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Career Advice

5 ways to deal with interview stress

Some people seem ( on the surface at least ) to take everything in their stride. Nothing seems to faze them, whilst for others, anxiety sets in, nerves can take over interviewand in turn have a detrimental impact on certain situations and experiences.

However there are some situations where dealing with those nerves and anxious feelings are a must if the end result is going to be positive – take the job interview for example. If you are one of those people for whom the mere thought of a job interview fills you with dread, fear no more – we’ve detailed 5 ways to deal with interview stress that ought to help when you’re next facing a job interview.

Be well prepared
Just as is the case with an exam, having an interview is made that bit easier, the more prepared you are. As soon as you get notice about the interview, it’s time to start getting ready. Familiarise yourself fully with the job description, and expected duties, and research the company itself. Strengthening your knowledge of the role and the organisation is a must. Also, do spend time researching some typical interview questions and suggested answers. Go through your own skills and experience and work out in advance what examples you can use for any competency style questions you are asked. Perhaps ask a friend or family member to undertake a role play of an interview with you. Whilst of course this will not exactly replicate the real thing, the more you familiarise yourself with the types of questions, and the more you practice answering them, the more confident you will become. And that confidence will help you to overcome any feelings of stress.

Practicals matter
It’s been well documented that a good diet and exercise both play an important part in our overall physical and mental well-being, and especially when we are faced with potentially stressful situations. Make sure that in the days leading up to the interview you are looking after yourself properly. Eating healthier foods, undertaking some exercise and ensuring that you get a good night’s sleep are all essential practical things that can have a positive impact overall.
The important thing to remember is that these are elements that you can personally control and which can make a real difference in a subtle and subconscious way towards your handling of stress.

Eliminate stressors
We’ve all been there – sitting in a traffic jam, getting more and more worked up because we have to be somewhere and yet the traffic is going nowhere. When you have an interview, the last thing you need is to be in a situation like this. The lesson then is to take control and try and plan for such situations and ensure that they don’t happen. Before your interview, work out exactly how you will get there and how long it is likely to take. Factor in the time of day, how reliable your public transport is, whatever. Just make sure that you get there in plenty of time. If you arrive an hour early and have to go for a coffee at a nearby cafe, so be it. It’s much better to be early than to be stressing out because you are late or worse still, actually arriving late. Also, plan what you are going to wear. Make sure that the clothes that you wear are comfortable since ill-fitting, too tight or too short clothes are only going to add to your feelings of stress. Control any potential stressors where you can.

Many people find that visualization can help them deal with interview stress. In essence this involves simply visualizing how they would like to come across. In advance of the interview, close your eyes and picture the scenario and imagine yourself answering all questions in a confident and positive manner. The more you do this, the more it will help when you are faced with the interview for real. Many actors and professional sportspeople use techniques like this every day to ensure that they perform to their best, so why shouldn’t you try it too!

Put things in perspective
It is important to remember that in reality your job interview is going to take up a fairly short amount of time, in the bigger scheme of things. Even a day long interview or assessment centre, is just that – one day in your life. Answer questions asked of you in the best way that you can, sell yourself to the interviewer and then when the interview is over, you can feel proud that you did the best you can. After all, an interview lasts just a matter of minutes or hours. Don’t get so caught up with stress and nerves that you forget this. Some people find they like to ‘reward’ themselves after an interview with a beer, or a coffee and cake – whatever works for you; do it. Having something to look forward to like this can help reinforce the fact that the interview is a temporary state and that in turn can help eradicate stressful feelings.

We hope that when next faced with an interview, these 5 Ways to deal with Interview Stress will go some way towards helping you, should you need it.
Got any other tips you’d like to share? Why not let us know via the comments section below.

Still feel that you need more interview advice? Check out Anson Reed, specialists in online interview training and 1-2-1 Interview coaching



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