Interviews are not very fun. A job interview is a very unnatural situation to be in and feels like you are being judged (probably because you are).
For anyone who doesn't enjoy things out of their control, a job interview is not a very pleasant scenario. People understandably put a lot of pressure and expectations on their interviews, which builds up worry and fear. The stress of it all can really hamper your chances of success.
So how can you combat this? Well, this article should give you some tips for coping with interview anxiety and give you the confidence you need to succeed and get the job.
Practice Makes Perfect
You've heard it before, practice makes perfect. You may not hit the heights of perfection by the time you come around to doing your interview but preparation is key if you are going to succeed with job interviews.
Do your research on the company, plan out some answers, and make sure you're ready for anything that may be thrown at you. Fear of the unknown is very common and frustrating to deal with, but preparation will go a long way for your big day.
Of course, you won't know what's going to happen in the interview, but keep in mind that if you're prepared for every eventuality, there is no need to fear your job interview.
Reflect on your Previous Experiences
If you've had experience with job interviews in the past, think back on those and how they went. If they were good, think about all the things that made them positive and take those with you to your next interview.
Did you answer the questions well? Did you say something that intrigued the interviewer? If so, how can you ensure that this is the case at your next interview?
If there's a past interview that didn't go well, think about the reasons it could have gone better. Which response was it that made it a less than ideal experience and how can you prevent that from happening again? Were you so nervous during the interview process that you couldn't think properly and all your answers came out wrong?
Don't worry, you're human. Prepare yourself for the kind of questions you may get, compose yourself, and try again this time.
If you're caught off guard with a question you were not expecting and can't think of a suitable answer off the bat, don't panic. Take a second, compliment the interviewer on their question, and ask for a moment to consider it. The interviewer is unlikely to penalize you for politely asking for some time, in fact, they are likely to be impressed by your composure.
Worst case scenario, you keep your response very short, or aren't sure what to say and have to admit it. Even if they totally stump you, don't give in to fear and anxiety. There's only so much you can research and prepare for before interviewing.
Preparing material beforehand to answer the interviewer well is something that can help, but it's no guarantee. Regardless, don't panic or have fear. Your skill set and job experience can still keep you on their shortlist whether you nail the interview or not. Just do your best!
Prepare Answers for Common Questions
As previously mentioned, preparation is absolutely key to a successful interview. One of the best ways to be prepared during a job search for anything that interviewers throw at you is to draft answers for the most common interview questions. If you're prepared with examples, anecdotes, and a strong fluid answer, your fears will soon disappear.
Some of the most common interview questions that you may be expected to answer include but are not limited to:
- Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- What did you most enjoy about your previous job?
- What did you most dislike about your previous job?
- What are you hoping to gain from this job?
- What are your key strengths?
- What is your biggest weakness?
- What is the biggest project you have participated in? What was your role in the project?
- Tell me about a time when you took a leadership role in a project.
- What is your biggest career success?
- What is your biggest career failure?
Having an idea of how you would answer some of those questions will go a long way and ease many of your interview fears.
The Bottom Line
The most important thing to remember when you have an interview coming up is that it is just a job interview. That may sound counter-intuitive when the ultimate goal is to secure the job, but don't get into a mind set of fear and panic over it. It may be an excellent opportunity but there will be others at other times.
Do not put all the pressure in the world onto your shoulders because that will only make interviewing harder. Take note of the tips in this article to refine your interview skills, be prepared, and keep some perspective. Good luck!