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8 Ways to Conquer Anxiety Before an Interview

Anxiousness when you have an interview is expected, but can also be prevented. Here are some ideas on how to combat your nerves so they don’t get out of control and end up sabotaging your chances during the hiring process:

  • Be OK with Being Nervous
  • Remind Yourself You’ve Done This Before
  • Plan Ahead
  • Practice Speaking About Yourself
  • Listen to Music, the Radio or Podcasts
  • Keep Hydrated
  • Remember: It’s Just A Conversation
  • Know The End Result

Be OK with Being Nervous

Overcoming job interview anxiety can be tough, but it’s a good idea to recognize that being nervous is OK and every job seeker has gone through it. What you don’t want is to harbor the kind of anxiety that is crippling to your ego and will otherwise stunt a positive interview experience.

Plus, you shouldn’t try to force yourself to calm down; that approach only creates more stress. For everyone, there’s a certain amount of fear that comes with the interview process, and knowing that you’re not alone may help you cope. Maybe ask a family member or friend about how nervous they were before interviewing for their current job. Their stories and experiences may help you get over your own worries, and not turn your molehill of nervousness into a mountain of anxiety.

Their stories and experiences may help you get over your own worries, and not turn your molehill of nervousness into a mountain of anxiety.

Remind Yourself You’ve Done This Before

Even if your last job didn’t work out as expected, remember that you’ve gone through the stress of interviewing before… and survived! You were even hired, due to your talents, experience and the way you carried yourself.

Even recalling your feelings when you were awarded your last position should help put your mind at ease, give you confidence knowing you’ve accomplished this before, and hopefully will help you understand that, much like riding a bicycle, doing well in an interview is something you never forget how to do! (Note: This tip is for those who aren’t entering the workforce for the very first time)

Plan Ahead

Anything you can do to avoid feeling rushed, preoccupied or generally not yourself on the day of the interview will be key. This can include setting your route for arriving early and not feeling lost on your way to the interview, knowing your wardrobe ahead of time or accomplishing things that will make you feel generally prepared.

Remember, anxiety levels can be different depending on the person — and sure, choosing your interview clothing can be nerve-racking — but it’s important to gauge what will calm you down and relieve stress, and no one knows this better than you!

Practice Speaking About Yourself

You’ll be expected to talk extensively about your background, goals and experience during the interview, so while you want to be prepared, you also don’t want to sound overly-scripted, or repeat exactly what’s already on your résumé. Go over some talking points you want to touch upon and have a few things that aren’t on your application to bring up when you have the floor. Rehearse it, but make sure it sounds conversational.

Listen to Music, the Radio or Podcasts

On your way to the interview, listen to songs that will take your mind off your nerves. Whether your preferred audio is soothing or amped up, experts say that enjoying music prior to a big event like a job interview, sporting match or other activity where you’ll be in the spotlight helps boost confidence. Or if you prefer podcasts, enjoy an episode of your favorite program before your meeting. Usually, being silent with your anxious thoughts isn’t a particularly great way to go into your interview.

Keep Hydrated

Granted, a job interview isn’t like running a marathon but in this way, you should prep like it is. Though you should eat a light meal, drinking water as well prior to your interview will help keep food cravings away and keep your voice in good shape, as you’ll be doing a lot of speaking that day and you don’t want to be coughing a lot or for your throat to go dry. However, don’t go overboard — you don’t want to have to make constant bathroom trips, especially during your interview!

Remember: It’s Just A Conversation

Yes, you’ve been seeking a new job and you might think everything relies on this interview going 100% perfectly. But it’s still critical to not forget that this is really just a conversation between you and the hiring manager, not a federal investigation.

If you’re tense, it will show during this meeting, so while you want to be prepared to answer as many questions as your interviewer will have, stay friendly, cordial and loose. If you seem too stiff, this will be picked up on and it may control the interview.

Know The End Result

It’s clear that you won’t know going into an interview whether or not you’ll be offered a position at all, let alone that day. But knowing the end result means simply understanding the logical expectations of an interview, and not thinking beyond that. Keep in mind that you’re there to simply answer the hiring manager’s questions, speak a bit more about yourself (job history, strengths/weaknesses, etc.) and to ask your own questions about the position and company.

Anything else, whether it’s a follow-up interview or a job offer, will likely be brought up at a later date, so don’t wear yourself out by worrying about what you cannot control at this point. Be present and active in the conversation happening at that moment. It will hopefully lead to the next positive step!


Next Steps

Interested in working with a Milwaukee staffing agency to find your next career? Whether you are searching for a temporary position, part-time work, or a full-time career, we’re here to help. Just tell us about yourself here to get started, or check out our Milwaukee job board.

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