The goal of an interview is to effectively convey that you are the one for a job. However, interviews are often seen as "high stakes" environments that cause many to experience nerves and anxiety before or during their interviews. Sweaty palms, elevated heart rate, racing thoughts, and the inability to focus are common symptoms of interview stress and anxiety. For those who have limited or no interviewing experience, preparing for an interview may be a nerve-racking experience. Even seasoned professionals with years of interview practice can feel anxious or overwhelmed while preparing for or during an interview. Below are strategies for reducing your interviewing nerves and anxiety so you can increase your chances of a successful outcome.
Feeling nervous before the big interview? Below is a short list of common symptoms of interview stress. Remember, stress affects each person differently, and the list below is by no means exhaustive. You may experience one, several, or none of these symptoms. What is most important is to know how interview stress impacts you and how to proactively respond through routine practice and preparation.
There is nothing worse than being anxious and trying to pretend that you aren't. For many, the biggest contributor to interview stress and anxiety is the fear that you are going to be visibly nervous and that you might embarrass yourself. A tool for managing this is to be honest about your nerves and anxiety on an interview and recognize that you are not alone. If you stumble over your words or your voice cracks, rather than trying to pretend that it didn't happen, frame it in a positive manner. For example, "Interviewing can cause me be to be a little nervous. Sometimes that means I might not convey my best thoughts in an interview. However, a positive trait of mine is that I'm very committed to my work and I'm confident I can bring this to your company and this position."
Most people will not fault you for your nerves. In fact, many will appreciate and respect your honesty and may even be able to relate to you. Consider that they too may be nervous as both an interviewer and interviewee, it may be their first time conducting an interview, or they may also get nervous each time they interview. Regardless, most will appreciate your bringing your full self to the situation.