How To Reduce Stress During Job Interview

In: How To

After weeks of sending out your resume, you finally got an invitation to an interview… Sounds like a great news! But here the X day comes, and you feel nauseous, your palms are sweaty and you are scared to death that you’ll say or do something wrong… Looks familiar, isn’t it? Well, you’re not alone. 96% of the US job-seekers are so stressed before an interview that they experience problems with sleep. And the more important the prospective job is for you, the more likely you’ll feel nervous and uneasy about the upcoming interview. So, how to calm down your nerves and come for an interview well prepared?

Luckily, there’s a vast array of stress minimization techniques, from obvious to very odd ones. You can take advantage of any of them to make sure the interview goes smooth and you’ll present yourself in most favorable light. Our best online resume service gladly shares the most helpful ways tried by hundreds and thousands of job-seekers across the US.

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The day before an interview

Do a research on the company (if you still didn’t!)
Keeping informed about the company profile and recent changes will show your genuine interest and serve as a starting point for a good conversation. Moreover, by educating yourself about the company, you’ll feel a boost of confidence as you already know how to handle company-related questions. Being well aware about the company will also enable you to highlight the cultural fit, and some companies value it above knowledge and skills.

Calm down your body and mind
It’s not a secret that our mental condition is closely connected with our body. To make sure you’ll feel well during tomorrow’s interview try doing the following in advance:

  • . Little can compare to a good exercise in terms of boosting energy and reducing stress levels. An hour in the gym (or at least half an hour of home exercise) will help you think clearly and feel more positive about the upcoming big day. The reason for it is that even moderate exercise has a mood enhancement effect and rewards you with multiple additional benefits if you exercise regularly.
  • Have a good night sleep
    it’s recommended that you sleep at least 6-7 hours before an interview. If you have problems going to sleep, take a sleeping pill prescribed by a therapist. It’s not the best idea to show up with those bags under your eyes – the hiring manager might think that you’ve partied all night and suspect that you don’t take an interview seriously.
    Tired of counting the sheeps with no result? Try taking a bath with some essential oils and have a cup of herbal tea (lemonbalm or mint are good options). The power of natural herbs and essential oils can help relieve the symptoms of insomnia.

Make sure your resume is in the order
it’s a real nightmare to leave for an interview and suddenly realize that you forgot to grab the pile and references pile… So, prepare the necessary documents in advance. If you bring any additional documents with you for an interview, it makes sense to proofread them so that the errors pointed out at by an interviewer wouldn’t make you blush. See here how correct punctuation for resume looks like.

Rehearse the answers and your speech
it’s possible to cope with all your fears by simply preparing written answers and practicing answering them in front of someone or on the camera. Research the most frequently asked interview questions and think of how you would answer them, and write the answers down. If your answers lack confidence or sound negatively, replay them. Then, dress up and ask friend or family member to play an interview with you. Watch your body language and tone – they sometimes say more about you than just words. And it won’t do you any harm to learn more and get rid of bad interview habits – you can read more of them here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/10-forbidden-habits-during-job-interview.

Revise the etiquette rules
Although some companies may believe the etiquette is outdated, showing the knowledge of the basic rules of office conduct and communication will only contribute to a positive impression about you. Even if you’ve worked in a relaxed, casual environment previously, chances are that your prospective employer turns out to be conservative. So, if you can’t recall the rules of workplace etiquette, take a few minutes to refresh them in your mind. By the way, one of these rules mentions getting dressed in accordance with the company’s corporate culture rules – have you prepared your interview outfit already?

Clarify the interview type
There are three most popular types of face-to-face interviews: traditional, group, and panel interview. To succeed at the interview, you need to know the type in advance, as the strategies for preparation for different types will vary. Having found out the interview type in advance, you’ll be able to play all the possible outcomes of such interview in your mind, thus minimizing the stress. For example, a group interview requires paying special attention to showing your leadership capabilities and teamwork.  If this is the interview type chosen by the employer, see how to pass group interview successfully.

The interview day

Schedule interview in the morning
The best part of the day for interviewing is morning. Why? Not only in the morning the hiring manager is more productive and energized, but also you’ll get the job day and relieve from stress of waiting. There’s nothing worse than spend the entire day anticipating the interview, imagining possible outcomes and feeling more and more stressed. So, whenever possible, schedule that interview before 12 am and indulge yourself with a good rest afterwards.

Arrive early
it’s an absolutely bad sign if you are late for an interview. So, if you are afraid to be late because of traffic jams or other circumstances, arrive for an interview earlier. It’s better to come 30 minutes before an interview and wait for the HR in a café nearby than to blush and apologize for being late. However, if you happened to arrive like 40 minutes before the interview, avoid spending this time in the company office. Time management is one of the skills employers value high – to find out which skills determine career success, see here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/10-skills-for-career-success-from-cv-proofreading-service.

Eat light
A heavy meal right before the interview can make you feel sleepy and uncomfortable, especially if you have stomach issues. It won’t help you keep your mind sharp and positive. Keeping yourself hungry is not the best solution either – when you want to eat, it’s hard to focus your thoughts on work. A cup of tea and a snack (or a fruit if you are dieting) will help you be nourished and not overeat at the same time.

Relax while waiting for an interview
The process of waiting is probably the most stressful part of the interview. Don’t let your thoughts run in your head on their own, as it’s easy to get petrified of the upcoming interview this way. Instead, utilize one of the following techniques to put your thoughts together and relieve yourself from unnecessary pressure:

  • Do some breathing exercises. Take a deep breath, hold your breath and exhale slowly. As you slow down your breath, your heartbeat slows down as well and it helps you feel more relaxed. Breathing out negative thoughts and breathing in positive ones can also help.
  • Dab some cold water on your wrists and behind the ears. The arteries in these parts of our body come closer to the surface, that’s why cold water will calm you down and have stimulating effect on your nervous system at the same time.
  • Listen to classical (or simply calm and relaxing) music. The right choice of music will help your brain set for the interview process. Moreover, listening to one or two calming tracks before getting in will distract you from nervousness and negative thoughts.
  • Use visualization techniques. Visualize the interview coming on a positive note. Think of yourself as a person that shows confidence and professionalism, answers all questions with an upbeat attitude and is liked by an interviewer. Use all of your senses to visualize the picture fully and make it realistic in your mind.

Cope with nervousness signs
Even if you are well prepared you can start experience nervousness right after you’ve entered the office. Trembling hands, low (or unusually high) voice, feeling of insecurity… Despite of your nervousness, you need to send the signs of confidence from the very beginning, and a good way to do so is through the right handshake. Here are a few tricks on how to put your thoughts together and feel more relaxed:

  • Watch your body language – avoid closed positions (when arms or legs are crossed). Make yourself comfortable in a chair and make sure your position is open, shoulders are relaxed and you keep eye contact with an interviewer. Body language sends subconscious signs to your interlocutor, and if you don’t follow it, they’ll notice your nervousness. It’s hard to make a good impression when you are stressed; luckily, the appropriate body language works for you too. In other words, when you sit and smile confidently, you start feeling more confident indeed. As they say, ‘fake it till you make it’.
  • Avoid gestures of nervousness – touching your face and hair, trembling fingers not only signalize that you feel uncomfortable, but also can be interpreted as a sign that you’re lying! If you can’t hide nervousness, take a pen or paper to keep your hands busy. It’s a good idea to take your resume or reference list to literally be on the same page with an interviewer.
  • Trembling voice or dry mouth? Sip some water time after time to relax the tensed throat. If offered, have some tea – warm liquids cope with it even better. Moreover, a small pause as you drink will help you organize your thoughts and take a break to think of a good answer for an interviewer’s tricky question.
  • Lost the thread? If you have problems concentrating on the subject matter or feel that you forgot what you were trying to say, paraphrase the interviewer’s question and ask them what exactly they wanted to hear from you. This will save you some time to think of the proper answer.

Remember you’re not the one who is being evaluated
Job interviews are often described as a type of interaction where the candidate must be up to scratch and look perfect in all regards. However, this is not completely true. A hiring manager is interested in finding and hunting the right candidate just as strong as you are interested in getting the job. They have lots of other work to do besides conducting endless interviews. Moreover, a hiring manager might be tired and stressed by their work, too (by the way, here’s the guide to finding inspiration for work: http://resumeperk.com/blog/10-ways-to-find-lost-desire-and-inspiration). Given this, a hiring manager isn’t focused solely on you, so you can breathe out and feel more relaxed.

Lower the importance of getting the job
Probably, the role you’re interviewing for is a perfect opportunity for achieving work success. Nevertheless, it isn’t the last worthy job out there; so, don’t overestimate its importance for you. When you have a dream job at stake, it’s much harder to concentrate and behave naturally during the interview. By realizing that you’ll get another great job if you don’t get this one you’ll significantly reduce mental pressure.

Ask questions
An interviewer isn’t the only person that asks questions. Asking questions will help you minimize the uncertainty about the prospective role and the stress caused by it. Make sure to pick the right questions – if you lack inspiration, see the examples of 10 best and worst interview questions. In addition to helping you learn more about the role and your cultural fit, right questions make a lasting positive impression on a hiring manager.
The best time to ask your questions is at the end of the interview; before leaving the office, try asking one of the questions from this list: http://resumeperk.com/blog/top-15-questions-to-end-the-interview-with.

Feel that you didn’t do well at the interview? Maybe, you’ll want to rewrite your resume and strategize your job search. If you’re seeking top professional resume writing services for you to get a resume of truly outstanding quality, consider hiring one of our writers. You can also learn more about our company to find out what differentiates us from the other resume service providers.

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After the interview

What if the stress is coming on strong even after you’ve left the office? Here are a few ways you can manage the post-interview anxiety:

  • Ask when they will make the decision. Impatiently waiting for feedback for a week or two doesn’t sound like a good idea, does it? Don’t be shy and ask them when a decision will be made or when you can hear back from them.  Thus, you’ll reduce stress of uncertainty and won’t have to bother them with unwanted phone calls or e-mails with requests to follow up.
    By the way, to master effective e-mail writing, use our hands-on tips: http://resumeperk.com/blog/how-to-write-effective-email-that-get-opened.
  • Don’t put all eggs in one basket. This is the best stress-reduction advice for all times. Keep looking for other jobs, sending out your resumes and attending interviews. When you have a plenty of opportunities on your mind, one or two rejections don’t seem such a problem anymore.
  • Ask for feedback. Regardless of how confident you felt during the interview, if you want to reduce interview stress in the future it makes sense to ask the interviewer to provide feedback. Ask them how well you’ve done and what were your weak points. Passing interviews with brilliance isn’t a talent but a hard work, so, by collecting feedback you’ll get the chance to improve your interview behavior and advance your skills if needed.
  • Send a thank you note. All job-seekers are aware that it’s necessary to attach a cover letter along with a resume. Still, following up after the interview is neglected by many. Why is it so important to send a thank you letter after the interview? If you’ve done something wrong during the interview or forgot to make an important point, you can address these issues in your thank you note, and that’s it. The possibility to make your remarks is a great way to minimize stress of waiting – you’ve done all you could to get the job. Don’t know how to structure your thank you note? Our resume writing professionals can create one for you in no time.

As soon as the important interview is over, give yourself a good rest and continue your job hunting. If you’ve used all available techniques to relax and manage your stress, you’ve definitely made a great first impression.

Handling stressful interview issues

The interviews of any kind have some situations which are literally stress-busters for nearly every candidate. Let’s have a closer look at these situations – and how to respond to them.

  • Negative interview questions. Questions like “Tell me about your biggest weakness”, “What was your biggest mistake at work” or “Why you didn’t achieve more in your career” provoke a negative response. Telling that you have got any weaknesses (or never went wrong) is a poor tactic. So, how to respond to the questions which make your heart jump out of your chest?
    The best tactic is to prepare for these questions in advance. If you don’t know what to tell about, consider describing a situation from your experience, how you handled it and how it helped you to grow professionally.
  • Illegal questions. Unfortunately, workplace discrimination by race, age, gender and private life exists, even though it’s prohibited by law. You may face the employer wondering what your native language is, whether you are married with children or pointing out that you’re too young for the role. How to handle obviously discriminatory questions?
    First of all, if there was only one inappropriate question, the hiring manager might have been unaware that what they asked was unethical. In this case, you can give a short response and go away from the subject. However, if the company representative keeps asking you illegal questions, how can you expect that they are ethical in all other aspects of their business? In other words, it’s better not to deal with the company of this kind.
  • Knowledge or psychometric tests. Some companies can conduct a short knowledge assessment (for technical roles mostly) to understand whether the candidate is qualified for the role. Or, they can offer you to pass a psychometric test to identify if your psychology fits the requirements of the prospective job.
    When offered knowledge tests, your key task is to show your process of thinking even if you don’t come up with the right answer. Coming up with alternative solutions and explaining how you’ve come to a certain conclusion are more important than just giving an answer. As for psychological tests, there is no right or wrong answers at all, so don’t worry much about the result of this test. Many of us feel stressed while being accessed by others – try to look positive and confident.

Are you on a stress interview?

The interview itself is a stressful experience for majority of job-seekers. However, there’s a specific type of interview called ‘stress interview’. This type of interview involves unpleasant, sometimes even offensive questions, puzzle questions, inadequate behavior and arrogant attitude of interviewer. The purpose of such an interview is to find out how you will behave in a stressful situation at the workplace (for instance, with an arrogant customer or when accepting workplace criticism). Such interviews are particularly popular with sales positions, top managers, etc.

How to handle stress interview?

  • Stay calm and cold. If the interviewer repeats the same question several times, keep answering it. Don’t lose your point while explaining the logic of your answers and keep an upbeat attitude, as getting you embarrassed and out of focus is what the interviewer is trying to do. It can be a real challenge to keep your head cold when provoked, but it’s what you need to do if you want to pass an interview.
  • Treat it like a game. The hiring manager can ask you confusing questions, make personal comments or make you feel uncomfortable in any other way. Your task is not to take it personally; see it as a part of the game you need to win in order to get a job offer.
  • Watch your body language. An interviewer can manipulate their body language and use multiple tricks in order to influence your body language which will become more defensive. Whatever happens, you need to keep your body language open and friendly – even if the situation is unpleasant.
  • If things go too far, you can leave anytime. Although stress interviews exist to understand your stress resistance, you can choose not to continue the interview if you find the interviewer’s behavior inappropriate (i.e. if they use offensive language, go too personal or do something you personally find inappropriate).
  • End it on a positive note. Even after the negative stress interview, it’s a good idea to show that you are still interested in the role and you found the interview a real challenge. If you can manage to remain positive, reserved professional attitude, the interview will be successfully passed.

Remember that if the interview is a pure stress, the role won’t be a picnic either. Maybe, the nature of the role is stressful or your potential boss is an awkward customer. If you can work well under pressure and aren’t easily stressed, you needn’t worry. Still, if you doubt that daily stress will be comfortable for you, think in advance whether you need to take such a role.

If you feel that something went wrong during the interview (i.e. you didn’t answer one or several questions correctly, forgot to mention some important detail), there’s no reason to worry. Forget until the end of the interview and say, “I’d like to draw your attention again to this matter…” and explain your point. Your honesty and willingness to understand and correct your own mistakes will be appreciated by a hiring manager.
The ability to learn from your mistakes is one of the traits of successful people – learn more about habits that lead to success here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/professional-executive-resumes-habits-of-successful-people.

The bottom line
The key tip to a successful interview is to be yourself. Try to see the interview as a conversation and don’t get upset if something went wrong – this isn’t the last job opening on earth. And, of course, make sure that your resume presents your best on paper – this is the warrant of more interview calls.

Are you dissatisfied with how your resume looks or does it bring you little interviews? Consider consulting resume writers of our company whether your resume is effective. You can also get your resume professionally done at a fee affordable for everyone and increase your chances for interviews.

How did you cope with stress during your last job interview? Was the interview a success?

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