BlogJob InterviewsHow to Overcome Interview Anxiety: 9+ Useful Tips & Techniques

How to Overcome Interview Anxiety: 9+ Useful Tips & Techniques

interview anxiety

It’s completely normal to be confused and uncertain when preparing for a job interview. Some people get a sense of butterflies in their stomachs, while others feel like they are about to go cliff-diving. Regardless, interview anxiety is a common occurrence among job seekers, especially less experienced ones.

That’s why we’ve prepared a handy guide with practical tips and strategies to help you overcome this obstacle. You’ll learn how to calm and prepare yourself before the interview, what to do to soothe your mind during it, and how to relax after the event. Without further ado, let’s jump in!

Key Takeaways

  • Interview anxiety is a type of performance anxiety that results in feelings of nervousness and self-doubt before, during, and after a job interview.

  • The feeling of interview anxiety is normal, and the vast majority of people have experienced it at one point in their careers.

  • To alleviate anxiety before the interview begins, you should prepare by researching the company, coming up with answers to common interview questions, removing stressors, visualizing success, and practicing with a mock interview.

  • During the interview, you can use anxiety-relieving techniques, focus on the conversation, and ask questions to reduce stress and maintain composure.

  • To relax after an interview, you can go for a walk, talk to a friend, or engage in a hobby.

What is Interview Anxiety?

Interview anxiety is a type of performance anxiety and is one of the most common feelings of nervousness individuals get before and during a job interview. It’s your body’s response to stress triggered by a desire to perform well and impress interviewers, by the high stakes of an interview, by a concern about being evaluated, and so on.

The symptoms of interview anxiety can be both physical and psychological. Physical symptoms can vary from a racing heart and dry mouth to sweating and shaky hands. Psychologically, candidates can experience negative thoughts and difficulties concentrating.

All of this can reflect on your performance during the interview. Fortunately, there are many ways to significantly reduce the severity of interview anxiety.

How to Deal With Interview Anxiety Before the Interview

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Let’s find out how to deal with interview anxiety using steps you can take before the meeting even starts.

#1. Research the Company

By thoroughly researching the company for an interview, you’ll substantially reduce your fear of the unknown. To achieve that, you should look into the company’s mission and values, examine its latest projects and efforts, and check out the most recent news and social media posts relevant to its work.

This will give you invaluable insight into the organization and what kind of candidates they are looking for. This is one of the most important steps when writing a resume, but it is also essential in reducing interview-induced anxiety.

The knowledge obtained that way will give you confidence, which will further reflect on your ability to act naturally, showcase genuine interest in the role that you’re after, and demonstrate initiative and proactiveness.

#2. Visualize Success

While it might seem superfluous, visualizing success can help reduce your interview anxiety in more ways than one. Successful athletes and other professionals commonly utilize this technique to mentally focus on the desired outcome, boost their performance, and reduce feelings of fear and uncertainty.

That’s why you should take the time to picture yourself as clearly as possible in the interview. Envision yourself entering the room and giving optimal answers to the recruiters in an assured manner. Imagine the feeling of confidence and the sense of accomplishment you’ll have after an outstanding job interview.

A mental preparation that revolves around a positive experience conditions your mind to be more confident and less stressed.

#3. Remove Stressors

Removing stressors is a dependable way of reducing interview anxiety through a number of logistical steps. For example, you can plan and prepare the clothes that you’re going to wear ahead of the event, ensuring that they conform to the interview dress code and are comfortable.

You should also plan your travel route and arrange transportation so you don’t end up running late for the meeting. If you’re having a video or a phone interview, you should optimize your surroundings and make all the necessary preparations.

Another thing to consider is avoiding a heavy meal right before the meeting, as it might make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable. You should also avoid caffeine and other substances that are known to intensify anxiety symptoms. On the flip side, it’s recommended to get a good night’s sleep before the big day, as it helps you stay relaxed and focused.

#4. Prepare the Answers to Interview Questions

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The information obtained from researching the company and meticulously reading the job ad will help you come up with answers to the most common interview questions ahead of the meeting. That way, you will significantly reduce the chances of being caught off guard by the recruiter and having to scramble for a response.

If you’re diligent in your preparations, you can usually figure out the answers to many tricky interview questions recruiters often prepare for candidates. More than that, you’ll be able to fine-tune your answers and tailor them so that they best impress interviewers.

By removing all of these components that cause job seekers to experience interview anxiety, you’ll gain a sense of confidence and security.

#5. Come Up with Questions to Ask Interviewers

Interviews aren’t just about answering questions; they're about asking them, too. At some point, interviewers will likely inquire if you have any questions for them. This gives you the opportunity to show that you’ve done your research and that you have a genuine interest in the position and the company.

Preparing these questions in advance alleviates the pressure of having to come up with them on the spot. You’ll also be able to keep the interaction going, making it more natural and conversational. Furthermore, you’ll demonstrate that you’re a diligent and proactive candidate who is enthusiastic about the job and their role in the organization.

#6. Practice with a Mock Interview

Having a mock interview is one of the best ways to prepare for the real event and reduce any anxiety associated with it. You should try to replicate the interview environment and situation as much as possible and behave as if it’s the real deal.

That means you should answer the questions as if you’d do it as if the company’s recruiter were asking them. Furthermore, you should dress for the occasion and pay attention to your delivery and your body language.

You can ask a friend or a family member to role-play as the interviewer. Plus, you can film the interview and watch it for feedback. That way, you’ll spot ways to improve your performance, polish your answers, raise your confidence, and overall familiarize yourself with the process. All of that will significantly reduce interview anxiety.

#7. Understand That Anxiety is Normal

Interview anxiety statistics show that 93% of Americans experienced it at some point in their careers. By understanding that these situations can be stressful and that anxiety is a normal response for most people, you can reframe the feeling in your mind. Instead of looking at it as a personal flaw, you should accept it as a typical experience.

This normalization will change your expectations surrounding the interview by showing you that anxiety should not be feared. Plus, you’ll understand that recruiters know most candidates feel anxiety, which impacts their performance. This further lessens the pressure of having to put up a perfect performance.

How to Overcome Interview Anxiety During the Interview

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Feeling anxious during the interview is normal, even if you’ve done all the prep work. Fortunately, you can apply some techniques to reduce your anxiety further. These techniques are particularly helpful if you have a sudden interview anxiety attack that catches you by surprise.

#1. Use Anxiety-Relieving Techniques

There are several anxiety-relieving techniques you can use to manage stress and maintain calmness during the interview. For instance, many people tend to hold their breath or breathe shallowly when feeling stressed. That’s why you should be mindful of your breathing, slowly inhaling through the nose for a couple of seconds and then exhaling through your mouth.

Other individuals found success repeating words in their head, such as “calm” or “relax.” You can also focus on your body and relax any muscles that you notice are needlessly tense.

#2. Focus on the Conversation

By entirely focusing on the conversation and being present in the moment, you’ll substantially reduce the feeling of anxiety. Actively listen to what the interviewer is saying and concentrate on their questions to come up with optimal answers.

Being active during the conversation will help you divert your attention from feelings of nervousness or thoughts of self-doubt and inadequacy. Think of the interview as a dialogue instead of a one-way evaluation since you’re there to learn about the company and not just present skills and qualifications.

#3. Ask Questions

We’ve established that a job interview is a two-way street where you’re supposed to ask questions as well as answer them. Asking meaningful questions doesn’t just present you as an interested and motivated candidate; it also gives you the opportunity to shift focus from yourself to the interviewer.

When you ask the recruiter an insightful question, you interrupt the flow of the conversation and turn an examination into dialogue. You’ll get the feeling that you’re in more control of the situation. Plus, while listening to the other party’s response, you’ll get a few moments to compose yourself, recollect your thoughts, and prepare for the remainder of the interview.

3 Tips for Relaxing After the Interview

hr resume

Let’s wrap up this guide with a couple of interview anxiety tips that will help you relax after the meeting has finished:

Tips for Relaxing After the Interview

  1. Go for a walk to clear your mind and relieve any physical tension. A change of environment and a transition to a relaxing activity can quickly distract you and improve your mood.

  2. Contact a friend or a family member. Simply talking about the interview and sharing your experience can have a therapeutic effect. It’ll help you process any difficult emotions and relieve stress.

  3. Engage in a hobby or a personal interest. This will take your mind off things and help you return to your normal activities.

Final Thoughts

As we’re bringing this exploration of interview anxiety to a close, let’s remember that feelings of nervousness and self-doubt are a normal part of the process. The goal of all the tips and guidelines outlined in this article is not to remove the anxiety entirely but to help you manage it and ensure it doesn’t affect your performance.

Severe interview anxiety can influence the way you think, talk, and behave, but the good news is that there are many things you can do to prevent it. That’s why we’ve taught you how to prepare for the meeting, what to do if you start feeling anxious during it, and even how to relax after the fact. Best of luck acing that interview!

Kervin Peterson
Kervin Peterson
Career Coach
Whether you need help preparing for an interview, optimizing your LinkedIn profile, or creating a resume, you can rest assured that our dear Kervin Peterson can help! Kervin is a man who can turn obstacles into experience with his eyes closed, always striving to bring the most to the table. Other than being a career coach, he’s a new dad and loves nothing more than hitting the gym and spending time with his family!

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