There is nothing more exciting when you have sent out multiple CVs and those responses start coming in for interviews. On the other hand, interview anxiety is a very real issue for some individuals out on the hunt for their dream job. It is not the easiest thing in the world to sit in front of a panel of strangers talking about yourself and being evaluated and judged every step of the way while trying to sell yourself.
On the flip side, anxiety can actually be turned into something positive and motivate you to be better prepared and keep you on your toes during the interviewing process. The biggest mistake that you can make is to force yourself to calm down. That is almost the same as telling water not to be wet! Anything that is forced will only increase your stress levels and is a recipe for disaster in an interview.
Always make sure you treat yourself and your body well before an interview. Even though we are all slaves to caffeine, make sure you don’t overdo it, get enough sleep and make sure you exercise enough. If your body and mind are in a good state of health, potentially stressful situations are handled much better.
It is important that you reduce any potential stressors that have absolutely nothing to do with your actual performance in an interview. Make sure you are dressed comfortably. It is amazing how uncomfortable clothes can make an impact on your level of confidence. Even if it is an online interview, make sure that you are on time and that you are set up and ready well in advance. If you are going to an in-person interview, familiarise yourself with the address and area to avoid getting lost and putting unnecessary stress on yourself. It’s better to be early. Being late for an interview seldom leads to you being hired.
As ridiculous as it may sound to some people, sit down, close your eyes and visualise a successful interview. This is more than just positive thinking, if you visualise correctly it prepares your brain to behave in a certain manner. Even pro athletes make use of this technique so why not give it a bash?
Research, research, research! If you are well prepared, anxiety is kicked to the curb very quickly. Make sure you prepare for potential questions and make sure you research your employer. Knowledge is power and the more you familiarise yourself with the business or school you are applying to, you minimise the chances of being caught off-guard with any question. Don’t overdo it though. You don’t want to sound like a pre-programmed robot when answering questions.
Nobody said life is completely fair, and sometimes you have that one person in an interview that is out on a mission to grill you and see how you handle stress. Don’t give in to the pressure! If you find yourself in this situation, don’t let it upset you and see this for what it is – a challenge to your character. Just keep telling yourself that other candidates have been through the wringer as well and stick to your guns by being yourself and answering questions to the best of your ability.
Take your time, don’t rush and release any anxious energy. Remember, as much as you are the interviewee, you are also in the position to ask questions. As much as the potential employer is interviewing you for the job, you need to also assess if their values and organisation fit your long-term career goals and personality. Make sure you also go in with that mindset. An interview is not a roast!
Make sure you breathe and always remember that you have worked hard to attain the skillset that you have, don’t oversell yourself but also never sell yourself short. Good luck!