No matter the number of job interviews you have attended in the past, you will still experience interview stress. Job interviews and their preparations can be tough. The pressure that comes with it can even reduce one’s chances of getting the dream job.
According to psychology, a little bit of stress can sometimes be beneficial as it can help sharpens one’s mind and focus. However, if you are overstressed or allow the stress to consume you, you would end up performing poorly in your interview.
The major key in acing your job interview is to manage your stress level. You can only achieve this when you bring your anxiety under control rather than allow it to control you. Here we will consider the strategies that would help us reduce stress or eliminate it so we can take charge of our interview sessions.
Steps you can take to reduce job interview stress
Below we discuss a couple of steps that you can take to reduce your job interview stress before your interview. Remember, preparation is key!
Don’t go in unprepared
You should ensure that you prepare yourself for the interview to avoid unpleasant surprises. This would go a long way to reduce the stress you could have felt with the interview. You should be able to identify your skills and strengths, starting from the most relevant of them to the least relevant. Make sure you are kept posted about all information concerning the interview starting from the interview date to the venue, so you don’t go running helter-skelter on that day.
Get yourself set to be punctual
Going late to an appointment as important as an interview could put someone through undue stress. Imagine waking up late only to realize that you have an interview by 9 a.m., and it is already 8:45 a.m. At that point, you see your adrenaline get active. You try doing two different things at the same time just to meet up, and even while on the road to the interview center, your mind is still not at rest as you keep wondering if the interview has started. Even if you are not disqualified, this could end up destabilizing your day. To avoid this scenario, you should make the necessary preparations to leave your home early and arrive at your interview center on time. Set the alarm if you have to.
Arrange your portfolio
Get your files ready, so you don’t forget any important documents, such as copies of your resume. Anxiety could set in when you get there and realize other candidates all came with a particular document, and you are the only one left out. Also, make sure you can give the interviewer a strong resume walkthrough.
Research or enquire about the company
This is a must-do for all interviews. How do you even attend an interview without having a major insight into the company you are applying for? You should do your background check well; know what the company stands for and what it represents. You should also try to find out the skills and qualities they need from their workers.
Practice to gain more confidence
Stress usually comes into the picture when one is not confident. You gain confidence only when you are assured that you know, and you get to know when you practice. In every area of life, practice makes for perfection. If you practice with the likely interview questions, you get comfortable answering them with much ease. If you are the type that is afraid of speaking in the public or usually feels tensed to do so, practice is still the key to deal with the nervousness. Ask your friends, advisers, and even mentors to run you through interview questions while you respond to them as if you were in a normal interview.
Deal with the fact that you have a competition
You definitely won’t be the only one shortlisted for the interview. Other candidates must have been found to be as qualified as you are. This, however, should not be of concern to you. Thinking about them will only end up distracting you from your main goal, which is to go there and perform your best. Be friendly with them, and stay focused on your own performance. In that way, you don’t give in to unnecessary stress.
Remember to take a deep breathe when a wacky question comes along
Don’t let anyone or anything, not even the interviewers or their questions give you unnecessary questions. You could encounter a sort of question that seems to throw you off balance, take a breath, take a sip of water if you have to while you regain your composure. You can politely ask them to repeat the question or rephrase the question.
Use visual imagery to get the anxiety off your mind
Rather than reflect on how scary interviews can be, imagine it being a success. Take your mind off it, if you can. Think of pleasant things. Conjure up pleasant episodes, scenarios, and events in your mind. Your mind only feeds on what you present to it; it cannot tell between reality and imagination.
Think positive, not negative!
We usually feel stressed when we think negativities or assume things are going to end badly. Sometimes stress from interviews goes way beyond the interview itself. It could come as a result of thinking of the aftermath of the interview if we don’t get hired. That is when you see one thinking of how they will fend for their families if they are not hired. Now, this is not the interview itself stressing such person out; it is the negative thoughts.
You should try to rid yourself of negative thinking. There is power in positive thinking in that even if it doesn’t land you that job; it grants you peace and solitude.
Bring down its value
This strategy works well for the mind. When you think highly of something or a situation, it magnifies itself in your life. In the same vein, if you think too highly of the interview you are preparing for, it tends to pose a major source of anxiety to you. This doesn’t mean you become nonchalant about it, and it certainly doesn’t make the interview less important than it is. It only means you refuse to think so much about it that it bothers you and stresses you out.
You could compare the interview with other bigger events in your life that are now past. You scaled those; likewise, you are going to scale this interview. Instead of thinking it as ‘omnipotent,’ see it as a fun activity, an exciting opportunity to get to meet new people and possibly expand your network.
Focus on positive thoughts
Even if your negative thoughts are realistic and seem through, you can face them, challenge them, and make them go away. Then, you replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. It is said that there is power in the tongue. Say positive affirmations every day and repeat them to yourself.
Try other relaxation techniques
Stress affects the muscles and makes them get tensed. To help relax tensed up muscles, you could go for muscle relaxation therapy such as massages. Engage the services of a masseur. Go to the spa and get your body pampered while you take things off your mind. You can also use yoga meditation to calm down your nerves.
Deep breathing exercises, such as swimming also could a long way to help manage anxiety. Arrange with friends to go swimming and get enough relaxation while at it. Aside from swimming, another way you can perform deep breathing exercises is by breathing slowly and deeply, dragging in the air through your nose, and slowly releasing it out through the mouth. You can do this from your living room, just stick to the routine for at least four times.
Meet with a psychologist
Some people are very sensitive to pressure, and situations take can trigger nervousness. For such people, they can develop high anxiety to life situations such as speaking in the public, examinations, and interviews. If you are among such people, then we suggest it is important you engage the services of a psychologist even before the interview comes through. A psychologist could help talk you through the anxiety and allay all possible fears you must have had for the interview. A psychologist as well would help you identify the underlying cause of the anxiety and give you strategies on how to effectively cope with them.
Listen to audiotapes
Music no doubts brings calmness and is soothing to the soul; little wonder it is useful in certain therapy sessions. You can listen to slow playing songs from your favorite music artists to take your mind off things. You can do this often before the interview, on your way to the interview center, or even while sitting in the waiting room. Only make sure you have your earpiece on, and you are not distracting others.
Tell yourself it is not your last opportunity
You have to tell yourself that the interview is not your last shot at success. Interviews will come and go, but our joy and happiness need to remain intact. Even if you don’t end up being hired for the job, that is not the end of life, neither is it the end of your success story. Other better opportunities will present themselves soon.
Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic