Job Interview Anxiety
I was first interviewed in 1988 and have supported thousands of clients through their own, but I can still relate to the simultaneous elation and terror they bring.
Job interviews are just, well weird situations when you think about it. When else would you have a conversation where you are asked constant questions by strangers and mostly talk about yourself without asking about the other person. No wonder you may be feeling interview anxiety.
Proper, Prior, Planning, Prevents, Poor, Performance and all that…
Well yes, you need the traditional interview prep, but I cover that in Interview Prep 101. Plus, I have written other blogs covering questions candidates find most challenging. But none of that preparation will completely alleviate interview anxiety and if you are anxious and uncomfortable the interviewer will be too. In that scenario amazing knowledge, skills and qualities aren't going to shine through.
What else can you do in the face of this fear?
To stop nerves hindering all your preparation and greatness shining through, here are some techniques I’ve tried and tested with clients over the years.
- Slow breaths and remind yourself that you would NOT be invited to interview if you couldn’t do this job. You don’t know if interviewers have you in mind as a pretty sure bet or as a bit more of a wild card. But, they don’t waste time interviewing if you haven’t impressed them somehow.
- Yawn and stretch. What? Yes really! Slow breaths help (and are more acceptable in the actual interview) but some research shows that a long yawn done slowly and mindfully (fake is fine) will interrupt worry circuits in the brain. How cool is that!!
- Read my blog on being mindful in the interview to reduce your physiological fear responses. Practice this awareness.
- Re-frame and relabel 'interview anxiety' as 'excited anticipation'. Physiologically they are the same it is just our interpretation that changes.
- When you’re are thinking about the job interview check your posture. Check right now – I bet even the thought of it is creating some tension in your body and you might have made yourself ‘smaller’. Change your posture to one reflecting calm, interest and confidence. Weirdly you can change the physical and the mental follows. Do this during prep and on the day.
- Write down everything positive anyone has ever said about you and keep that list close. Put notes around as reminders. NO positive affirmations you don’t believe.
- Go to the job interview as if it is your first day on the job. This mindset shift can make all the difference. A bit of nerves and excitement as you still want to impress. But, you will feel and look ready, keen to belong and like you deserve to be there – which you do! This shift can impact on you (taking in more information and asking better questions) and the interviewer (feeling already confident in choosing you). It’s subtle but one of my most popular strategies for interview anxiety.
- Now LET GO of the outcome. You cannot control: your competition, what the interviewer(s) decide nor what else might be going on in that team or organisation, so let those go. Whether you get picked is not all on your shoulders.
If you don’t get a job offer, of course review and get feedback but don’t take it too personally. Focus on being the best you can on the day delivering what you wanted to deliver. You won’t achieve perfection so focus on progress. That is interview success and if in this case you weren’t chosen by that interview, you move on until you find your match. Be kind to yourself, don't take it all too seriously, have a laugh and know that everyone else has been imperfect too. Reading 'Job Interview Gaffs' others have made might help.
For help reviewing feedback and with every step of preparation, purchase my tailored interview preparation package.