Interviewing with anxiety can be one of the most heart-wrenching experiences. You question everything….LITERALLY EVERYTHING. But it’s something we all have to go through. No matter our circumstance, in order to get a job, we need to be interviewed. Damn. In my more recent experiences, I have found useful tips on how to eliminate interview anxiety.
A couple weeks ago, I talked about How I Quit My Job. I mentioned my feeling of freedom. And while I am absolutely in love with how much happier I am, I know that a job is necessary. So I’m looking. But I’m promising myself that I will never enter a situation that will put my health at risk again.
So…I had two interviews this week. One job, I really wanted. The other was just a backup option. But regardless of how I felt about each position, my anxiety was off the charts.
I like to think I kept it hidden pretty well. But God knows my mind went in all types of directions.
What would I wear? Don’t forget to print out your resume. Do your makeup! But don’t put on too much. Did I forget deodorant? What if they hate me? Or worse, what if they love me? I’m perfect for this job. Wait, I lie…I don’t want to work. But…I need a job. No…I want to curl up in bed. I’m bored. God, please let this all work out. God, can’t I just stay home?
I mean, obviously the questions are endless.
As someone who prides herself in not caring what others think, it’s hilarious that I worry so much about what an interviewer thinks of me. And on the flip side, it’s almost impossible to tell myself not to care. I mean…their judgement is what could get me the job.
Just sitting across from someone who is obviously taking in every single detail…it’s nerve wrecking. Noting the way I dressed, how firm my handshake was, whether or not I am polite, how well I can or cannot speak. It’s debilitating.
And every little facial expression makes me even more self conscious. I smile while thinking, ‘did I say something wrong? Could I have given a better answer. God, they hate me.’
I hate it so much.
Walking into an interview…knowing that I am being openly judged…its just the absolute worst.
But…It’s part of the interview. They have to judge me. They have to judge my answers, my appearance, whether or not I’m fit for the job.
I know this. I do.
But I hate it with EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING!
Judgement is something that we all try to avoid. We like to blend into the background.
And even though, I like to stand out and be unique, it’s still frightening to open yourself up to judgement. Because unlike the random stranger on the street…you have to care about what these interviewers think of you.
They hold your fate in their hands.
So…to avoid meltdowns, I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you through interview anxiety. Not all will work, some will just work more than others. Whatever the case, do what works best for you…so that you are as prepared as you can be.
1. Choose your battles: One of our biggest struggles is not allowing the anxiety to defeat us before the interview even starts. But this trick is key. We can’t control the interviewer, what they think or even the questions they give us. Not even when the interview is occurring. So why waste our breath worrying about it? Easier said than done, I know. But we can’t focus on something we can’t control. What we can control is our own decision leading up to the interview. Our outfit, our timing, our research about the job. Focus your energy on what you can control and contribute to. And when you start to become anxious about something out of your control, just breathe and step away.
2. Practice. This may seem silly, even downright stupid, but it works. Stand in the mirror and practice your smile. Your handshake. How you introduce yourself. Give yourself fake questions and practice the answers. Write small scripts that you can use as tools for the real interview. Or, if it makes you feel better, have a friend or family member pretend to give you an interview. Give them general questions to ask so that you can be familiar and comfortable when you answer the real ones.
3. Exercise. If you’re able, do some exercise the morning of. This will help get your anxiety out, calm you down, put your energy into something healthy. It doesn’t have to be an exhausting three hour workout. Just enough to get your heart pumping and your body less tense. Yoga, run, dance to your favorite song, any energy expending activity will relax your body, and in turn, help relax your mind.
4. Enjoy a Self-Care Night. The night before your interview, give yourself time to focus on you. Take a relaxing bath, listen to soothing music, go for a drive, color. Do something that you love, something that naturally calms you, something that soothes your soul. Whatever it is, allow yourself the opportunity to erase your anxiety and show yourself a little TLC. I’m sure up to this point, you’ve done enough worrying. So just do your best to soothe your mind.
5. Take advantage of the journey. On your way to the interview, find an activity that can pump you up. Put on your favorite song and sing along loudly. Chew gum to get your brain thinking. Take the scenic route to relax you. Pray if you want to. Full the journey with activities that will prepare you and calm you.
6. It’s no big thing. It may seem counter-productive. And downright stupid to some. But if you tell yourself that the interview is no big deal, that it doesn’t matter too much, maybe you don’t really ‘want’ or ‘need’ the job, you trick yourself into not stressing about the interview too much. Since the stakes are not so high, the pressure you put in yourself is much less. This is not to say that you go into the interview without having showered or wearing sweats, but rather that you don’t allow yourself the opportunity to place your whole well-being on this one conversation.
7. Trust the cliches. This is the toughest one for me to remember. But I do my best. Someone will always say, ‘if it’s meant to be, it will be. You’ll find the job that’s right for you. Don’t be nervous, it’ll work out. Trust god, he will take care of you.’ Even though we all hate these cliches…sometimes, with a burning passion, they could not be more true. Because yes, everything will work out. Yes, you will find the job that’s mean for you. And yes, just trust God or the universe, or yourself…you will be guided in the right direction. Just trust.
So there they are. A few useful tips on keeping anxiety to a minimum. Interviews are some of the most stressful situations. But if we play our cards right, they don’t have to be.
Let me know what tactics you use to keep your anxiety down.
Woman of Steel