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For most people, job interviews are the most stressful part of the job-hunting process. You can spend hours preparing and wishing away interview anxiety, but there’s no way to anticipate every question and situation the interviewer will pose. Plus, every interview is different, so it can be difficult to know what to expect. Depending on how well you can manage your interview anxiety, you can turn things around so it doesn’t prevent your confidence and skills from shining through. Here are some tips to manage your interview anxiety before, during, and after your job interview!
Interviewers tend to ask the same types of questions. The most common ones are related to strengths and weaknesses, but these can be the hardest to answer. As there is no perfect answer, these questions leave the unprepared interviewee in a dilemma.
However, you can prepare answers to certain questions so you’re ready to answer confidently. Think about your strengths, weaknesses, difficult situations you’ve encountered in previous jobs, successful projects you’ve led or been involved in, or gaps in your resume that might need explaining.
Here’s a chance to impress the interviewer! Learn as much as you can about the company and the interviewers. Some interviewees might be ruled out if they can’t name the CEO of the company they are interviewing with. Try to find out the latest happenings in the company like mergers, acquisition, news and press releases, or new product launches. This way you can bring them up as needed and show your interest in the company.
Think positive thoughts! Negative thinking will make you more anxious and stressed but visualizing a positive outcome can help reduce interview anxiety. Positive thinking can also bring excitement to the process. You can be a little anxious, but don’t let your job interview anxiety cloud the excitement of potentially getting that new job!
It’s possible that you’ll receive a question that you don’t know how to answer. In that case, take a moment and pause to think about your answer. After you answer, you can always confirm with the interviewer whether you answered the question properly. If they need more from you, don’t be afraid to pause to ensure you grasp what they are asking.
Pausing also gives you a chance to add some structure to your answer, rather than rambling. You can quickly put together an opening statement of sorts and some supporting sentences to avoid repeating yourself or rambling until you trail off.
If the interviewer offers water or another beverage, you may be tempted to refuse to seem polite, but accepting and thanking the interviewer can make a good impression. Also, you don’t want a dry mouth in the middle of the interview! Taking a pause to have a sip during the interview can be calming, and you can use it to gather your thoughts before answering a difficult question.
Remember that you are also interviewing the company to see if you want to work there – you do have some control and you can exercise it by asking questions of the interviewer. They appreciate this, as it shows your interest. Ask them about their values and expectations, the work atmosphere, and company ethics.
It’s possible that you might discover something about the company that won’t be a good fit for you. Don’t panic – there are lots of jobs out there! The United States had about 7.4 million job openings back in April 2019 while Canada had about 0.43 million. Eventually, you will find a job that suits you.
A ‘thank you’ email will keep you at the top of the interviewer’s mind, as they may be interviewing dozens of candidates in a single day. This extra effort will make you stand out. Also, you can use it to smooth out any answers you might have stumbled on or not fully explained, as well as add additional comments you may have forgotten at the time.
After the interview is over (and after you’ve sent a thank you email), you can rest easy knowing that you have done everything within your power to get the job and that if you don’t get the job, it might not have anything to do with you. There are so many factors that go into a recruiter choosing which candidate to hire.
Make it a point to relax and do something enjoyable after an interview. This will help you de-stress and get back into your normal routine. If you’re heading right back to the job hunt to find the next interview, this will give you a chance to take a short break before you start preparation and managing anxiety for the next interview.
Anxiety is common but not always unhelpful. It can help you focus on the interview at hand and motivate you to prepare for it, so that you can present your best self. However, too much anxiety is not worth the stress. We hope you found these tips for managing interview anxiety helpful! If you have others that work for you, feel free to share them in the comments below. Looking for more interview tips? Check out our tips for answering the classic interview question – “what’s your greatest weakness?”