Your palms are sweaty. Your heart is racing and you think you may have just forgotten your first name.
You have a classic case of performance anxiety, also known as the “pre-interview jitters.”
Waiting to begin your interview is a stressful time – the minutes can feel like hours. If, like many job seekers, you’re prone to getting nervous while you’re in the waiting room, use these tips from PrideStaff to shake-off pre-interview anxiety:
Prepare carefully. In the days leading up to your interview, research the company. Practice the answers to typical interview questions. Plan what you’ll say if the interviewer stumps you. Take a dry-run to the interview location. Lay out your outfit.
Bottom line, do whatever you can to eliminate the variables and unknowns that make interview situations stressful. Knowing where you’re going, what you’re going to wear, what you’re going to say and how you will field unanticipated questions will boost your confidence – and eliminate the dread you’re likely to feel if you’re unprepared for the experience.
De-stress before the interview. Have excess energy? Plan a run (and a shower) before heading off to your interview. Afraid you’ll blank out in the interview? Write down the reasons you’re the best person for the job while you’re waiting. Prone to shaky hands? Close your eyes and take a few deep, slow breaths – and skip the pre-interview caffeine, which only contributes to the jitters.
Humor and music are two other tried-and-true ways to combat pre-interview anxiety. On your ride there, listen to a recording of your favorite comedian or band. Laughing and singing along will drain that nervous energy and release feel-good endorphins.
Realize that the interviewer likes you already. If you’ve been singled out for an in-person interview, chances are the hiring manager already thinks you’re qualified. Walk into the interview confident in your abilities, knowing that you’ve already made it through the first (and maybe even second) round of cuts.
Admit that you’re nervous. If you’re feeling stressed, trying to hide the fact may make things worse. Take the pressure off by telling the interviewer that you’re a little anxious. Say something like, “I apologize. I’m a bit nervous, since I haven’t interviewed in awhile.” In the interviewer’s eyes, this will make you appear honest and relatable – while showing that the opportunity is important to you.
Listen. Think. Speak. If you tend to blurt out answers or talk over people when you’re nervous, this one is critical. Focus on what the interviewer asks you. Think through your talking points before responding – and then state your answer. Employing this technique will calm you, slow you down and make you appear more confident once you’re in the interview.
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