Barely can you meet anyone who doesn’t get nervous before a very important job interview. When a lot is at stake or there are “better” people competing with you for the same post, it is not a surprise that one would often become anxious.
Feeling anxious about an important interview is a sign that you really want to do well. Your anxiety can actually motivate you to be better prepared, provide you with energy etc. But, most dangerously anxiety can also keep you from doing your best by distracting you or making you forgetful. Below are some quick tips for dealing with (or calming) your anxiety and maybe even taking advantage of it:
- Mind what you eat or drink prior to the job interview. It might not be widespread information, but avoid caffeine before the interview. It’s also not a good idea to have an alcoholic drink before an interview, even if you think it will make you confident. Eat something light before your interview so your stomach isn’t growling. Eat moderately to avoid tiredness. (And make sure you check a mirror for any leftover noodle hanging down your mouth!)
- Don’t “force” yourself to calm down. Forcing yourself to calm down will rather increase your stress. Allow it come natural. The best way in fact to do this is too not pay attention to the fact that you are anxious!
- Prepare the best you can. You can’t always control what you will be asked or what will happen in the interview, but you can control how you prepare for it (Check out “tips for successful job interview”). Use your anxiety to motivate yourself to prepare. Practice the proper responses to interview questions, practice your handshake, practice telling powerful stories about your skills, etc. The more prepared and knowledgeable you are about your potential employer, the less likely it is for you to be stressed and better you are likely to perform in the interview.
- Pray to God. He will always help you through the anxious moments. It works.
- Question your thoughts. Ask yourself: “Is this true?” Don’t forget, just because you feel it doesn’t mean it is true. Try to dispute your emotional thoughts with logic. Try changing your thinking to change your feeling.
- Take a deep breath. When you’re anxious, your breathing gets shallow. Try breathing in for a count of 4, hold for 2, and breathe out for a count of 4. Then continue doing this for a minute or two. You can usually practice breathing anywhere (like the waiting area before your interview); no one will likely notice it.
- Try Sighing. Sometimes it can be hard to breathe deeply when you’re stressed, so try sighing instead. Take a breath and let it out like a sigh.
- Assume the super-hero posture: it’s a power-pose and the opposite of anxiety. Stand tall and place your hands on your hips with your elbows jutting out, like you’re standing on top of world and observing everything in your domain. Remember, you’re in charge of the world.
- Practice self-compassion. Focus on these words: Wisdom. Strength. Warmth. Non-judgment. Repeat them to yourself while you breathe. Try not to critique yourself as you go through the process. Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a good friend.
- Get outside of yourself. Anxiety causes us to become very self-centered and self-focused. Make a point of focusing on others and being empathic. Greet the receptionist at the interview site. Ask your interviewer how their day is going. Pay attention when someone tells you their name, and make an effort to remember it. Smile. Engage with others.
You will most likely experience a certain amount of anxiety at an interview, that’s not necessarily bad. But if it is debilitating or keeps you from moving forward in the job search, seek professional help. If this has been helpful, drop your comment in the comment box below. We’ll like to know how you feel now!