How To Conquer Interview Anxiety

Chelsea Lawler

For many individuals, including myself, have intense anxiety when it comes to job interviews. Will you give the appropriate responses? Do I look terrible in this dress? Why is the interviewer pausing so long between questions? Does the interviewer hate me? These are some of the questions that may come to mind when you are at your job interview. The stakes are indeed high, but if you are personable, professional, and calm, you could potentially land the job. Your performance and potential future at the company will be in the hands of the interviewer. No pressure, right? Anxiety can turn into fear, which can ultimately stop you from achieving your goals. How do I know this can happen? It has happened to me! So, what do we do about interview anxiety? We will discuss the various ways to overcome interview anxiety, which will help both you and me, in crushing those nervous feelings. We can do it!

Interview anxiety can truly ruin your performance within the interview. You may be so nervous that your mind goes blank, you start to sweat profusely, or maybe ramble on and on. While it is absolutely natural to be a little nervous for your interview, you do not want to distract the interviewer with your nervous habits.

Tips for Acing Your Interview

The utmost important tip is:

Be Prepared!

Preparation is key in combating interview anxiety. Do your research on the company and ask a friend to help you with potential interview questions. Do not practice the questions once and be done with preparation. Formulate and practice your responses. This will help alleviate some anxiety because you know what you are going to say during your interview, if asked. Additionally, scoping out the interview location a few days prior to your interview is a smart idea. This will make you feel comfortable if you are unfamiliar with the area and avoid any opportunity for being late to the interview. Give yourself extra time to get to the location. When I prepared extensively for my interviews, I was successful and less nervous, and I know you will be too! PRACTICE! Preparation and practice equals confidence in your abilities to perform.

Show ‘Em What You Are All About!

Positivity and enthusiasm go a long way in an interview. If you are negative about the impending job interview, you will walk into the interview with a negative attitude. Do NOT do that! Show the interviewer your positive strengths, skills, and accomplishments. Feeling positive about your abilities will only make you feel incredibly confident for the interview! A tip from me to you is to pump yourself up by listening to your favorite, upbeat song on your music player, prior to your interview (do this in your car). Give yourself a pep talk! YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU WILL DO THIS!

Do Not Show Your Anxiety

I know this will be a difficult area to achieve. Listen, you can do this! I know you really want the job, but please remember this may be one of many opportunities for you. It is NOT the end of the world if you say the wrong thing or do not land a second interview. Do NOT get hung up on the idea that you are desperate for the job. It is necessary that you impress the interviewer with your enthusiasm, but not your overabundance of destitution. Highlight your qualifications, crack a smile, and remember, no matter what happens, treat this interview as a learning experience. Be sure to project your confidence and preparation to the interviewer! REMEMBER: You are at the interview because of your impressive résumé and because you made a positive impression on the interviewer! Remember that positive thought!

Relaxation/Confidence Boosting Techniques

1. Posing Powerfully
This may seem silly, but performing a power pose prior to your interview may help boost your confidence. What is a power pose? A power pose, such as standing tall with your hands on your hips (think of Superman or Wonder Woman), will help alleviate stress and improve confidence. Try this at home, in private!

2. Visualize a Successful Interview
If you can envision yourself in the interview room and making a positive first impression, you will feel confident the day of the interview. Visualization may calm your anxiety while focusing on a positive outcome.

3. Breathe!
The simplest form of anxiety relief is to learn a few breathing techniques. Relax, pause, and take a deep breath before you go into your interview. If you are anxious, you will notice your breathing will be quick and shallow, which may affect your voice when speaking. By taking a deep breath and collecting your thoughts you will able to focus and properly formulate your thoughts.

4. Take Your Time With Your Responses
It is important to pace yourself in your responses to the interviewer. Talking too fast will speed up your responses, which may sabotage your answers. Slow down, take some time to collect your thoughts, and give a thoughtful response. Do not feel the need to fill pauses or silences with gibberish. The interviewer understands that you will be pausing and thinking of a genuine response. If your nerves get the best of you and you need some time to respond, you can use the following statement: “What a wonderful question. I just need a short moment to decide on the best example to share with you.” Remember not to take too long to collect your thoughts. Even if you do not know every answer to each question, it is important to redirect the question towards an area you have knowledge in. Carefully redirecting a response is important when you have a difficult question to answer. Focus on your strengths and be sure to end the tricky question on a positive note.

Interview anxiety can truly ruin your performance within the interview. You may be so nervous that your mind goes blank, you start to sweat profusely, or maybe ramble on and on. While it is absolutely natural to be a little nervous for your interview, you do not want to distract the interviewer with your nervous habits. Highlight your qualifications, crack a smile, and remember, no matter what happens, treat this interview as a learning experience. Follow the above techniques to help alleviate any anxiety or fears you may have prior or during your interview. Be sure to project your confidence and preparation to the interviewer! DO NOT FORGET: You are at the interview because of your impressive resume and because you made a positive impression on the interviewer!

About The Author

Chelsea Lawler

Chelsea Lawler is a recent graduate of Philadelphia University with her Master of Science degree in Fashion Apparel Studies. She graduated from Mount Aloysius College in 2010 with her Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Chelsea enjoys running her small jewelry business for vintage clothing, and traveling. With her writing at Career Igniter, she hopes to educate both students and job seekers on the various facets of the job hunting process.

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