A great way to lower anxiety levels is of course to be as prepared as you possibly can be. Do your research about the company, market and interview panel beforehand, know your audience. Study their website, Linkedin profiles and keep an eye on their news page to stay abreast of the latest developments at the company. Use the information you have found! It sounds obvious but it’s easy to do the research and then get carried away in an interview, talking about yourself and your past experience without linking it to the job or business you are applying for. Part of your preparation should also include practice. Rope in a friend to act as an interviewer, giving you a chance to rehearse your answers and hopefully take some of the pressure off when you’re in the real interview.
Be conscientious about the practicalities. Make sure you know where you have to get to and how you will get there on the day and do a practice run to put your mind at ease. It is of course also important to take care of your appearance making sure you look smart. Make sure you arrive early so you don’t feel rushed and you have time to compose yourself. These basic things are important to keep your nerves at bay, rushing because your late or even worse, not able to find the venue at all, will not help your stress levels!
Be confident, and if you can’t be confident, then fake it! You may be a nervous wreck on the inside, but outwardly, if you can keep any nervous fidgeting to a minimum, make eye contact with people, speak with a confident voice and smile you will give a much better impression.
It’s worth remembering a few things about nerves. Interviewers will expect some and in fact someone who comes along and is too laid back will appear dismissive and just plain rude. Nerves can be a good thing; they will show your desire to get the job and indicate your enthusiasm. Plus, you are definitely not alone, there aren’t many people who don’t feel stress when they have to speak in front of strangers especially in an interview situation where you are being tested.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that an interview is fundamentally a social exercise, it’s just people sitting down to have a conversation. It is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your skills and experience but also to show that you are a pleasurable person to work with. So be sincere, demonstrate positivity, be amiable and importantly, be yourself.
Written by Nikki Walsh
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