
Another good way to calm your nerves before an interview is to give yourself a pep talk. Remind yourself that, although you’re really anxious right now, it is mainly happening because you are a perfectionist and want to do well.
Consider telling yourself that it’s completely normal and understandable that you’re feeling anxious because the job is important to you. Try to calm yourself down by saying that no matter what the outcome of the interview is, you gained experience and an advantage for your next one.
#3. Write Down Negative Thoughts
Your highest priority before an interview is to stay in control of your thoughts and emotions, as this is how you tackle interview anxiety. If you try to focus on positive thoughts, your emotions will follow.
The best approach is to write down your negative thoughts. If you’re afraid of not knowing what to answer with, you should also write down that you’ve already learned more than enough sample answers to help you out, as it’s important to provide solutions for your fears.
#4. Do a Power Pose
A “power pose” is a body language trick that can help you boost your confidence and alleviate your interview anxiety. Basically, you need to pose like a superhero for a couple of minutes before your interview.
Although this sounds silly, it actually works. Think of the way Superman poses with his hands on his hips while keeping his head high. Studies have shown that a power pose increases testosterone (which is the hormone that is correlated with confidence) and substantially lowers cortisol (that pesky hormone responsible for stress and anxiety).
Remember to do a power pose in a place where nobody can see you so you don’t get embarrassed, which would make your interview anxiety even worse.
#5. Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises are the perfect way to ease into the interview. Take a deep breath in throughout your nostrils, hold it in for 10 seconds, and then exhale slowly with your mouth. Try to do this around 10 times, or as much as you have time before your interview.
Slow and steady breathing helps with overthinking and also affects your stress hormones, ultimately reducing interview anxiety and allowing you to think more clearly.
#6. Practice Meditation & Mindfulness
Try to meditate and practice mindfulness before your interview. Try to pair all of this with a proper breathing exercise, and you’ll be good to go.
Meditation will also help you focus on the present instead of the unknown future.
#7. Do a Grounding Exercise
A grounding exercise is a technique that requires you to employ all five of your senses. Loading the senses works well to clear out any anxious thoughts. The main purpose of grounding exercises is to remain present in the moment and actually be mindful.
You can follow these steps to do a proper grounding exercise:
- Sit or lay down in a comfortable position
- Inhale three deep and slow breaths
- Mention five things that you can see in front of you
- Say four things that you are able to touch
- Mention three sounds that you can hear
- Mention two objects or things that you can smell
- Describe one thing that you can taste
This technique helps you focus on something other than your interview anxiety.
Keep in mind that, although your interview anxiety can’t completely go away, it’s still a good idea to practice beforehand and do some research on the company and the job itself.
Remember that being anxious before your interview is very common and completely normal, and you can deal with it by visualizing your success and giving yourself a pep talk. Write down solutions to your fears and worries as well.
We wish you good luck on your next interview, and we hope that this guide will help you manage your interview anxiety better!