How to Deal With Job Interview Anxiety
Scoring a job interview is super exciting–like catching a fish. It confirms that your bait is tantalizing and the fish are biting. It’s hard to restrain yourself from getting geeked up on the adrenalin rush–your life could change drastically, and soon.
You want to have a bit of that adrenaline to help you do your best, but you also need to keep your emotions in check so that you feel comfortable and in control. This is especially important if you are new to the interview scene.
Interviews are valuable professional experiences
An interview can have several positive outcomes: If it’s a fit on both sides it can yield a new job, which can be wonderful. On the other hand, it may not turn into an offer but it will give you interviewing experience, which is always helpful. A job interview can also teach you about opportunities you don’t want–you may find that the organization or the job itself won’t suit you.
All of these are outcomes that support your aim of trying to find the right job and the right organization for yourself. So keep an open mind–there are a number of ways that this can go well.
Try not to emotionally inflate the situation
The people talking with you about your potential fit for their open position are not judging your worth as a human being. They are just trying to see if you might be a good fit on their team. Sometimes anxiety and nervousness can cause us to emotionally inflate situations and make them seen scarier than they actually are, and then we don’t perform as well because we feel uncomfortable.
Yes, you need a job and yes these folks have one to give. So it seems like the power dynamic is weighted in their favor, but that’s not really true. It’s hard to have an open position on the team. Usually that means someone is burning the candle at both ends trying to get extra work done. And probably they are eagerly trying to find someone to help carry that extra weight. The interviewer needs to make a good hire just as much as you need to find a good job. So there is really no weighted power dynamic here. You are both in need.
It’s helpful to boil the interviewers’ agenda down to its bare bones–they are trying to see if you have the skills to do this job, if you will be easy to train, if you will fit into the culture and if you seem like you are likely to stick around for a while. That is all they are measuring about you.
Formulate responses to interview questions like you would prepare answers to essay questions on an exam. You want to think this through in advance so that your responses are thorough and you feel composed, confident and prepared when you are in the situation.
Remember to formulate answers that reflect your true thoughts and your authentic voice. Don’t just say what you think interviewers want to hear. You need to know if you can really do this job and work with people. Relax. Get comfortable, and be yourself.
Handle the logistics
Preparation curbs anxiety. In this case, over-prepare. Know exactly how to get to your meeting. Make sure you factor in construction or traffic volume issues. You shouldn’t be late, so aim to be parking your car 15-20 minutes early, and checking in for your interview 5-10 minutes early.
Make sure you have professional attire that makes you feel cool and confident. Then get everything ready the night before.
Remember, things have a way of working out how they are intended to. All you can do is set yourself up for success, be present in the moment and then pat yourself on the back for putting forth your best effort.