The joyous feeling you receive when your dream company invites you for an interview can be quickly overshadowed by dread which comes with the accompanying in-person interview. The interview is the first time within the employment process where you can personally speak on behalf of your experience and qualifications. It’s normal to feel anxious, especially if you're interviewing for a contentious position. However, dwelling on nerves only creates more anxiety.
First impressions are critical. Showing signs of unease such as stammering, sweating, fidgeting, or poor eye contact could hurt your chances of positively standing out among the competition. Fortunately, there are tips to keep your pre-interview nerves in check.
Utilize Your Own Relaxation Techniques
Everyone enjoys particular relaxation techniques. Some relax when listening to music. Others would rather listen to podcasts or inspirational speeches. Some may even take it to physical levels and do breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or cardio. Doing something as simple as chewing gum or eating chocolate can take your mind off pre-interview nerves. Write down a few small activities for yourself which you can refer back to when your nerves kick in.
Create a Question Sheet
One fear every student goes through during interview prep is fear of the unknown. You have no idea what questions will be asked or which qualities you should highlight when answering. To combat this, you can make your own interview cheat sheet. Research some of the most common interview questions and take time to craft answers. Example questions may be “tell me about yourself," “what made you apply to this position," or “what do you hope to learn from this position." Furthermore, Hiring managers may ask you to give them an example of an accomplishment. Think up a few scenarios where you showed leadership or overcame a complicated situation. Once you have answers, go over them once a day leading up to the interview. No need to memorize. With this knowledge, you can stress less about what will be covered. Take it one step further by holding your own mock interview with a good friend or advisor mimicking a hiring manager.
Reframe Your Mindset
It’s easy to think of an interview as the be-all-end-all of your future. However, this type of mindset creates major anxiety. Instead of seeing an interview as a serious affair with no room for mistakes, look at it as a conversation. Hiring managers are people too. While you should treat them with respect, you should also show your comfort in carrying a two-way conversation. Depending on the company, injecting some humor into your conversation could go a long way.
Along with that, remember that interviews are not solely designed for the hiring manager. It’s up to you to ask questions to determine whether or not the company is the right fit for you. Even if a mistake is made, that’s a learning experience. It’s better to quickly apologize or outright move on than show the interviewer how that mistake is affecting your confidence.
After studying potential interview questions, coming up with your own questions, researching the company on social media, warming up your speaking voice, and settling anxious thoughts, the last thing you must do is have faith in yourself. Remember that you were good enough on paper to secure an interview. The hiring manager already thinks you have the necessary skills. All that’s left is to confidently demonstrate your ambition, your commitment to the job, and the skills you can bring over the competition. Good luck! Your dream position awaits!
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