Job interviews probably aren’t the best way for hiring managers to find qualified candidates who’ll be a great fit for their team. But until the hiring revolution takes place and we’re all freed from the constraints of traditional interviews, we’re stuck with them.
If you’re an introvert, or less socially confident, these interactions can be especially stressful. But there are things you can do to help reduce job interview stress and make the experience easier (and more successful).
“Thorough preparation can go a long way toward easing interview stress,” writes Alison Doyle at The Balance.
It’s perhaps the most important thing you can do to make things easier on yourself. Practice answering tough interview questions. Do a mock interview with friends. Prepare your own interview questions for the hiring manager, and practice your elevator speech. Look ahead to the negotiation phase, and make sure you know how much you’re worth on the job market — and how to ask for it when the time comes.
2. Try to schedule your interview for the morning.
“Get stressful things out of the way early,” recommends Andrew G. Rosen at U.S. News. “That leaves less time for negative thinking. This tip also holds true for dentist and doctor appointments.”
Of course, if you’re not a morning person, you might need to tailor this advice to your internal clock. The idea is to plan your interview for as early as possible, given your nature. In other words, if you need three cups of coffee to get going and aren’t yourself until 10 a.m., schedule the interview for 11, not 9.
3. Reframe the interview’s importance.
It’s easy to get carried away and build this job interview into a bigger deal than it really is. But one job interview isn’t going to make or break your career. Even if things go horribly, the worst that can happen is that you won’t get the job. That’s not fun, but it’s not a disaster.
At Job-Hunt, Laura DeCarlo suggests:
Try to compare it to something else in the past that you have done that was as big and important feeling. Remind yourself that this will not be the first or the last opportunity of this kind that you encounter.
You can also reframe the event in your mind. Instead of viewing it as an all-important interview, think of it as an exciting chance to meet new people and expand your network. You never know what will happen!
4. Focus on having a conversation.
Are you grimly anticipating a grilling? If so, no wonder you’re feeling less-than-calm about your upcoming interview. A better approach: think of the interview as a conversation.
“While it may be difficult to do, don’t think of it as a job interview,” says Andy Teach, author of From Graduation to Corporation, in an interview with Forbes. “Think of it as a conversation between two people who are trying to get to know one another and to see if they will be compatible working together. Also, keep in mind that the hiring manager may be nervous, too, so if you walk in with a smile, you can put them at ease which will help put you at ease.”
5. Be positive.
A positive mindset can make a big difference to your interview performance — and ultimately, the outcome.
“…calm your nerves by reminding yourself that you deserve to be there,” suggests Elizabeth Lowman at The Muse. “Hey, you wouldn’t have been invited to interview if you weren’t being seriously considered as a candidate! Use this knowledge to your advantage to mentally pump yourself up before the interview. It can take the edge off enough to allow you to approach the situation with a burst of self-assurance and poise.”
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What’s your favorite coping mechanism for interview-related stress? We want to hear from you. Share your tips in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.