You’ve applied, submitted your resume, and heard back from the company. The one thing standing between you and the job is the interview. When the time comes to sit before the interviewer and answer their questions, as a wave of interview anxiety hits you, you begin to struggle to respond to even the most basic questions lobbed your way. When dealing with interview anxiety, it can be nearly impossible to perform your best and illustrate yourself as the best possible candidate for the job. But fret not, nearly everyone deals with some level of interview anxiety. The trick is, however, that there are strategies to help you quell your interview anxiety and allow you to perform at your best.
Before you even begin looking for jobs to apply to, try to gain some interview experience in a more low-stakes environment. Many clubs, organizations, and even the University’s Career Services office offer mock interviews that allow you to practice answering real interview questions while allowing for mistakes to be made and constructive feedback to be given. An additional opportunity to practice being in a type of interview situation is through an informational interview. Informational interviews are set up with a working professional to gain insight about their job and company. While it’s not an identical set up to a true interview, it does allow you to begin feeling more comfortable in a professional environment. Finally, apply for some entry-level or minimum wage jobs during college. Not only is it beneficial to be able to make money while in college, most of these jobs include an interview that will help you get used to the format of an interview. As these jobs are intended for those new to the workforce, the interviewer will be more understanding of mistakes that are made. By having experience with interviewing and professional environments, you will feel more comfortable when walking into an interview.
Have Answers and Anecdotes Prepared
Questions like “What are your greatest weaknesses?” and “Why should we hire you?” are almost guaranteed to be asked during an interview. These common interview questions are not a secret and can be found by simply typing “common interview questions” into Google. Preparing answers for basic interview questions will allow you to have confidence in answering them succinctly and in the way that best represents you. Additionally, having anecdotal examples to help answer your questions is an important part of preparing answers in advance. Discussing a time when you showed leadership is more compelling than just saying you are a good leader. By preparing anecdotal evidence and responses to common questions, you will be less likely to feel nervous and struggle when answering questions.
Apply for Several Positions
The saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” really rings true when attempting to reduce interview anxiety. If you have put all your hope into getting a particular job, you will inadvertently create extra stress to perform well. By having other opportunities on your radar, you will divert some of that stress, which in turn, allows you to perform better overall. Additionally, you never really know if a position is a good fit for you until you have a chance to interview and learn more about it. If you interview for many jobs, you might realize your “dream job” wasn’t a good fit and that your true dream job was one you might’ve overlooked by not expanding your search. By applying for several positions, you will feel less pressure during one particular interview.
Give Yourself Time to Breathe
When given a question during an interview, you don’t need to answer it immediately. In fact, this may be detrimental to your performance as you aren’t able to properly compose a concise answer. You may start rambling and accidentally say something you’d wish you hadn’t. Take a deep breath, inhaling good energy and exhaling nerves, before you begin to answer. This gives you time to gather your thoughts and quell any remaining nerves. By taking a short pause before answering the question and focusing on breathing, you will be able to minimize nerves and answer the question confidently.
Interview anxiety is something that many people struggle with, but it doesn’t have to be something detrimental to your job interview. By using these tips, hopefully, you will be able to regain control over your nerves and present your best self to the interviewer. Also, don’t forget to dress to impress! When you look good, you’ll feel good, which provides the extra boost of confidence you might still need.