Handling Job Interview Stress

John Krautzel
Posted by in Career Advice

It's no secret that a job interview and stress go hand-in-hand. Meeting the hiring manager and trying to show how you bring value to the organization can be a trying experience, to say the least. You can prepare in advance, but it's impossible to predict exactly what questions you'll be asked. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to manage those stressful, anxious thoughts.

Before you try to eliminate stress entirely, consider the benefits. Nobody wants to feel stressed out, but a healthy amount can actually motivate you to reach your full potential. After all, if you didn't really care about the job, you wouldn't feel any stress before the job interview. If you're feeling worried, that means you genuinely care about the job, and there's a strong chance that an experienced, perceptive hiring manager will pick up on that.

Now, try to come to terms with the fact that you're not going to be able to eliminate all of your stress before the job interview. It's simply not possible. Instead, try to meet those negative feelings head-on. Acknowledge the stress, and then take preparation steps to keep it at bay. For example, if you're stressing out because you feel you lack the necessary skills to land the job, brush up on your skills. Do some practice and research. If you're stressing because you don't know what to say, practice responses to standard job interview questions. Familiarize yourself with the company and position, just like you would study for a test at school.

The hiring manager may ask questions that you're not ready for. Practicing answers out loud helps to get you in the zone, but you're not going to be able to use canned responses for the entire job interview, and that's a good thing. Experienced hiring managers can tell when you're simply reciting a rehearsed answer. Instead, try to stay composed, and form authentic answers on the spot. Don't feel as if you need to respond the moment a question is asked. Take a breath, compose yourself, and speak clearly and honestly.

Remember that you're not powerless in a job interview situation. You may be seeking employment, but the company is seeking a new employee, too. Go in to the job interview with the mindset that you're also interviewing them. Remind yourself that you're bringing value to the organization. It can be easy to lose sight of your own worth, especially if you really need the job, but seeking employment is a two-way street.

Finally, don't ever underestimate the importance of personal comfort during a job interview. It may be tempting to dress in your finest suit, but that may not be the best idea in the middle of a hot summer. You want to look and feel comfortable and relaxed. Of course, that doesn't mean you should wear jeans and a T-shirt. If in doubt, opt for comfortable business-casual attire.

In the days before the big day, try not to dwell on it too much. Don't let the interview occupy your every waking thought. In most cases, the job interview ends up being much easier than you built it up to be. Prepare, recognize your true worth and be yourself, and things will likely be fine.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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