Jobs6 Proven Techniques to Overcome Interview Nerves and Anxiety (And Ace Your...

6 Proven Techniques to Overcome Interview Nerves and Anxiety (And Ace Your Next Interview)

Interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences. In fact, according to one survey, a whopping 93% of people report feeling anxious before a job interview, with interviews ranking as more stressful than even visiting the dentist or doctor. Interview anxiety is completely normal, but it can also sabotage your performance if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are proven techniques you can use to get those nerves under control.

Arm yourself with these tips, and you’ll walk into that interview feeling cool, calm, and collected. Ready to ace that upcoming interview? Let’s begin.

What Causes Interview Anxiety?

Interview jitters typically stem from the high-pressure nature of the situation. After all, your performance during this brief window of time could determine whether or not you get the job. Many factors can contribute to these nerves, including:

Fear of Unknown Questions

Not knowing what you’ll be asked can certainly cause anxiety. You might worry about being put on the spot with unexpected questions you’re unsure how to answer.

Lack of Interview Practice

If you don’t have much practice with interviews, it’s understandable to feel nervous about the unfamiliar experience.

Fear of Presenting Yourself

Interviews require you to sell yourself and your skills. For some, this self-promotion induces anxiety or feelings of self-doubt.

Intimidating Interviewers

Facing off against one or more interviewers can feel intimidating. You might perceive them as judging you and finding you inadequate.

Fear of Rejection

Ultimately, many interview fears boil down to the fear of rejection – worrying that you won’t get the job. This fear of failure contributes to nerves.Now that you know where these anxious feelings stem from, let’s look at some of the common physical and emotional symptoms.

Physical and Emotional Symptoms of Interview Anxiety

Interview nerves can manifest both physically and mentally/emotionally. Common symptoms include:Physical symptoms:

  • Sweaty palms
  • Shaking hands
  • Blushing face
  • Upset stomach, nausea
  • Headache
  • Muscle tension
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing normally
  • Dry mouth

Mental/emotional symptoms

  • Going blank (inability to recall information)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Negative self-talk (“I’m going to fail”)
  • Overthinking answers
  • Feelings of dread before the interview

Pay attention to any symptoms you experience leading up to or during an interview. Simply recognizing them can help you consciously counteract them. Now let’s get into those anxiety reduction techniques…Nursing Abroad job interview questions and answers 1 scaled 1

6 Proven Techniques to Overcome Interview Nerves

With preparation and practice, you can keep anxiety from derailing your interview performance. Here are 6 proven methods:

1. Be Prepared

Thorough preparation is key to reducing interview fears. When you know your resume and qualifications inside-out, you can feel confident you have what the role requires.Spend time researching the company, role, likely interview questions, and formulating your own smart questions to ask. The more prepared you are, the more in control you’ll feel.

2. Practice Interviewing

Practice makes perfect – and more comfortable! Set up mock video interviews with friends or use online services. The more experience you gain answering common questions, the less intimidating the real deal will feel.Aim to practice 3-5 common interview questions daily in the weeks leading up to an interview. Review video footage to improve your delivery.

3. Visualize Success

Athletes use visualization techniques to successfully perform under pressure – and so can you! Spend 5-10 minutes daily visualizing yourself calmly acing the interview. Picture walking out feeling great about your performance. This mental rehearsal helps reprogram the brain to expect success, reducing fear.

4. Embrace the Butterflies

A little nervous excitement can actually help your performance! A [Harvard study]2

found anxiety improves focus and memory recall. So reframe that anxiety as excitement that your hard work is paying off with an interview.

5. Use Relaxation Techniques

When nerves strike, quick relaxation techniques can hit the reset button on your stress response. Try this breathing exercise:

  • Inhale slowly through your nose, counting to 5
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth, counting to 8
  • Repeat 5 times

This controlled breathing triggers a relaxation response, lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. Other useful techniques include meditation, visualization, and repeating a mantra like “I am calm and confident.”

6. Be Authentic

Trying too hard to project an image you think the interviewer wants to see can backfire by making you appear disingenuous. Focus less on saying “right” things, and more on authenticity. Answer genuinely and let your true competence and passion shine through. This will come across as much more confident than a rehearsed facade.Now that you have some anxiety busting techniques in your tool belt, let’s talk interview preparation.

Step-by-Step Pre-Interview Preparation

Preparing thoroughly in the weeks before an interview is crucial to minimizing anxiety. Here is an 8 step preparation checklist:

1. Research the company – Get to know the company’s mission, values, goals, challenges, products/services, and competitors. This helps you speak knowledgably about wanting to work there specifically.

2. Study the role – Carefully read over the job description, noting must-have qualifications. Be prepared to give examples demonstrating these skills. Understand day-to-day duties to show your fit.

3. Refresh your resume – Update your resume to include new skills, achievements, responsibilities that align with the role. Be ready to expand on everything during the interview.

4. Practice answering questions – Compile likely interview questions and practice responses daily. Video yourself to sharpen delivery. Ensure you can concisely yet compellingly walk through your background.

5. Prepare smart questions to ask – Asking thoughtful questions shows your engagement. Prepare 4-5, like “How do you see this role evolving in the next few years?”

6. Know your interview outfit – Pick out professional interview attire that makes you feel confident and put together. Avoid last minute stress shopping for clothes.

7. Get copies of everything – Print extra copies of your resume, cover letter, work samples, references, etc. Overprepare documents so you’re not scrambling before heading out.

8. Map route and parking – Confirm the interview location and best route to arrive 15 minutes early. If driving, scout parking options nearby so you can pull right in and avoid getting lost/stressed. Follow this checklist, and you’ll show up ultra prepared to impress your interviewer.Nursing Abroad iStock 657019600 1024x683 1

What to Do During the Interview to Project Confidence

You’ve prepped thoroughly. Now it’s go time. Here are tips for projecting poise once the interview begins:

1. Make a Great First Impression – Smile, make eye contact, and greet the interviewer with a firm handshake if appropriate. This gets things off on the right foot.

2. Listen Attentively – Actively listening demonstrates confidence and respect. Maintain eye contact, nod appropriately, and avoid interrupting.

3. Sit Up Straight – Good posture communicates confidence. Sit up straight, feet flat on the floor, facing the interviewer. Avoid nervous gestures like fidgeting.

4. Take it Slow – It’s not a race, so speak slowly and clearly. Thoughtful pauses are fine as you gather thoughts. Slow down if you notice nerves speeding up your responses.

5. Be Concise – Answer questions directly without rambling, aiming for 2-3 minute responses on average. Prepare sound bites summarizing qualifications to easily insert.

6. Refer Back to the Role – Reinforce how your background applies to the role throughout. This shows why you’re uniquely qualified.

7. Ask Smart Questions – By asking engaging questions, you shift to an empowered position rather than just responding to queries.

8. Express Enthusiasm – Conclude by summarizing why you’re excited about and well matched for this opportunity. This leaves a confident final impression.Now let’s look at ideal follow up after the interview concludes.

Post Interview Follow Up

Immediately after, jot down notes on:

  • Questions you were asked
  • Answers you gave
  • Any stumbles to improve next time

Within 24 hours, send a thank you email reiterating your interest and unique fit.If you don’t hear back within the stated decision timeline, follow up.

A polite check-in email shows initiative.Finally, don’t beat yourself up over interview mistakes. Even the best candidates flub questions now and then. Reflect on what you would do differently next time and chalk it up to experience. You’ve got this! Now that you’re armed with techniques to reduce interview anxiety and fully prepare, you can tackle your next interview with flying colors. To recap, be sure to:

  • Thoroughly research the role and company
  • Practice answering common questions
  • Visualize yourself succeeding
  • Reframe anxiety as helpful excitement
  • Use relaxation techniques to calm nerves
  • Focus on authenticity over perfection
  • Prepare extensively weeks before
  • Project confidence via body language
  • Follow up promptly after the interview

Do you have any other helpful tips for calming pre-interview jitters? Share in the comments below.

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