I get so anxious for job interviews and I worry so much. What can I do to feel more relaxed?
Now that the recession is lifting and the job market is opening up, people are starting to get more job opportunities. The interview process is emotionally taxing, particularly in today’s economic climate. An extended period of unemployment can create financial burdens and other turmoils. These various pressures can make the interview process scarier, because more seems to be at stake.
First, being nervous for an interview is normal and can actually be helpful. Mild levels of anxiety can sometimes help motivate us to prepare for important situations. However, sometimes our nerves can feel overwhelming and often have us thinking unrealistically about the future.
Anxiety is a physical response to external and internal stimuli that can influence our thinking and vice versa. When we get nervous, our parasympathetic system is engaged and releases hormones into our blood stream that prepare us for an emergency. In this day and age, there usually isn’t one (e.g. a large mammal chasing you for dinner), but our body and minds still respond the same way, often bringing us many worries. What if I freeze up or my mind goes blank? What if I don’t know the answer to a question and I don’t get the job? What if they think I’m stupid? Our minds can imagine the worst scenarios and when we’re anxious we forget these fantasies are often just that, fantasies.
Here are some tips to help you reduce your anxiety and help you feel confident about your interview.
- Remember, anxiety is normal. You can do a great job even if you feel nervous, it might even help you prepare and give you a little energy.
- You may want to try doing some deep breathing before the interview. This can be done while you’re on the bus, in the parking lot in your car, or while you’re waiting to be called into your interview. It may be helpful to practice before the day of the interview so you feel comfortable breathing this way. Sit up straight and slowly pull your breath down into your belly and count from two to five, whatever feels most comfortable. Exhale slowly, taking an extra count or two to finish. A few minutes of deep breathing can relax the body and mind.
- Question the validity of your worries. What are the chances of your mind going blank or freezing up? Do you have to answer every question perfectly to be a great candidate for the position? Can you think of some times when you felt intelligent and capable?
- Prepare your outfit the day before the interview, and have a back up wardrobe plan in case you happen to spill coffee or get a run in your stockings. Make sure your car has gas the night before, and you know the route to take to get to the interview office. Being prepared can help you feel more confident and taking care of these small things can prevent extra stress from arising on the day of your interview.
No one is one hundred percent qualified for a job, and no matter who the company hires the new employee will have to be trained. The truth is, sometimes the interviewer is harsh and throws a curveball question that you may not be prepared for, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to answer every question perfectly. Plus, this is a two way interview. You are a valuable resource and you are interviewing the company in many ways. Does this company fit your lifestyle?
Remember you don’t have to be perfect to be a great candidate for the job.
So-Mai Brown M.F.T.I #58368 *Under the Supervision of Catherine Auman, M.F.T