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Coping with Job Interview Anxiety

Feb 23, 2016, 08:28 AM by Kathleen Kontos

Feeling anxious about a job interview is normal and interviewers will understand if you show a little nervousness. They are not looking for perfection, however they will want to see how flexible and resilient you can be. It is up to you to prove that you are capable of forging ahead despite your stress and anxiety. Here’s what you can do to feel and look more confident for a job interview.

Prepare with research.

Do your homework. If you haven’t already, research the company you will be interviewing for and organize the notes. Find out what they do, who the staff are and also identify their competitors. Tailor your answers to incorporate the company values. Knowing as much as you can about your prospective employer can help you better respond to the interview questions. Make a list of questions to ask, write them down and take them along to the interview. Review your notes again the day before.

Conduct a practice interview.

List common questions and draft your responses to them. Don't memorize exact answers. Instead outline points which will make your answers more flexible to fit questions that deviate during the interview. Practice in front of a mirror or record yourself. Observe your posture, facial expressions, gestures and how you maintain eye contact. Practicing before the interview can help you discover your strengths and weaknesses, both in your body language and your rehearsed responses.

Plan ahead.

Eliminate what you don’t know by contacting the company’s Human Resources department. Alleviate a bit of the stress by planning ahead so you will have less details to fuss over on the day of your interview. Consider the location of the interview site, the travel time, what you will wear, what you should bring with you and print your resume ahead of time. Make plans to decrease the risk of something going wrong.

Set time aside to relax.

Everyone has a different approach to relax. Set time aside to be comfortable in your own skin whether that is through meditation, stretches, a hot bath or shower, strenuous exercise, music, yoga or having a good laugh. Easing your mind and body will help you manage your stress level, boost your mood and most importantly improve your concentration during the interview.

Get enough rest.

Fatigue will show in your body language and face. Just one night of sleep loss can lead to problems that you don’t need. You want to avoid accidents that may occur from a lapse because you are sleep deprived. Sleep well so you can stay sharp and focused throughout the day and during your interview. Adequate rest also improves your memory, your mood and lowers your stress.

Eat a healthy breakfast.

A healthy breakfast can prevent fatigue and help you stay alert. Naturally, a good breakfast will provide you with energy, stop you from feeling hunger before lunch and prevent you from going through a mid-morning slump. Also, decrease your caffeine and sugar intake in the morning. Caffeine may increase your heart rate and lead you to feeling jittery which you want to avoid.

Dress professionally and comfortably.

You can look sharp and be comfortable at the same time. Wear clothing and shoes that are not too restrictive. You will feel more confident when you dress right and have less to worry about with your appearance.

Arrive early and think reassuring thoughts.

Give yourself time to relax in your car and breathe. Rather than review or obsessively try to recall your answers, use the extra time to calm down. Gather your thoughts and remind yourself that everyone has gone through an interview, your interviewers included. Remember that pauses are okay and you’re allowed to think before answering. Mistakes can happen and are inevitable. Imagine the interview as a conversation. Think positive thoughts.


Give your best, genuine smile. Smiling not only sends a positive message to your interviewer and make you more relatable, it can reduce your stressful feelings, improve your mood and make you more comfortable as well. An authentic smile can be contagious.

To completely soothe our nerves may be impossible, but we can try to not let it hinder us during a job interview. For more tips on how to relax before and during an interview, read here.

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