7 tips for overcoming job interview anxiety

Are you feeling anxious for an upcoming job interview? Anxiety is normal – it’s our body’s way of responding to stressful events.

It’s important to remember that anxiety can be useful, some stress can help us to perform better and give us energy. However, too much can be a hinderance. Here’s some tips on how to manage interview anxiety to achieve your best performance and impress your interview panel.

  1. Preparation

It’s key to prepare for your interview. This includes:

  • Checking travel routes and times the night before the interview.
  • Researching the organisation. What is their business? What are the benefits, values, and visions?
  • Taking time to do mock interviews with your employment specialist, or family and friends. Base the questions on the job description you applied for.
  • Writing up some notes, using examples to demonstrate specifically how you match the person specification.
  1. Challenge negative thoughts

If you’re thinking “I probably won’t get this job”, change that thought to “this is my chance to prove I’ll be an asset to this organisation. I worked hard to get this interview.”

  1. Arrive early

Get to the location 15 to 20 minutes before the interview to give you the chance to calm down. Take some deep breathes, this can help your mind to focus and your body to relax. Sip water if your mouth is dry. Go through your interview notes you have prepared, remembering key skills you wish to showcase and examples of achievements.

  1. Ground yourself

If you are feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, try grounding techniques to help you regain control. Use your senses to feel connected to your current situation and to bring you back into the present moment. Think about and focus on your senses; what you can hear, see, touch and smell.

  1. Change your mindset

Try to remind yourself that it’s only a conversation – a safe space for you to talk about your work experience and what makes you a great person to join this organisation. By thinking of the interview in this way it may help you to feel less pressure.

  1. Smile and look confident

It’s important to look professional and confident. Smile confidently at everyone in the room, making warm and friendly eye contact. Not only will the employer feel you have made an effort and that you are taking the prospective role seriously, but it will help you to feel good too.

  1. Listen and pause

During the interview, listen carefully to the questions. If you don’t understand, ask the interviewer to repeat the question. Take time to pause and think about how you will reply to the questions, taking time to answer and avoiding rushing.

Formulate your answers using the STAR technique. Describe the situation and when it took place. Explain the task and what your goals were. Provide details of the actions that you took to achieve your goal. Finally, conclude with the result of your actions.

If you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming interview and need support, check if you’re eligible for employment support from Work Well.