Does the thought of interviewing for a new job send your sweat glands into overdrive?  Do you go into panic mode envisioning stern HR managers asking those tough “What-would-you-do” questions?   Well, take a deep breath.  It’s perfectly natural to feel anxiety before a job interview.  You’d be hard pressed to find many people who enjoy them!  

Anxiety is a sign that we care and it’s a motivator to perform well.   However, too much stress can be debilitating and impede our chances of success.  If you feel anxiety is holding you back, be assured that you can overcome it.  Check out our tips below.  

Acknowledge your anxiety

In 2015, three psychology professors performed a study on interviewing with 82 college students(https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-cope-with-job-interview-anxiety-3024324).  They found that those who acknowledged their anxiety performed better during the interview than those who did not.  

Rather than suppress your anxiety, accept it.  Only then can you address how you will deal with it.  

Understand your strengths 

You can walk into an interview more confidently when you have a good sense of what you have to offer the company.  You will have a jump start on this already since you need to evaluate your abilities in comparison to the job requirements when applying for the job. 

We also recommend personality tests to increase your self-awareness.  We love 16 Personalities because it provides a thorough self-assessment for free.  It also gives advice on ideal work environments for your personality type.  

Before an interview, revisit your strengths, particularly those that make you a good fit for the job.  Think creatively how your strengths can compensate for any weaknesses in performing the job functions.  

Thoroughly prepare 

There’s no way to know which questions an interviewer will ask, but there is a plethora of advice on how to prepare for an interview online.   Take the time to write up responses to some of the most frequently asked interview questions.  It might take some time, but once you do the initial legwork, you can tweak it for each job interview. 

There’s no such thing as over-preparing.  If you consider your answers ahead of time, you can avoid the panic of a “blank mind” as you think of how to respond to an unexpected question.  

Practice 

Next, read the responses you wrote aloud until they roll off the tongue naturally, which will help you will recall them more easily during the actual interview.  

It’s also helpful to run through several mock interviews as practice.  Do you have a professor or other mentor who is willing to help with this?  You may even consider hiring an interview coach who can provide live feedback to help you improve.  

Don’t let rejection get you down 

If you don’t receive a job offer, it’s essential to maintain a positive perspective.   It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for feedback from the interviewer.  Sometimes they will give it; sometimes they may not.  If you have a mentor or career coach, debrief with them and consider their insights.   Also, complete your own evaluation of how the interview went.  Keep in mind, there are many factors outside of your control.  

Keep going on interviews

Many people experience anxiety because they don’t know what to expect with the interview. Which questions will they ask? What will the interviewer be like?  Will they like me?  The only way to overcome the fear of the unknown is to make yourself more comfortable with the unknown.   

If you keep in perspective that it’s okay to be anxious, thoroughly prepare for the interview, and practice, practice, practice, in time you can reduce the amount of anxiety you feel before an interview.   Also, don’t let the rejection crush you.  Learn from the experience, keep improving your interview skills, and move onto the next interview. 

We wish you the best of luck as you apply these interview tips!

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