Tips for Overcoming Interview Anxiety

By: Grace Peters, Editorial Analyst, The Memo, LLC

Whether you’re applying for your first job, your tenth job, or you’re making a huge career shift, interviews can be nerve wracking. You want to make a great first impression, but often pre-interview anxiety can get in the way of letting your true colors shine through.

Make a plan ahead of time.

Is the interview in a brand-new location? Use Google Maps a few days before the interview to plan your route, figure out the directions beforehand, and determine how much time to allot to travel. Also consider going to the location a few days in advance to ensure that you won’t get lost on the day of the interview.

Research.

Spend at least one hour researching the company before your interview. What is the company’s main focus? What are they passionate about? What is their mission? See if any of these tie into your own personal goals. This can be a great segue into talking about your strengths come interview time.

Bring a “prep kit.”

Make sure you have the following with you:

-A professional looking folder with a few copies of your resume and any references
-A notebook and a pen
-A breath mint (NOT gum)

Practice telling your story beforehand.

Ask someone to help you practice before the interview. Some common interview questions typically include:

-Tell me about yourself.
-What is your greatest strength/weakness?
-How do you handle stress?
-Describe your work style. Do you work well with others?
-What motivates you?
-What are you passionate about?
-Why are you better equipped for this job than the other candidates?

There are also tons of web sites with lists of interview questions that vary based on the job you’re applying for.

Prepare questions for the interviewer.

Many approach an interview ready to pounce on any questions they are asked. However, they often forget to bring their own set of questions. An interview is a great time to learn whether or not the company is a good fit for you.

Possible questions to ask the interviewer include:

-What are the prospects for growth and advancement in this role?
-What brought you to the company and what has kept you committed to its mission?
-What else can I tell you about my qualifications?
-[If the interviewer will be your manager] What is your management style?

Stretch.
This may sound strange, but it is a personal favorite of mine. Before your interview, go to the bathroom and look at yourself in the mirror. Then, spread your arms out as wide as you can and take a deep breath. This will make you feel confident -- you are literally increasing the amount of space you are taking up which, in turn, will make you feel “bigger.” Make sure to stand up straight and walk with an air of confidence.

Interviews are about selling yourself and telling your story well. They are also just as much about convincing an employer to hire you, as they are about making sure the company is a good fit for your own goals and working style. Remember -- any company would be lucky to have you!

Thanks to jobsearch.about.com for a few of these helpful tips.