How To Defeat Your Interview Anxiety

 Image Credit: StockSnap Matthew Henry

Image Credit: StockSnap Matthew Henry

Interview nerves - it’s something that we’ve all experienced. Maybe yours was expressed with sweaty palms, an increased heart rate, or the reemergence of every nervous habit you have ever exhibited. Although interview nerves are natural and can even be useful sometimes, most of the time they are a massive pain to deal with, and can even leave a negative impression on the interviewer. To ease your anxiety surrounding your next potential interview, I will outline various steps that will help you manage your anxiety, and channel it towards making a great first impression on your potential employer. 

Step 1 Prepare For The Interview:
A common reason why people panic before interviews is because they don’t know how they are expected to perform. If you are one of these people, the best way to squash your pre-interview anxiety would be to prepare for your interview a couple of days in advance. This way you will know exactly what you are expected to do before you are thrown into the lion’s den. Start by preparing some answers for the likely questions your interviewer will ask.  Consistency is important. Look up the most common questions asked during interviews, and prepare answers for those. Next, set up a practice interview situation. Ask a friend or family member to act as the interviewer, and dress, act, and speak, exactly as you would if it were a real interview. This will give you more confidence during your real interview, as you will already know how to perform, and how to answer the questions. Another benefit of this exercise is that your chosen ‘interviewer’ can comment on what you did right and wrong, so you can correct your mistakes before the real deal.

Step 2 Manage Your Anxiety:
The day of your interview will probably be when the full force of pre-interview anxiety hits you. That’s why its vital that you have an arsenal of different ways to fight the anxiety before you arrive at your interview. Start by making sure you arrive well ahead of time - aim for at least 15 minutes before - you don’t want the additional stress of being late on top of your pre-interview anxiety. When we’re anxious, our heart-rate spikes, causing our breathing to quicken. A natural and easy way to calm yourself down is by practicing slow, deep, and measured breathing. If you arrived early, it can be easy to do nothing, but sit still and psych yourself out. Think ahead, and bring along any of your music devices and listen to some of your favorite music. (Double points for anything that makes you feel brave and motivated!) While you’re listening to your music (or not), try a spot of creative visualization. It doesn’t matter if you identify yourself as a positive person or not, there’s absolutely no point in believing that the worst is going to happen.  Instead visualize about how you’re going to walk in, charm your interviewer, and answer all of their questions flawlessly.

Step 3 Body Language Is Key:
With the help of the steps outlined above, you should feel a lot more prepared for your interview, and in control of your anxiety. However, if you feel that you need a boost of confidence, and need to further lower your feelings of anxiety and fear, then practice some positive body language. It is a well-known fact that body language plays an important role in how you feel, so it is important to practice confident body language in order to feel more confident. Start by sitting in a confident but relaxed posture, keeping your body and head relaxed, but upright. Then remove any folders or notes from your chest and stomach area, (and uncrossing your arms) this will help you feel more open and trusting. Finally, remember that you cannot feel charming and confident without a smile!  Putting on a smile similar to when you look at something funny on your phone should do the trick. A smile will have a positive impression on the interviewer, as it suggests that you are happy, positive, and confident. 

Interviews are a pretty nerve-racking experience for nearly everyone. But if you prepare in advance and manage your pre-interview anxiety, as well as project confidence and calm, then there will be many more exciting, new job prospects on your horizon!