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5 Ways to Overcome Interview Anxiety

February 28, 2017

Crafting the perfect resume and networking to land a job can feel like the most difficult aspect of the job hunting process. When you finally get an interview, it can feel like a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders. But then, a new wave of nerves and anxiety sweeps over you as you realize ... you have an interview and you need to prepare! Of course you're going to be nervous and nerves aren't bad. It will keep you sharp and shows you care about the position. But how can you minimize those butterflies in your stomach and concern you're going to say all the wrong things? Any one of the following five steps will help.

1.Do your research

Follow the advice from Ellee at Hiring Expert at Textron and prepare yourself by understanding the company’s history and background.

“You want to have enough knowledge about the company to show your interest in working there but be mindful not to sound like you are reading directly from the company website. You will want to research what the company does (products they manufacture, services they provide, etc.) and the industry they are part of. You will want to know who the leaders in the company are and the mission and values the company believes are important. I would also recommend viewing company press releases, which will provide recent company updates. It is important to figure out why you are excited about what the company does and speak to that more than reciting the ‘about us’ page on the company website. Be sure that you feel confident with the amount of knowledge you have about the company and the position you are interviewing for to be comfortable answering questions the interviewer may ask.” 1

Also, know your resume inside and out. Prepare answers to common questions ("tell me about yourself" and "what has prepared you for a role in this company").

2. Stay away from caffeine

Your normal morning routine may include a cup of coffee; however, it can increase your nervous energy instead of keeping you alert and level-headed. This may sound cliché, but you need to get a good amount of sleep prior to the interview. A poor sleep cycle may actually increase your anxiety, and will definitely make you sluggish.

You want to be able to answer unanticipated questions to the best of your ability. Make sure you’re well rested so that you don’t need to drink any coffee. If you must drink coffee, don't over-do it.

3. Exercise

Exercise is known to be a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. Physical activity increases your endorphins and enhances the state of stability and well-being of your body and mind. Going for a walk or a quick workout before the interview can make you appear much more calm and collected to the interviewer.

4. Dress for the part

First impressions are a huge factor in the interview process. As human beings we are sometimes inclined to judge a book by it’s cover. Ashley, a hiring expert from Cardinal Health, shares her advice:

“If you are interviewing for a corporate or office type of position, I would always encourage business professional dress attire unless the company tells you otherwise. Business professional is a business suit (pants and a suit jacket), blouse or button-down shirt/oxford, a tie for males or a knee-length skirt or dress for females. Business casual is less formal and typically the dress attire for most employee's in a corporate or office position. Business casual could be anything from dress pants, blouse or button-down shirt with no tie, dress, sweater, khaki's, etc. I would recommend searching ‘business casual’ and ‘business professional’ through the images in Google to get a better visual of what is appropriate for both.” 2

5. Breathe

Fuel your body with oxygen by taking deep breaths. Remember that the person interviewing you is just that...a person. They have been in your position at one time and want to make you feel comfortable. It’s much more beneficial to the interviewer when you are comfortable opening up to them. They can get a better sense of who you are and whether or not you will fit in with their company culture.

Paying attention to your breathing can also help you fall asleep the night before an interview. If you're lying in bed stressing about the interview the night before, try to focus on your breathing. Inhale and exhale methodically. This has a way of helping you relax and could help you fall asleep easier.

Getting to the interview stage can be exciting. But it can also be stressful. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be in your interview. Make every effort you can to prepare yourself physically and mentally. Follow the steps above, and you may just find yourself thanking your interviewer for the job offer.

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