You’ve been doing the work, applying for jobs and finally get the good news – you got an interview! At first, you’re excited and relieved, but as the day approaches, your initial confidence is clouded with anxiety. What questions will they ask? What will you say? What if you can’t think of an answer?
These are all normal fears that can be put to rest with these simple steps:
Do your research
First, learn as much as you can about the company and the people with whom you will interview. It is better to be informed and over-prepared than to feel you are walking into an interview blindly. Knowledge truly is power. Be prepared to ask educated questions about the company and your work environment. You want them to know you’ve done your research and are serious about the opportunity. At the same time, you want to make sure this is a good fit for you as well.
Do a test run
Anticipate standard interview questions, such as: “What are your strengths?” and “What are your weaknesses?”. Decide in advance what you will say when asked these questions and practice your answers out loud. Approach questions with honesty but portray yourself in a positive light. Now is the time to share your successes and highlight your strengths.
Get enough sleep
This seems simple, but anxiety can keep you up at night. Go to bed earlier than usual to account for this. Try drinking some calming tea. Avoid screen time right before bed. Listen to soothing sounds or music to help you drift off to a peaceful sleep.
Try driving to the company a few days before the interview to get an estimate of how long it will take. Add 10-15 minutes to this total to ensure you have enough time. It’s always better to be too early than to be late. If you do arrive too early, try to take your mind off it by doing something unrelated to the interview, such as browsing your favorite website. Call or text a friend who you know will be on hand to give you that last little bit of encouragement.
Dress for success
Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Dress as if you already work there. Prepare two outfits in case you change your mind on the day of the interview. Whatever you plan on wearing, make sure you feel good and confident wearing it! Own it (and don’t forget to smile)!
If you need time to think, just say so
If someone asks you a question and you can’t think of an answer, give yourself some time. Say, “That’s a good question. I need a little time,” or “I hadn’t considered that before. Let me think.”
They need you, too
There is a reason you already got this far. They saw something they liked about you and called you for an interview. Don’t doubt yourself now! You’ve got this! They may be interviewing you, but keep in mind, they are also trying to persuade you to work with them. Job searches are a two-way street.
Remember to breathe
When you notice yourself feeling stressed, slowly take a deep breath and hold it for the count of three. Then, slowly exhale. Repeat this until you start to feel yourself relaxing.
Bring several copies of your resume, including one for yourself
Keep one on hand for yourself in case your mind blanks out during the interview. You can quickly glance down and refresh your memory.
Get in the groove
Do whatever it is you do to pump yourself up and get yourself motivated. Listen to your favorite songs and sing along. Give yourself a Rocky-style pep talk in the mirror. Get up early and work out. Dance if you want to. This is your moment to shine.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself!
Remember, you’re doing the best that you can. Put it into perspective. This is just a small portion of your life and will be over before you know it. Just be you. If you’re worried it won’t go well, just remember that this is not the only job in the world. There will be other opportunities. You will eventually find the right job for you.
Don’t say everything you think
It is natural to want to say the first thing that pops into your mind when you’re nervous. This can be good and bad. Take a moment to pause before answering to ensure that your first reaction is the answer you want to give.
Now you’re ready! If you keep these things in mind, your path to a successful interview will go smoother than you think. Most importantly, just be yourself. It is the only way for everyone involved to know if this is really a good career fit. Approach every interview as a chance to learn and grow. You can do this!