Close this search box.

How to Avoid Interview Stress

interview stress

Regardless of how many job interviews you’ve experienced, it’s common to face interview stress. Navigating job interviews and their preparation can be challenging, and the associated pressure might hinder your performance, potentially impacting your chances of securing your ideal position.


Psychological research suggests that a moderate amount of stress can be advantageous, sharpening your focus and mental agility. However, excessive stress or allowing it to overwhelm you can lead to a suboptimal performance in your interview.

The key to excelling in your job interview lies in effectively managing your stress levels. It’s crucial to keep your anxiety in check, ensuring it doesn’t dominate your actions. In this guide, we will explore strategies to minimize or even eliminate stress, empowering you to take command of your interview experience.

Learn more about stress management interview questions and how to answer them!

Steps to Reduce Interview Stress

Preparation is essential in reducing job interview stress. Here are several steps you can take:

Comprehensive Preparation

Avoid the pitfalls of being unprepared. Thoroughly prepare for your interview to minimize surprises. This includes understanding your skills and strengths in order of relevance. Stay informed about all aspects of the interview, from the date and time to the location, to avoid last-minute chaos.


Arriving late to an interview can cause unnecessary stress. Envision the scenario of realizing you’re running late for a 9 a.m. interview at 8:45 a.m. To avoid this, prepare to leave early and aim to arrive at the interview location ahead of time. Setting an alarm can be a helpful reminder.

Organize Your Portfolio

Prepare your documents in advance, including multiple copies of your resume. Forgetting a crucial document can lead to anxiety, especially if other candidates are better prepared. Additionally, ensure you’re ready to confidently walk the interviewer through your resume.

Research the Company

This step is crucial for any interview. Understand the company’s mission, values, and the qualities they seek in employees. A comprehensive background check will help you align your responses with the company’s needs.

Practice for Confidence

Lack of confidence often triggers stress. Practice is the key to building confidence. Familiarize yourself with common interview questions and practice answering them smoothly. If public speaking or anxiety is a concern, practicing with friends, advisors, or mentors can be immensely helpful in overcoming nervousness.

Embrace the Competitive Nature of Interviews

Understand that you are likely not the only candidate being interviewed. While others may be equally qualified, it’s important not to dwell on this fact. Focusing on the competition can distract you from your main objective: to deliver your best performance. Maintain a friendly demeanor towards other candidates, but keep your focus squarely on your own performance. This approach will help you avoid unnecessary stress.

Responding to Challenging Questions with Composure

Unexpected or difficult questions can arise during an interview. When faced with such questions, it’s crucial to remain calm. Take a moment to breathe deeply, and if necessary, take a sip of water to regain your composure. If you need clarification, it’s perfectly acceptable to politely ask the interviewer to repeat or rephrase the question. This strategy shows your poise and ability to handle unexpected situations.

Utilize Positive Visualization Techniques

Instead of dwelling on the potential stress of an interview, visualize a successful outcome. Engage in positive mental imagery, focusing on pleasant thoughts and scenarios. Your mind is influenced by what you feed it and often cannot distinguish between reality and imagination. This technique can help shift your focus from anxiety to a more positive and successful mindset.

Adopt a Positive Mindset

Stress often stems from negative thinking, such as worrying about the consequences of not getting the job. It’s essential to shift your mindset away from such negativities. Remember, positive thinking can be powerful. Even if it doesn’t directly lead to a job offer, it can provide peace and serenity.

Reduce the Interview’s Perceived Importance

Another effective strategy is to mentally ‘downscale’ the significance of the interview. While it’s important, overemphasizing its importance in your mind can create unnecessary anxiety. This doesn’t mean you should be indifferent; rather, it’s about not letting the interview overwhelm you. Compare the interview to other significant challenges you’ve overcome in the past. View it as an enjoyable opportunity to meet new people and potentially expand your network.

Counter Negative Thoughts with Positive Affirmations

Even if your negative thoughts seem grounded in reality, confront and dispel them. Replace these thoughts with positive affirmations. There is power in positive self-talk. Regularly repeating positive affirmations can significantly alter your mindset, replacing fear and anxiety with confidence and optimism.

Explore Various Relaxation Techniques

Stress can cause muscle tension, and it’s beneficial to seek ways to relax these muscles. Consider indulging in relaxation therapies such as massages. Visiting a spa for a full-body treatment can be an excellent way to unwind and clear your mind. Additionally, practicing yoga or meditation can be effective in calming your nerves.

Incorporating deep breathing exercises into your routine can also be highly beneficial in managing anxiety. Activities like swimming not only provide relaxation but also promote deep breathing. Alternatively, you can practice deep breathing exercises at home: breathe in slowly through your nose, hold for a moment, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Aim to incorporate this practice into your daily routine, repeating the exercise at least four times per session.

If Needed, Consult with a Psychologist

For those particularly sensitive to pressure and prone to anxiety in situations like public speaking, exams, or interviews, consulting a psychologist could be immensely helpful. A psychologist can assist in addressing your anxieties, alleviating fears about the interview, and identifying underlying causes of your anxiety. They can also offer effective coping strategies.

Listen to Soothing Music

Music has a calming effect and can be a powerful tool for relaxation. Consider listening to your favorite slow-tempo songs to help ease your mind. This can be particularly useful before the interview, en route to the venue, or even while waiting for your turn. Remember to use earphones to avoid disturbing others.

Maintain Perspective About the Interview

It’s important to remind yourself that an interview is not your only opportunity for success. While interviews are significant, they are not the sole determinants of your future. If an interview doesn’t result in a job offer, remember that it’s not the end of your career journey. Other opportunities will arise, and it’s crucial to keep your optimism and happiness intact.

Key Takeaways

As a career coach, I’ve seen how these strategies can transform interview experiences. Remember, each interview is not just a test, but an opportunity to learn and grow. Embrace the process, and with each experience, you’ll find yourself becoming more adept and confident in navigating the challenges of job interviews.

Drawing from my expertise as a career coach, one of the most crucial aspects is embracing the competitive nature of interviews. It’s important to understand that while competition is inherent, the focus should be on individual performance. Thorough preparation is instrumental in this regard. By understanding your strengths, researching the company, and practicing common interview questions, you can build confidence and significantly reduce anxiety. This preparation not only makes you more knowledgeable but also helps in presenting yourself as a well-prepared and serious candidate.

Another vital aspect is managing stress and maintaining composure during the interview. Techniques like positive visualization, deep breathing exercises, and listening to soothing music can greatly aid in this. These methods help in calming nerves, thereby allowing you to think more clearly and respond more effectively. Additionally, it’s essential to maintain perspective about the interview and the opportunities it represents.

Understanding that an interview is just one step in your career path can reduce its perceived stakes and the stress associated with it. If anxiety becomes overwhelming, seeking guidance from a psychologist can be beneficial. These strategies, backed by my experience in the field, are not just theoretical but have proven effective for many individuals navigating the challenges of job interviews.

Rate this article

0 / 5 reviews 0

Your page rank:

Step into the world of, where our dedicated team of career experts, job interview trainers, and seasoned career coaches collaborates to empower individuals on their professional journeys. With decades of combined experience across diverse HR fields, our team is committed to fostering positive and impactful career development.

Turn interviews into offers

Every other Tuesday, get our Chief Coach’s best job-seeking and interviewing tips to land your dream job. 5-minute read.

🤝 We’ll never spam you or sell your data