And What To Do When They Happen
We’ve all been there. You’re sitting in a waiting area, waiting to be called into an office for your job interview, and suddenly, butterflies are unleashed in your stomach, twisting it into knots, making you want to run to the bathroom and be sick instead of walking through the door to greet the interviewer. Sound familiar?
Almost everyone gets nervous before a job interview. It is completely normal to feel anxious when a lot is on the line and your future career depends on how the next hour of conversation goes. Managing your jitters is a highly important skill to have in order to not screw up the interview, and to minimize your stress before and after it happens. We can’t always prevent pre-interview anxiety, so the most important thing is to learn not just how to avoid it, but also how to manage it.
Doing your research before an interview is one of the best ways to prevent the jitters and nerves from acting up in the first place. The more you know about the company you’re interviewing with, the more you’ll be prepared to answer the tough interview questions. Knowing specific details about the company and position makes you appear much more interested to the interviewer, increasing your chances of getting a callback. Reading through commonly asked questions and thinking of responses can also help you from freezing up when you’re asked tricky personal questions. Remembering your achievements will also make you feel more confident.
Get a good night’s sleep, and don’t overdo the caffeine in the morning
Even for people who consume a lot on a regular basis, drinking tons of coffee or caffeinated beverages before an interview can exacerbate the nervousness you’re already feeling. These feelings compound in your brain, and can make you physically tremor slightly, making you more anxious, leading to more jitters. This is a dangerous cycle and can be damaging to your interview performance, so if you can, wait to have that venti Starbucks latte until AFTER your time in the hot seat. Just imagine how good this “after coffee” will taste.
Going for a morning run, taking a kickboxing class, doing some meditative yoga, anything that gets your blood flowing and your heart rate up in a healthy, productive way can be a great way to combat stress and boost your confidence before heading into an interview. Some studies indicate that exercise can be just as effective as medication in managing anxiety, so sweating it out on the day of an interview is extra important. Don’t forget to take a few deep breaths before entering the interview!
Practice in front of a mirror
It might sound (and feel) funny but it’s a proven method. Look at yourself while answering common interview questions. Critique yourself, pretend you are HR and evaluate each answer carefully. Does your body language suggest you’re nervous? Sit up straight and stop fidgeting. Are you stumbling over your responses or struggling to come up with fluid, articulate answers? Pause and think out carefully about how to respond, and take your time instead of trying to blurt out the “right” answer as quickly as possible. Appearing nervous does not inspire a hiring manager to pick you, so try your best to correct any signals that you give off that suggest you are anxious during the interview. You might also want to consider writing your answers down, and reading them a couple of times.
Change your attitude
Don’t forget that a job interview is also your opportunity to see if you like the company and would want to work there. You’re gathering information about them as much as they are about you. Having the attitude of “Would this place be a good fit for me? Do I even want to work here?” can give you a confidence boost instead of asking yourself “Do they like me? Am I qualified for this job?” or other questions that put you down. Remember that you have a lot to offer, and it’s a two-way street.
During the interview when the jitters start, do everything you can to remain calm. Speaking slowly and taking a moment to ponder a response so that you don’t stumble, is a great way to slow down the adrenaline rush and keep the jitters at bay. The interviewer shouldn’t be rushing you, and it’s okay to take a few extra seconds before you start responding. Taking this time to articulate a proper answer is better than stumbling through a disjointed response.
Anxiety during an interview is very common and affects everyone differently. It’s important to appear relaxed despite these nerves, and realize that it’s not a life or death scenario. Remember that the person conducting the interview is looking for your best traits, not examining all your flaws. It should be a fun opportunity to showcase your skills and abilities. Attitude is incredibly important and can go a long way in the interview room.
It’s your chance to shine! Need some help with getting ready for your next interview? ↓