Interviews are pretty stressful experiences. Even if you’re excited by the prospect of potentially getting a new job, the chances are you’re feeling nervous about being “under the microscope” with your interviewer.
Afterall, the person you’re speaking to in this interview is there to judge you. They need to determine if you’re the right person for the role, and that’s enough to crank up anyone’s nerves.
If it helps, you’re not the only person to feel stressed before an interview. One study found that around 92% of US adults feel anxious about job interviews. It’s natural.
Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce your feelings of stress and improve your chances of standing out as a confident future employee.
1. Start with a Mental Dress Rehearsal
Most career experts recommend practicing a few interview questions with your friends and family members, but you can even go beyond this to prepare a little more.
Research demonstrates that experiencing success increases our feelings of confidence, even if we’re just imagining an interview going well.
With that in mind, close your eyes and walk through what it might look like if you were to go through the interview successfully, answering questions perfectly every time. Imagine yourself looking calm, prepared, and confidently responding to any queries.
If you get any sparks of creativity about how you can improve your interview experience, make a note to come back to them later.
2. Create the Perfect Playlist
Music has a unique ability to influence the way we feel. You’ve probably noticed this if you’ve ever used a playlist to get your energy levels up for the gym. When you’re preparing for a big interview, your musical strategy should be all about motivation.
Choose songs that make you feel good or pump you up, and play them in the morning before you head out for your interview.
It might also be worth setting up a similarly positive playlist for after the interview, so you can wind down again.
3. Give Yourself a Pep Talk
Self-affirmation is a surprisingly powerful tool! Most people don’t realize it, but we tend to spend a lot of time putting ourselves down and not as much time building ourselves up.
Chances are, if you’re panicking about your upcoming interview, you’re thinking about the experiences that didn’t go so well for you in the past, or you’re telling yourself how hard it’s going to be to compete against other candidates.
What would happen if you flipped the script and reminded yourself how great you are instead? Let yourself know that you deserve this role just as much as anyone else.
Focus on re-affirming your skills and careers and reminding yourself of what makes you good for this job. You’ll feel better, and you’ll come up with some great ideas on how to respond to questions your interviewer might ask about your suitability for the role too.
4. Prepare for the Worst
This might seem like a bit of a negative strategy when you’re trying to focus on positivity, but it can be reassuring to prepare for the worst. The reality is the worst thing that can likely happen at the end of your interview is that you don’t get the job.
So, ask yourself what you’re going to do if that happens. The answer is probably just “look for something else and try again.”
You can also go through some other fears that are worrying you about the interview and come up with ways to prepare for them. For instance, if you’re worried about not having an answer to a question, learn how to cover your tracks when this happens. You could even have an interview cheat sheet ready in your pocket, just in case.
5. Plan for What’s Next
Plan something nice for the hours after your interview, so you have something to look forward to when you’re sweating through some tough questions.
You can even plan for some productive things to do when the interview is over, like applying for other roles just in case, or talking through the interview process with your friends to make yourself feel better about any hiccups that might have happened.
Looking forward to what comes after the interview will stop you from feeling too frozen in fear by the event itself to focus properly.
Once you’ve done your regular preparations for the interview, you can reduce your jitters and feel calm and confident beforehand by using these techniques. This will enable you to focus on putting your best foot forward during the interview itself.