Does the mere mention of a job interview make you feel anxious? You’re not alone. A research study found that 92% of U.S. adults are anxious about job interviews and 17% ranked fear of nervousness as their top concern. While some interview anxiety may actually help you by increasing your energy level and alertness, anxiety can also affect your memory and distract you, adversely impacting your interview performance. Interviews are here to stay, so it’s important to work on reducing the anxiety in order to do your best.
Five ways to help reduce your interview anxiety
Tip #1 – Be Prepared
Research the company ahead of time and prepare answers to common interview questions. Practice your SOAR (Situation-Obstacle-Action-Result) stories. Do a mock interview with a friend or a mental dress rehearsal with yourself. Allow extra time to get to the interview and know where you’re going. Being prepared will give you the confidence needed to do well.
Tip #2 – Control Your Thoughts
Make a list of what is going through your mind. Writing down your thoughts is proven to be a therapeutic technique to reduce anxiety. Question those negative thoughts and remember, just because you think it, does not mean it’s true. Try to stay away from unhelpful thinking styles that can increase your anxiety.
Tip #3 – Practice Your Breathing
Try some breathing techniques to release some stress. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 2, then breathe out for 4 and repeat for a few minutes. Practice this while you’re waiting or en route to the interview. If you do it right no one will notice and it will ease your anxiety. A big sigh will also help you relax.
Tip #4 – Strike a Power-Pose of Confidence
Before you leave the house, assume the super-hero posture. Stand up tall with your hands on your hips as if you are on the top of the world and in charge. Author, Amy Cuddy explains how our posture and body language affects how others view us, as well as how we view ourselves, so stand tall and proud.
Tip #5 – Use Calming Techniques
Try watching some funny videos or listen to your favorite music to calm your nerves prior to the interview. Give yourself a pep talk about how awesome you are. Imagine the worst that can happen and then you will be prepared for anything. Take the focus off yourself – smile and greet those at the interview site and ask about their day.
Interview anxiety is difficult to eliminate, however, there are ways to help reduce it to ensure that you perform at your best. For more information, read 10 Ways to Calm Your Interview Anxiety, 5 stress-relief exercises that will calm your interview anxiety, and Tips to Cope with Job Interview Anxiety.