Interview. The dreaded ‘I’ word that sends everyone into a frenzy, including myself. I find myself getting extremely nervous before an interview and that can sometimes result in a poor performance on your part. But no need to worry, I’m here to provide some, hopefully, useful tips on how to have a great and successful interview!
There is a great article I read that outlines different ways to deal with anxiety during a job interview, but unfortunately I cannot locate it again to provide the link for you. In summary, the article identifies six specific ways to handle your stress and anxiety and I find them to be extremely useful. I came across another really helpful article that outlines a few other ways you can manage interview stress that you can check out if you’re looking for more techniques.
The first is to prepare for the job interview by researching the company and position. Preparation is one of the few factors that you actually can control, and by reading up on the company, employer and the position you’re applying for can really affect your performance in the interview.
Second is to understand the role of performance anxiety. Studies show that most people perform optimally when in moderately stressful situation, but our performance declines when our stress levels are too low or too high. But a modest amount of pressure can provide strong motivation and can improve your focus during the interview.
Third is to view the job interview as a learning experience. Of course it is extremely important that you are practicing your interview skills on your own, but practicing in real life context helps to prepare you for similar situations. You are able to learn from your mistakes and your strengths and can build on that for your next interview. You’re developing interpersonal skills, learning about a company in your industry, and building your network of potential contacts. If you approach the interview with this mindset, your attention is directed at the process itself as opposed to the end result.
Fourth is to remember what the employer really wants to know. There are so many factors involved in the interviewing process and selecting a candidate, including their interview skills, appearance/grooming, presentation, etc. but it is important to stay focused on what the employer is looking for. Employers want to know if a candidate can do the job. If you find yourself feeling anxious about external factors, remember what the employer is really looking for.
Fifth is choosing to accept any outcome. It would be very rare for an individual to be offered every position they ever interviewed for, to remember that rejection is a possibility. But this should not be your main focus going into the interview. Deciding to embrace any outcome helps puts the event in perspective. What is the worst that could happen from your interview? Don’t let it ruin your career or self-esteem, but use it as an experience to learn and grow from and move on to the next opportunity.
The last recommendation is to give your fear a name. Analyze the upcoming opportunity and try to identify what it is that is giving you anxiety in the first place. Are you afraid of being judged or coming off needy? Do you worry you’ll never get an opportunity like this again? Are you worried about what your friends or family will say? Odds are, if you are able to identify what the source of your fear is, if you examine it in the light you’ll probably find you’re giving too much power to others to determine your worth as an employee or a human being.
Interviewing can feel like an emotional rollercoaster for a candidate. But doing your due diligence to prepare for the big event and viewing a job interview as an opportunity for personal growth will help manage your fears and establish a more balanced perspective on what you can feel like a pivotal movement in your life.
If you’re still looking for more tips on how to have a successful interview, watch this video for some really great information on attire, research, practicing, and how to prepare your answers.