Reduce Interview Stress With Tips from a Social Scientist

Feb 3, 2022 | Resumes/Job Search

Interviews are stressful experiences. Even if you’re excited at the possibility of a new career opportunity, you’re likely feeling nervous about being “under the microscope” with your interviewer.

You recognize that the person you’re interviewing has to judge your value to the organization and determine if you’re the right person for the role. That’s enough to rattle anyone’s nerves.

One study found that around 92% of US adults feel anxious about job interviews, even people with years of experience and previous interviews under their belt. It’s perfectly normal.

Fortunately, you can be proactive and reduce your feelings of stress while also improving your chances of standing out as a confident future employee.

Here are my top tips.

1.  Start with a Great Resume

Boost your competitive advantage with a targeted resume. Work with a professional trained to analyze both the language and placement of information on the resume.

As CEO of Gray Global Consulting LLC and a trained social scientist, I can’t emphasize enough that the resume is your crucial first impression, so it needs to be strong. A well-crafted resume will set the tone for the interview.

2.  Do a Mental “Dress Rehearsal”

As someone who has worked with over 500 individuals in the job search, I recommend practicing a few interview questions with your friends and family members, or better yet, working with a professional like myself and getting insight from my training in human behavior and interview techniques to ease the anxiety.

You can even go beyond this to prepare in a much different way. Research has shown that experiencing success increases our feelings of confidence, even if we are simply imagining or visualizing an interview going well.

With that in mind, close your eyes and walk through what it might look like if you were to go through the interview successfully, answering questions perfectly every time. Imagine yourself looking and feeling calm, prepared, and confidently responding to any queries.

If you get any sparks of creativity about how you can improve your interview experience, make a note to come back to them later.

3.  Create the Perfect Playlist

Music has a unique ability to influence the way we feel. You’ve probably noticed this if you’ve ever used a playlist to get your energy levels up for the gym. When you’re preparing for an important interview, your musical strategy should be all about motivation.

Choose songs that make you feel good, and play them in the morning before heading out for your interview.

It might also be worth setting up a similarly upbeat playlist for after the interview so you can transition and release the pent-up anxiety.

4.  Give Yourself a Pep Talk

Self-affirmation is a surprisingly powerful tool!

Most people don’t realize it, but we tend to spend a lot of time putting ourselves down and not as much time building ourselves up.

Chances are, if you’re stressed out about your upcoming interview, you’re thinking about the experiences that didn’t go so well for you in the past, or you’re telling yourself how hard it’s going to be to compete against other candidates.

What would happen if you flipped the script and reminded yourself how great you are instead? Not just platitudes but having a deep recognition of the asset you will be for any organization that hires you. You built some great experience and skills throughout your career. Let yourself know that you deserve this role just as much as anyone else.

Focus on re-affirming your skills and talents and reminding yourself of what makes you an excellent fit for this job. You’ll feel better, and you’ll come up with some great ideas on how to respond to questions your interviewer might ask about your suitability for the role too.

5.  Prepare for the Worst

This might seem like a bit of a negative strategy when you’re trying to focus on positivity, but it can be reassuring to prepare for the worst. The reality is the worst thing that can likely happen at the end of your interview is that you don’t get the job.

So, ask yourself what you’re going to do if that happens. The answer is probably “look for something else and try again.”

You can also go through some other fears that are worrying you about the interview and come up with ways to prepare for them. For instance, if you’re worried about not having an answer to a question, navigate that situation with insight from a career counselor at MIT who suggests taking your time and redirecting. You could even have an interview cheat sheet ready in your pocket, just in case.

6.  Plan for What’s Next

Plan something fun for the hours after your interview, so you have something to look forward to when you’re sweating through those tough questions.

You can even plan for some productive things to do when the interview is over, like applying for other roles just in case or talking through the interview process with your friends to make yourself feel better about any hiccups that might have happened.

Looking forward to what comes after the interview will stop you from feeling too frozen in fear by the interview itself.

Once you’ve done your regular preparations for the interview, you can reduce your jitters and feel calm and confident beforehand by using these techniques. This will enable you to focus on putting your best foot forward during the interview itself.

Schedule a one-on-one Resume Analysis session with Paula Gray, social scientist and CEO of Gray Global Consulting, a professional who can help you craft a strategic resume and prepare you for that all-important interview. 

  • Book a 1-time Resume Analysis session 
  • Book a session with added follow-up
  • Book several sessions for ongoing support

Contact Paula at Gray Global Consulting at: paula@grayglobalconsulting.comfor more information