How to prepare when interviews make you nervous

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Don’t let feeling nervous or anxious sabotage your next interview. Practicing and being prepared are your best defenses when it comes to tackling your fear. Experiencing some nervousness is understandable and natural to some degree. But when the feeling doesn’t subside, it can impact the clarity and quality of your responses. Candidates may get nervous because they don’t know exactly what to expect or fear they don’t qualify or measure up. Relieve some of that pressure and remind yourself that the best way to reduce your anxiety is to learn as much as you can about the position and what interviewers look for in a candidate.


Leave early to arrive on time

Don’t risk running late. Give yourself ample time to get to your location. Double-check you have the correct address of where you are going and who to ask for when you arrive.


Have a talk with yourself about being nervous

Have nerves and anxiety always been a part of your ‘story’ as to why you feel you are not confident or successful in your interviews?  Try to take some action to change how your story ends. Be proactive by reading information or articles online. Reach out to experts that offer opportunities to learn and practice, such as; career counselors, state job centers, or online interview coaches that specialize in conducting mock interviews. Some additional options to consider are learning to relax through hypnosis or meditation. The effect of nervousness and anxiety is different for everyone. These are suggestions for symptoms that can be managed without a medical professional.


Do your homework before your interview

Take time to read up on the company and your interviewers, if possible. Look over the job description carefully. Highlight what interests you most about the position. Note the responsibilities that you don’t fully understand.

Research commonly asked questions and think about what you want to include in your responses. Do your skills match all the qualifications listed on the job description? Note how you gained that experience or the duties in your current position. Spend some time on listing your strengths and weaknesses. Dig in and give some good thought to your strengths – try to move beyond citing basic, safe examples, such as; hard worker, good communicator or perfectionist. Think back on the positions you’ve held and try to identify what you did that created success in your role. If you have trouble coming up with descriptive words – use a thesaurus to help you find a more creative way to describe a strength or trait. Once you have your responses, practice them out loud. Repeat until you feel comfortable with your information.


Learn how to answer a behavioral question

Open-ended questions are inevitable in most interviews. They usually start with “Tell me a time when” or “Give an example of a time you handled a challenge or mistake”, etc. These questions are more difficult because there is little directive on how the question is supposed to be answered. Knowing how to structure your responses make things much easier. Research the STAR method and come up with two or three examples to work from.


Get past the idea you are being judged

A job interview is not a personal affront to you or your character. It is a professional, active exchange with the purpose of evaluating your cumulative experience and skills to do the job as well as how you will integrate into the dynamics of the company and team. Try shifting your focus from yourself and the areas that you scrutinize. We all have these struggles to some degree – the flaws you believe you have are not what others see. Choose to believe the interviewer is looking forward to meeting you, (because they are!) Your resume was chosen from hundreds of applicants. Trust that they want to get to know you and your competencies.  Show them the feeling is mutual and you are excited about the opportunity!


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