How to reduce job interview stress?

Have you ever tried to reduce job interview stress?  There is a lot of advice about how to reduce stress in our day to day lives but interview stress is something that isn’t something we have on a regular basis so we can easily forget how to manage that. 

Going to an interview is something that scares even the best of us. It’s not uncommon to feel stressed, under-prepared and not ‘good enough’ before your job interview.  In this blog, we share our best tips to help you relax, make a good first impression and give it your best shot – sweaty palms and all. 

What is interview stress?

Interview stress or anxiety happens to a job seeker who faces elevated stress levels relating to an upcoming job interview. How you feel about experiencing anxiety and stress is not always the same, it can take on many forms and symptoms. Research based in the US found that a whopping 93% of people feel job interview related stress. Most people get anxious as they want to ace the interview, and don’t want to mess it up. It originates from the pressure to perform, in a short amount of time, coupled with people assessing your every move and word. 

What are interviewers/ hiring managers/ recruiters thinking? 
Believe it or not, most interviewers are stressed too! With hiring time pressures, professional requirements and the wanting to convey that they are a ‘good employer’ – this all causes stressors. The good part is, ALL of the interviewing team has sat where you are sitting, and given interviews too. So they understand how you feel and know not to let someone looking nervous or stressed get in the way of getting to know you. 

Now that you know interview stress is common, here are some of our tips to cope with interview nerves: 

  • Prioritise self care through proper sleep and nutrition. 
  • Practice positive thinking or meditation (the Headspace app works!) – this interview is NOT the be-all and end-all. 
  • Advance preparation for the interview helps – read our blog on how to ace your interview questions for some commonly asked interview questions.
  • Rehearse your answers – a mirror, online recording or with a friend. Remember to add some career/ education anecdotes that you think will add value to the job. 
  • Listen to your favourite music. 
  • Sort your outfit – wear something right for the industry, organisation and most importantly be comfortable. 
  • Eat your meals! We know this doesn’t sound right, but having a good meal prepares you well for most interviews. 
There’s no substitute for preparation 
What is the #1 tip for overcoming interview nerves? It’s being prepared! Preparation will help you feel more confident and verbalise your knowledge during the interview. Research whatever you can about the employer – use their LinkedIn, Glassdoor, web page, Facebook etc. to find out more about them, their culture, their values and the key projects they’re working on. What products or services do they offer, and who is their target audience? 
This preparation will also help you decide if they are the employer you want to work for. Do you have matching values, are they an industry that you want to work in. 
While you’re certainly not expected to know everything about an employer, most interviewers expect you to have done your homework. This research will also help you formulate questions around things you may not know about the business and where you would like further clarity. When you are talking about something you know about, stress is reduced. 

Know who you’re meeting 

Knowing how many people, who they are and their career backgrounds can only prove to be helpful for you in the interview. You can ask the hiring manager/ recruiter who all will be in the interview, and check out their company website, or LinkedIn profiles. Knowing the format, and the number of people in the room (or virtual room) will also help you prepare and not leave you feeling overwhelmed at the start of the interview. By looking at people’s backgrounds and career journeys, not only might you find something that is common, but also find interesting points to discuss – showing that you care about your own career journey. This also helps give you an idea of the questions they’re likely to ask. 
We hope these tips and tricks help you get over your initial interview stress, however, if you continue to face stress, we would recommend that you should reach out to a medical practitioner like Headspace.

Readers also enjoyed  How to Ace your Video Interviews

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