Anxiety can be more than just pre-interview nerves, it can be something you are having to deal with every day and sometimes, it can make interviews seem like a really difficult task. “Anxiety is a type of fear usually associated with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future.” – Mentalhealth.org.uk. It’s important to know that you’re not alone in this, job interviews are something that unintentionally cause anxiety to rise in a lot of job seekers. There are some things you can be doing before a job interview to try and ease the effects of anxiety. It’s important to say that we are not experts in this field, I am simply talking from experience and what has helped me and people I know with this issue in the past.
Treat yourself well
When we get busy, it can be very easy to stop giving ourselves and our body the respect it deserves. However, if you have a job interview in the near future and you can feel yourself becoming worried about it, take some time to slow down at the end of each day. For some it is easier said than done, but you should try and make sleep a number one priority. You want to make sure you are well rested, so each night, for a week before your interview (so you become accustomed to it) make sure you are putting down your phone before bed and doing something that keeps you calm. This could be reading, watching nature documentaries or even light exercise. Whatever helps your body feel rested and ready for bed.
The morning of your interview should feel just as calm. You want to have done everything the night before so this time can be spent having a healthy breakfast and getting yourself ready. You can’t prevent every problem but being prepared is a way to stop preventable problems occurring. It might also be a good idea for you to skip the caffeine in the morning, it can often make you feel jittery and on-edge. Might be a good idea to find a new drink of choice. You want to keep the calm feeling throughout the day.
Being well prepared
Being prepared can help you feel a lot calmer when it comes to your interview. Researching the company, preparing answers and preparing questions can help your level of comfort. Doing this can take away some elements of surprise and can help anxiety levels decrease. I have some experience in overpreparing and whilst it feels like you’re doing the right thing at the time, overloading your head with too much information can leave you feeling a little flustered. You may think that there is a lot to learn but remember that it’s about preparing yourself and not about memorising every single detail. Reciting from memory can lead you to feel overwhelmed and stressed, our minds are not made to remember every single little detail, it’s not a realistic expectation to place upon yourself. Try and focus on the important things and if needed, have little prompts to hand. You can have your CV and cover letter with you in the interview, so you can use this as a guide. It takes some strain off of you and can help you feel more at ease.
The night before the interview, you want to make sure you have all of your required documents placed together. These documents might include your CV, cover letter, business cards and any qualifications that the employer has asked you to bring along. Having it ready will help you feel less rushed in the morning. If helpful, make a list and you can check it off as you go, helping you feel at ease and insuring you have everything of importance.
I understand that this one may seem a bit cliché, but the power of positive thought is really important. Don’t put yourself down before you have even attended the interview. It’s these kind of thoughts that take over and dominate our mindset. Try and visualise success instead of failure, again, this is another statement that can seem easier said than done, but it is always worth a try. You applied for this job for a reason, there was a point before you clicked that apply button where you thought you could do it. Try and find that feeling again and go with it.
Try not to succumb to the pressure
Some interviewers like to see how you do under pressure. It’s nothing personal, it might just be their interviewing technique, or they may have been instructed to ask you certain questions or ask you to carry out a task. It can be here at this stage, that panic can take over. You should take a second and remember that you have come prepared and there is no challenge you can’t overcome. Thinking positive is going to be really important here, trust in your ability and believe what your CV says. You have given the employer reason to believe that you are eligible for this job, otherwise they wouldn’t have invited you. This is just your time to show them what you are capable of. You are not being interrogated, it is a two-way street, asking your questions can help the interview feel more like a conversation. Make sure you are getting them to answer questions as well, this can really help relieve some pressure and help you feel like you have some more control over the situation.
Take your time
Sometimes, the pressure of time can be a big factor in how anxious you feel in an interview. However, remember that you are not on the clock, you can answer questions and complete tasks in your own time. If you rush, you can make mistakes. Negative thoughts in your mind can cause you to rush, it’s instinct to get yourself out of situations that make you feel uncomfortable. If you can feel yourself rushing or talking too fast, take a second, breathe and carry on. Sometimes, we just need a second to compose ourselves and carry on. Interviewers are going to be aware that some people might be nervous, they should never rush you or cause unnecessary pressure.
Interviews and job searching can cause anxiety, especially if you are new to it. Everyone will have different reactions and different ways of coping with it. The things above have helped me and others in interview situations, but you do whatever makes you feel comfortable. It can take some time before you begin to feel calmer in these situations, but it’s all about practice. I can’t promise that the anxious feelings will ever disappear, but you can certainly try and control them. Take your time and tailor your job experience to you.