Overcome Interview Anxiety With These 4 Tips
Many things make us nervous — new hobbies, public speaking, meeting new people — not the least of which is job interviews.
While most of us would like to leave everything at home and just present our best selves, it’s completely natural to feel stress from outside pressures. Maybe you’re trying to remember your massive to-do list for the day, or your child was sick and you spent all morning trying to get a sitter. Maybe you’ve been out of work longer than you expected, and you really need this job to make ends meet.
Whatever’s going on in your life can set your mind ablaze when you find yourself in a high-stakes, high-pressure interview. But the good news is: you can beat the heat!
Here are 4 of the top tips for overcoming interview anxiety (or any situational anxiety) with ease and excellence!
1. Seek Out A Support System
In a day and age where so much communication is done remotely online, it’s easy to feel untethered to real human communication. But without building actual relationships, on a screen or in person, you risk taking on too much single handedly.
It is perfectly normal to have anxieties and apprehensions, especially about something as life-changing as a new job. But you don’t have to go it alone! Reach out to friends and family to talk about how you feel.
Sometimes, they’ll be able to offer helpful advice. But a good listener can help by just listening to you pour out your heavy thoughts and help you take some of the weight off. Sharing your experiences helps put them in perspective — you’ll be surprised how manageable your loudest thoughts become when you just say them out loud.
You can also use this approach to build your network. Do you have any contacts at the company you’re applying to? Maybe a friend of a friend, or an acquaintance on LinkedIn? Maybe an ex-employee, or someone who works in a similar position in the same industry? Talk to them! More than likely they had to deal with the same nerves during their onboarding, and can help you understand what you’re actually walking into, instead of letting your imagination run wild with worst case scenarios.
Who’s in your support system?
2. Believe In Yourself
While at first this might sound like a cliché motivational poster, the truth is that genuine self-confidence works miracles.
Any great actor will tell you they don’t just pretend and fake their emotions on stage; the best performers pull up real emotions to make their acting believable and heartfelt. The same goes for professional talent! If you don’t really feel you’re the best person for the job, your employer won’t suspend their disbelief for you.
Part of this means not letting small setbacks and perceived failures dampen your spirit. When things don’t go according to plan, or you stumble on the road to success, you need to keep a positive, confident outlook on life. Focus on what went well, how you will improve, and, above all: believe that it will get better, because you deserve it and have what it takes to make it happen!
How do you craft your confidence?
3. Say Positive Things With Your Body Language
You’ll probably rehearse your answers to common interview questions before the big day. But what you say isn’t always as important as how you say it.
Your body language, even on a video call, speaks volumes about your personality, and whether you have that confidence we mentioned earlier. It’s also one of the ways that recruiters subconsciously decide if you’re a good fit for the company culture.
Keep your posture correct, and relaxed. Practice stretching or yoga to help you be more aware of your positioning. Not only does this help you appear more put together, it has the added bonus of tricking your brain into being more alert. That starts a feedback loop between your body and your brain, where the confidence and poise of one feeds into the other and vice versa.
How do you practice positive posture?
4. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Even the best natural talents improve with practice! So why not practice for your interview?
Working out the kinks by doing mock interviews with employment counselors or other professionals will not only help you improve your interview skills, it will also help acclimate you to the interview environment. This means that you’ll get better, but also feel more natural and less stressed by the situation at hand.
You can even consider going for interviews for jobs you’re less interested in before you finally go for the big one you’ve been really hoping for. Having a few under your belt means the confidence starts to stack up, and recruiters will sense immediately that you’ve come prepared to give it your all.
How do you practice for an interview?
If you’ve landed an interview, no one is going to hold it against you if you’re a little nervous. But with these tips in your toolkit, you can turn those nerves into excitement. Confidence is key, so trust in yourself and focus on the positive; you’ve already made it this far, so with a bit of determination you know you can make it across the finish line!