You have been called for a job interview. You have always dreamed of working for this company. This could be it, but you are a nervous wreck.
Anxiety is common to many people, especially in the face of something potentially life-changing, like a job interview. A panel of strangers examining your reputation, appearance and your expression can intimidate even the most confident person.
Unfortunately, your anxiousness may actually interfere with your performance on the day of the interview. It can contribute to serious blunders such as blurting, sweating, fidgeting and blanking out. This can lead to the interviewer being distracted resulting in him forgetting your qualifications and strengths.
How can you manage the anxiety?
You should know how to deal with interview anxiety. The best way to deal with job interview anxiety is through preparation. Some level of anxiety in nerve-racking situations is healthy. A little anticipation and nervousness may help you perform better in the interview.
Preparing for your interview will give you a lot of confidence which will help you use your nervous energy in a positive way. It will also eliminate nervous habits and enable positive body language.
How do you prepare yourself?
Emphasise the Positive
It always pays off to be positive. The job search can be discouraging and good candidates sometimes end up being rejected and ridiculed. These experiences can leave you bitter, but no employer wants to employ someone with an attitude problem. Negativity can leave you unable to express yourself articulately in an interview. To beat the competition, you must prepare and practice with a positive attitude.
Mentally, remind yourself that you are ready. Listen to upbeat music, meditation tapes or motivational speakers. You can even playback your own pep talk.
Always put these away before you get to the interview. A candidate with headphones on (anywhere on the premises even the lobby) looks distracted.
Unfamiliar environments can also add to the uncertainty. Career professionals recommend a visit to the interview location beforehand.
This reduces the risk of getting stuck in traffic or getting lost and rushing into the interview late, confused and sweaty. Allow yourself some time to freshen up, re-hydrate and familiarize.
Do not succumb to Despair
Even if you desperately need this job, keep in mind that it is just a single opportunity out of many. Your future is not reliant on getting that one role. There will be many other opportunities.
Looking at it from the interviewer’s perspective, excitement is acceptable, overexcitement, however, is a little awkward.
Whichever way the interview goes, you will come out of it with experience that makes you a better job candidate and a more professional employee in future.
Focus on projecting confidence. It is not possible to control the employer’s final decision, but you can present your strengths in a manner that will put you ahead of the competition.
Remember they liked your CV or you made a positive impression during the screening process. This shows that things are already working in your favour and is a reason to be confident in your abilities.
Relax and Boost Your Confidence
Anti-anxiety techniques such as breathing exercises and mental imagery, work for some people.
Some techniques that may help you relax are:
Power Posing — a 2-minute posing trick can immediately boost your confidence, improving how you present yourself in the interview. Simply pose like superman or wonder woman for two minutes before leaving your house.
You can also stand tall, hands on your hips and legs, shoulder-width apart. To understand the science behind the success of this technique, check out Amy Cuddy’s incredible Ted Talk here.
A recently concluded study has proved that the power pose leads to a significant increase of testosterone levels (dominance hormone) and reduction of cortisol (stress hormone). It alters your hormones, boosting your confidence.
A follow-up study found that power posers were overwhelmingly seen by the interviewers as being more eligible candidates.
- Visualization – it may help to ease your anxiety when you visualize your interview being successful. Imagine yourself in front of the interviewing panel making a favourable impression. Feel the rush of positive confidence coursing through you. For better results, combine the visualization with the positive feeling. It is not only fast, but also an easy way to streamline your thoughts and boost your confidence.
- Breathing – look into anxiety-reducing breathing techniques that can help you focus before the big day. When you get to the interview location, pause and breathe deeply a few times to allay any last-minute concerns. Anxiety causes you to be out of breath, which affects your demeanour and your speech. It is important to take some time and simply breathe deeply.
- Pace yourself – when you start stumbling over your words, anxiety is taking over. Nervousness accelerates your behaviour and speech. It can also cause you to answer without adequately considering the query.
Calm down and embrace the pause. Do not be in a rush to break the silence, it gives you time to collect your thoughts.
Do not feel self-conscious about taking a few minutes to think. Interviewers expect you to carefully weigh your answers to complex questions.
If the silence feels uncomfortable, it is OK to break it by saying, “That is a good question. Let me take a moment to deliberate on the most relevant answer.”
Redirect their questions – it is not possible to know the answers to all questions, interviewers know this. Sometimes they ask stress questions to gauge how you react under pressure.
Gracefully redirect the interviewer toward a relevant subject that you are knowledgeable on, one that highlights your strengths. Stay calm and do not allow one difficult question to darken the mood of your interview. Aim to answer questions well and conclude the interview on a high.
Use these tips to calm your nerves. Remember, interview anxiety is normal for all of us, but you can beat it if you remain calm and focused on acing your interview.