If the thought of attending a job interview brings you jitters, you are not alone. Harris Interactive Inc., a leading market research firm, released a study on job interview anxiety in 2013 which revealed that nervousness during job interviews as the chief source of worry amongst candidates. A small dose of nervous energy is good and expected even, but not when it affects the job seeker’s performance. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome this anxiety. Just follow the tips below and you’re in for a worry-free job interview experience.
1. Be prepared
Nothing beats early preparation to ward off job interview jitters. Whenever you apply for a job, it’s your responsibility to learn about the company and position you are applying for. You’ll soon realize that your efforts will be rewarded handsomely once you get invited for an interview. How so? Because “An applicant who has done his or her research well is more confident and gives out the positive vibe to interviewers that s/he is serious about the job,” says Elango R, head of HR at MphasiS in an interview for The Economic Times. This in turn reduces the candidate’s anxiety levels over the interview, so go ahead and do your homework before committing to one. Learn as much as you can about the company’s products or services, research about their culture and try to get to know your interviewer as well. It’s something that can be likened to an exam at school — you need to do your homework and study first before you take the test.
2. Rehearse your answers
After studying the position and the company you are applying for, you can now prepare for the questions that will come up during the interview. From the information you have gathered from your research, formulate possible questions and rehearse the best possible answers for them. There are, of course, standard questions that candidates are faced with during the interview — questions like “Tell me about yourself” or “Why did you leave your previous job?” — you need to prepare for those questions too. Better yet, prepare a “sales pitch” for yourself that tells your interviewer why you’re the best person for the job. The mistake of some long-time candidates is that they think they can just wing it or come in unprepared for an interview. The truth is, the job interview will always be an unpredictable experience even with these standard questions in place. Doing mock interviews with a trusted friend or loved one won’t hurt as it will help you get ready for the real thing. Ensure that you still sound natural and conversational during the interview, even if you have done these rehearsals ahead of time.
3. Expect the unexpected
There are a lot of things that can go wrong on the day of the interview: a sudden downpour, a flat tire, accidental stains on your clothes, etc. You may not have powers to change the future but you can take precautionary measures to help lessen their impact. For example, as a precautionary measure if you have a scheduled interview tomorrow, you can ask for directions from the company representative that invited you to help you find their office’s location faster, or use apps on your phone that tell you the quickest route to your destination. Sleep early so you’ll have plenty of time in case you encounter heavy traffic. To avoid weather-related mishaps, check the forecast for the next day to help you prepare. Knowing you are ready for whatever’s about to happen can help you feel more relaxed for the big day.
4. Bring on the positive vibes
Banish all negativity away by staying optimistic throughout the whole process. Imagine yourself doing well on the day of the interview: you’re able to answer any questions that come your way with confidence, with the interviewer responding well to your answers and the meeting ending on an incredibly great note. Keep that image in mind and continue imagining it whenever you start doubting yourself. Still having a hard time trying to come up with positive thoughts? Remember that the hiring manager already likes you for who you are — that’s why you got picked in the first place! Over at Forbes, Andy Teach, author of From Graduation to Corporation shares this comforting thought to all candidates, “You were asked to come in for the interview for a reason. Someone at that company liked your resume and felt that you may be a great fit. Always remind yourself of your skills and accomplishments and why you are the best person for the job,” he says. In short, the decision makers already think you’re pretty great so hold on to that thought and use it to shine even brighter.
5. Breathe in, breathe out
Taking deep, full breaths can help calm you down. That’s because you’re taking in oxygen to the blood which relaxes the mind and body, the effect being is that you’re able to think clearly and perform well during the interview. Try out this breathing technique from WebMD.com: “Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the air in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.” If you’re still feeling anxious on the day of the interview, why don’t you try out this relaxation exercise?
6. Don’t rush it
The job interview experience is something that not a lot of people look forward to doing, so some candidates rush through the process just to get it over and done with — couple that with nerves and the interview will inevitably end up in a disaster. The problem here is they’re not able to come up with sensible answers which results to them not winning a job offer at the end. Remember that the interviewer looks to your answers to help him/her determine whether you’re a good hire or not — you better make sure you’re coming up with great answers that will turn the tide in your favour. The key here is to take your time to come up with well-thought-out answers, especially if you find yourself getting asked a challenging question. If you find yourself feeling nervous, you may even find it helpful to admit it to the interviewer. The interviewer understands it and won’t hold it against you, plus it would even help lighten up the mood. Most of all, don’t forget to smile!
7. Let it go
Oftentimes we become our worst enemies — we put so much pressure in ourselves that even the littlest mistakes get highlighted for no reason. Accept that even with all these preparations, sometimes the job just isn’t the right one for us. Learning that early on can help erase any nervous energy that a job seeker may experience in the course of the job interview. Learn to let things go if you messed up an answer or if you failed to impress the interviewer — it’s not the end of the world if you do and there are still lots of jobs waiting for you out there.
Job interviews shouldn’t cause so much distress in candidates. In fact, it’s the perfect time for them to step up and shine! However, if you’re still feeling uneasy over them, that’s alright. Just take to heart our tips and you’ll soon find job interviews easier to deal with as time goes on. Good luck!
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