You know the telltale pre-interview signs: your heart is racing, your palms are slick with sweat, your mouth’s dryer than the Sahara and you feel like if you even try to part your lips to say something even slightly intellectual, all that’s going to spew out is total gibberish. Yep, sounds about right. It’s no secret that interviews are huge sources of stress and anxiety. Though they may be uncomfortable, they’re an unavoidable (and necessary!) part of life, so we might as well strive to conquer them as best as we can.
Remember, you’ve landed this interview for a reason — you have the skills to succeed at this job. When you’re anxious, a looming interview may feel like a police interrogation, but it doesn’t have to. Consider it an opportunity to recount your proudest accomplishments and how those efforts can seamlessly translate into your potential new job. Remember, if you’ve made it to the interview stage, they’re already interested in you — all you need to do is seal the final puzzle piece by pitching them how awesome and qualified you are.
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Oh, and prepare.
The absolute best cure to your pre-interview jitters is to be so prepared, you could ace a test on the company's values and culture. Do your research — customizing your interview answers with the company’s goals in mind will help you stand out from your competitors. Practice answering common resume-based and behavioral questions, and research company-specific questions. If the company has a free online service of any kind, test it out. Anticipate tough questions and develop a strategy to help you recover if you’re lost for an immediate response. Look up what not to do and say in an interview. Print extra copies of your resume the night before, lay out your professional outfit and craft a list of role-relevant questions to ask your interviewer.
2. Sleep and eat a good breakfast.
This may seem obvious, but in reality it’s hard for many people to get a good night’s rest with an impending interview the next morning. Limit screen time the night before to help ease your descent into slumber, and shoot for at least seven hours to strengthen your mind with REM sleep. In the morning, eat a hearty breakfast. Even if you’re a habitual breakfast-skipper, you should try to eat something to fuel your body and prevent any awkward mid-sentence stomach growls.
A lot of people dismiss meditation, but it can be like extremely beneficial if you do it right. Before an interview, it can help get your head in the right place and curb your nerves that are bouncing off the walls. Meditation has many benefits: it reduces stress, fosters clear thinking, and can help you control your emotions in stressful situations — a skill greatly needed during the interview process. The morning of, wake up 15 minutes early and find a quiet, comfortable place to sit. Close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and free your mind of everything. The physical, mental, and emotional effects of meditating will greatly benefit your state of mind pre-interview, making you feel clear-headed and calm.
4. Avoid social media the day of.
It’s hard to break the habit of constantly checking social media for friends’ updates and interesting news, but you should definitely cut yourself off the day of your interview. The last thing you want to do the day of your interview is check Facebook and see that the president has challenged Kim Jong-Un to a rap battle. Checking social media accounts carries the risk of seeing disturbing or unexpected news that could throw you off your game and yield another worry to sit in the back of your mind during your interview. Avoid checking social media platforms until after your interview is finished.
5. Get there early.
Nothing will make you more flustered and anxious than arriving late to your interview. Plan ahead by mapping out how long it’ll take to get to the interview location and give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes. If you’re still anxious about arriving on time, you can scope out the destination the day before and practice the drive in case there are any construction detours or tricky parking lots.
6. Power pose before your interview.
Yes, really. Research conducted by a Harvard Business School professor shows that taking a power stance before you walk into your interview can increase your confidence levels, aiding in your performance and perceived hireability. The wide stance actually changes your body’s chemistry and can make you feel more powerful. So before your next interview, fight the urge to cower and slump over in your chair, and stand up straight with your hands on your hips, superhero-style.
Now, get in there and slay it. If you have faith in your abilities and follow these tips, you’ll be better equipped to make an amazing first impression. Just think of it as a friendly, professional conversation in which you brag a little more than usual and demonstrate your ability to crush it in the workplace. Good luck!
By Cara Hutto