Even when you’re totally prepared for an interview and know that you are qualified, it can still be a nerve-racking experience to walk into a room (of potentially more than one person) and be judged for your past performances.
Job interviews come with very specific feedback—either you’ll get the gig, or you won’t. No matter what your qualifications may be, how you conduct yourself in an interview can make a big difference when it comes to the impression you leave on your interviewer.
The next time you’re up for a new job and have a big interview coming up, consider some of these tips to overcome job interview anxiety.
How to Calm Job Interview Anxiety
It goes without saying that one of the best ways to ace an interview is to prepare as much as possible beforehand. This includes everything from researching the company and the person who will be interviewing you to memorizing your best accolades and practicing in front of a mirror. What you might not have considered is the importance of also preparing for the worst.
According to The Muse, it’s helpful to consider your biggest fear, and then try to come up with an answer for it. Proactive thinking—like coming prepared with floss for that errant piece of spinach you notice in your teeth right before you walk into the building—will help you rest assured that no matter what happens during the interview, you can handle it with aplomb.
Prepare the Details
Figuring out advance logistics and timing for your arrival at the interview venue (or online) is critical to your candidacy and can calm your nerves. Don’t underestimate how long it could take to navigate on foot from the parking lot of a large corporation, for example, up elevators to the reception desk.
For a remote interview, test all of your equipment beforehand. Download any video software needed, and do a run-through so you feel confident using the program. Consider the quality of your webcam and microphone. Pay attention to the view behind you—is it messy? Will anyone in the house potentially interrupt you? Getting everything in order will help to calm your nerves before the interview.
It’s no secret that physical activity can help lower stress levels. Use this to your advantage leading up to an interview. Simply going for a walk, taking your bike around the block, or spending 10 minutes stretching can get your endorphins going, leading to a better mood.
Consider getting busy around the house as well. Get off the couch and clean the house, run the laundry, or pull some weeds in the garden. All of these can get your blood pumping and provide a distraction and relief from your nerves.
Meditation and relaxation techniques can promote clarity and calm a racing heart. Meditation apps, such as Headspace or Calm, make it easy by providing quick guided meditation sessions. YouTube is also chock-full of meditation videos that can take your mind off your interview, too.
Deep breathing can also be particularly useful and can be done from anywhere. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a common method recommended. You breathe in for four seconds, hold it for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds.
Music is also a relaxation tool. According to a study done by UK neuroscientists, participants had a 65% reduction in overall anxiety when listening to one particular song. The song, “Weightless,” was created in collaboration with sound therapists and is “carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines help slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”
Create your own playlist to put you in a more zen-like state before your interview.
Sometimes we need a distraction to take our mind away from our job interview anxiety. Try watching funny videos or memes, a clip from your favorite stand-up comedian, or your favorite TV show.
Getting a good laugh in can relax you by slowing down your stress response and decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure.
Eat the Right Food
When you’re under stress, it can be easy to either lose your appetite or overeat.
But those nerves can cause food to interact with your body differently than they usually do. That cup of coffee may give you the jitters, or that burger may upset your stomach. Focus on eating normally and even kicking up your healthy food intake.
Change Your Mindset
It can be easy to see your interviewer as intimidating, or even as the enemy. Sometimes a simple mindset change can calm your nerves before an interview.
Think of your interview as what it really is: a conversation. A meeting between two people to talk about a role. View the interview as a chance for you to see if it’s a good fit for you. Yes, you want to impress and get the job, but focusing on what the job can do for you may relax you and take the pressure off.
And don’t forget that your interviewer may be just as nervous as you are. People are people, and being in a position of authority doesn’t mean your interviewer will be unfriendly and unnecessarily tough. See your interviewer as your equal and look forward to having a pleasant conversation.
Consider the Worst
If you make a mistake, if you say the wrong thing, if don’t get the job…what is the worst thing that will happen? You’ll continue job searching. Remember that there are other jobs out there, and this is not the end all be all.
Walk your mind through what will happen if you don’t get the job, and realize that it’s not as bad as you think. It can be easy to build up scenarios, which will only increase job interview anxiety.
Get Interview Help from an Expert
Interviews are almost always stressful for everyone, so acknowledging that fact and finding a way to work with that stress will help you move past it.
If you want additional help to alleviate your job interview stress, we have you covered. FlexJobs offers one-on-one online career coaching where one of our in-house advisors can answer questions, provide resume and cover letter feedback, and more.
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com
A version of this article was published on October 3, 2017.
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Robin Madell, Corporate/Executive Writer
Robin Madell has spent over two decades as a corporate writer, journalist, and communications consultant on business, leadership, career, health, finance, technology, and public-interest issues. She is a contributor to the On Careers section of U.S. News & World Report…Read More >
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