10 Tips To Overcome Interview Anxiety And Get the Job

By Maddie Lloyd - Mar. 30, 2021

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It’s no secret that interviews are a big source of stress for many of us. Even if you’ve thoroughly researched the company and practiced answering the most common interview questions, anxiety still has a way of creeping up and taking over when the big day rolls around.

Here’s the deal:

Even though it’s normal to get nervous before a big interview, you shouldn’t let your anxiety determine how you perform when the time comes. The good news is that it’s easy to take control and push your nervousness aside, and we’re here to show you how.

With that in mind, here are the 10 best tips for conquering interview anxiety so you can land the job:

1Practice Breathing Exercises

We’ve all heard about the countless benefits of meditation, but it’s very rare for many of us to actually set aside time in our day to practice these exercises.

Lucky for you, meditation for calming your nerves won’t require you to pull out a yoga mat and practice your best om’s. Meditation can be as easy as closing your eyes and counting your breathing.

To give yourself more energy, set a timer for two minutes, close your eyes, and inhale through your nose for four counts, and exhale for three. To help soothe your nerves and calm down, inhale for three counts, and exhale for four.

Focusing on your breathing will distract your mind from your nervous feelings and allow you to center yourself.

2Eat a Substantial Meal

Okay, so you don’t have to actually eat an entire Thanksgiving feast, but you should try to eat enough so that your stomach isn’t grumbling throughout your interview and interrupting your thought process.

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Having a full stomach will give you energy and help you keep your focus on the interview. Make sure to pick a meal that’s right for you, whether it’s a healthy meal or indulging in your favorite comfort foods. Just make sure to actually have something in your belly other than coffee.

Be careful not to over-caffeinate or eat something too heavy. And avoid alcohol the night before and right before your interview, even if you think it “relaxes” you. A nice light meal and plenty of water is your best bet for calming pre-interview jitters.

3Exercise the Morning of the Interview

Setting aside some time the morning of an interview to get some exercise is a great way to clear your head and ease any jitters. Try to wake up early and go to the gym, go for a run, or, heck, even just take a walk around your neighborhood.

Getting a little exercise takes a bit more effort than simple breathing exercises, but some fresh air and a burst of energy is a great way to ease your mind and shift your focus on your upcoming interview.

Most of the nervous reactions our body undergoes when experiencing stress can be negated or at least mitigated with exercise. When you excercise, you’re using up all that extra, unnecessary adrenaline and cortisol coursing through your body, and you’ll feel less stressed as a result.

4Picture Yourself Being Successful

Instead of dreading over all of the things that could possibly go wrong, visualize yourself totally crushing your interview. Picture yourself walking in with confidence, making a great impression, and blowing away your interviewer with all of your flawless answers to their questions.

Athletes don’t envision themselves missing the winning shot or striking out with the bases loaded. The power of positive visualization cannot be understated. We begin creating our own reality the moment we begin imagining it.

Imagining yourself being successful will make you feel more confident and ready to tackle the interview, instead of feeling defeated before you even have a chance to introduce yourself.

5Practice Good Body Language

Even if you’re feeling totally unconfident and super anxious, just pretending that you’re not can affect the way you perform.

So, instead of slouching over with your head down and your arms crossed, stand up straight, keep your head up, and speak with purpose. Acting like a confident person will make you feel more confident, and you’ll radiate positivity.

You can even practice “power poses” before the interview. Some well-known power poses include “The CEO” (legs crossed, feet raised, hands behind head) and “The Wonderwoman” (arms akimbo, legs slightly spread, back straight). Studies have shown that putting your body in these positions of power can affect confidence levels.

6Smile

Take a break from being the cynical pessimist that you are and plaster a smile on your face. No one wants to hire a grumpy bastard.

Even if you’re feeling sad and discouraged, smiling has the ability to trick your brain into thinking you’re actually happy. So if you’re feeling scared and anxious, try smiling to turn your mood around.

It’s a similar principle to power poses — the human body can easily be tricked into certain emotions by engaging in certain behaviors. Take advantage of this hack and “fake it ’til you make it.”

7Practice Before the Interview

The most important thing you can do to rid yourself of nervous feelings is to practice and prepare for your interview ahead of time.

Read up on the most common questions you can expect to hear during an interview, prepare your answers to them, and practice your responses either by yourself or with a friend. Knowing what to say ahead of time will ease your nerves and boost your confidence.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just wing it. Trust us — you can’t. When you run into a question you haven’t thought about, you’ll freeze up and might lose your chances of getting a job offer. Let’s not let that happen.

8Make a Cheat Sheet

Make a list of everything that’s causing you anxiety, and an immediate solution.

If you’re worried about finding the building, look up the address and directions ahead of time and write it down. If you’re scared that you might forget your interviewer’s name, add it to your cheat sheet! If there are three major points you’re worried you might forget to address, write them down. Whatever is causing you anxiety, add it to your cheat sheet.

Whenever your cheat sheet feel complete, slip that bad boy in with your other interview materials. Look over it while you’re waiting for your interview to begin so you’ll have everything fresh in your brain.

9Give Yourself a Pep Talk

Give yourself positive affirmations to improve your confidence and provide some motivation to crush your interview. Tell yourself everything you need to hear, particularly the things you’re nervous about. Here a list of some great affirmations proven to boost your mood:

  • You’re smart

  • You’re qualified

  • You deserve this

  • You’re going to do great today

Make these affirmations your mantra, and say them to yourself out loud. Just make sure that you give yourself this pep talk in a private or quiet place — just in case!

10Relax Before the Interview

Before you head into the interview room, take some time to relax. This could take the form of writing down all your negative, anxious thoughts as a way of dispelling them or simply talking to a friend and having them tell you how awesome you are.

Or you can simply listen to music or watch a funny show or movie. If you just can’t shake your stress, don’t stress out about it — it becomes a compounding problem if you. Simply accept that you’re feeling anxious, tell yourself it’s normal to feel that way, and don’t judge yourself for it.

11Be Thoughtful During the Interview

When we’re anxious, we have a tendency to speak quickly. Our focus also tends to be a little worse when we’re stressed out. Get out of your own head and engage with the interviewer and any other company member you meet during the interview process.

Make small talk and be an active listener who makes your conversational partner feel values. And during the interview, ask questions, rather than just waiting for the end of the interview. When you become a more active conversational partner rather than the subject of an interrogation, it will change your mindset and make you more comfortable.

As always, think carefully about all interview questions before answering. A moment of silence is much better than several minutes of word vomit as you search around for a good answer in real-time.

Don’t force your response when you don’t know how to answer a question or get flustered. Simply say that it’s a great question and you’d like more time to think about it before returning to it, or ask for clarification and get the conversation on ground you understand better.

12Use Your Anxiety as Fuel

We all know that feeling anxious can give us a rush of adrenaline. So, in case those breathing exercises don’t do their job, just go ahead and embrace the adrenaline!

Reframe your nervous energy as being excited to make yourself feel amped up. That way, you’ll perform better rather than letting your anxiety overwhelm you instead of curbing your enthusiasm.

Final Thoughts

Interviews can be a stressful time for all of us, but it’s important to take control of your anxiety and not let it control you. When it comes down to it, an interview is really just a conversation. As much as you’re hoping to impress them, the interviewer is hoping that you’ll be the perfect fit.

Just remember to breathe, smile, and take some time to practice beforehand. Keep your focus on the job, picture yourself being successful, and you’re sure to crush your interview and land the job!

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Maddie Lloyd

Author

Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

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