Interview Stress and
thinking about your upcoming interview has you on edge. Practicing for
it stresses you out.
Getting dressed and ready to go for it makes you want to go back to bed.
In actually beginning the interview, you want to look for a place to
hide. You have a bad case of interview
anxiety. You know what this stress is all about. It
whacks you right upside the head. And you know what bad things it
can do to your chances of having a successful interview. Tons of bad
The Stress Of Interviewing
What do you call this anxiety? It's been referred to in many
ways, and has many variations and degrees of severity. Here are some of
the more common names:
and tell stress
The Facts About Interview Stress
It's reassuring and powerful to realize these essential truths about
what scares you. The first step to getting this fear response under
your control is to demystify it.
stress is normal. If you're human, you're going to get it.
stress hits most people, even experienced performers.
will never completely conquer interview stress, yet you can manage it.
more mind tools you have to beat interview stress, the better you will
interview fine all the time--even though they are suffering from
interview stress during the actual interview.
interview stress is not about being perfect or about being fear-free.
It's about adjusting and managing your anxiety and using it to fuel your
performances. What Causes Interview Stress?
rarely get interview stress hanging out with their friends. There's no
hostile audience there and no consequences if you "mess up". Add a
combative, evaluative interrogator and some importance to the situation
and you have the potential for a nice case of interview stress.
So why does it happen?
body's chemistry kicks in to get you ready to perform.
may inaccurately misinterpret those feelings that you are "nervous".
mistakenly believe nerves to be "bad".
then worry that this is proof that you are about to fail and embarrass
then worry about worrying.
negative cycle continues.
selectively choose further nervousness as proof that you are panicking
and about to fail.
these symptoms combine to ignite a full-blown attack of nerves.
Bingo. You have a bad case of interview stress.
The Symptoms Of Interview Stress
Here are 75 symptoms of interview stress that people I've coached
have described to me. You may want to use this as a self-assessment and
rate yourself to see specifically how interview stress affects you.
may seem louder
something bad is going to happen
you will die
anxiety, with no anchor
to control thoughts
to control images
very high in chest
the anxiety will spiral out of control
may constrict and pitch may increase
neck and shoulder
vision and hearing
sense of timing
sense of elapsed time
heat in body
cold for no reason
Conquering Stage Fright
You want to create a mental training system that gives you powers of
self-regulation under extreme stress. You should have these mind game
a relaxation system.
a self-discipline system.
a pre-program psych-up system.
how to adjust mentally in your performance.
your attitude so you place less pressure on yourself.
approaches that will get you into the zone.
an in-performance mistake-management system.
how to stay positive under pressure.
ways to enjoy yourself when you perform.
performing as a way to discover yourself.
ways to connect with your audience.
to rise above stress control to inspire yourself.
the conditions to perform to your potential.
Next Steps In Controlling Interview Stress.
a coach who is an expert in this area.
sure there is chemistry with you and the coach.
the 75 item self-assessment test above to be aware of your symptoms.
keeping an interview stress performance journal.
performing to learn about performance psychology and you.
a student of peak performance psychology.
Finally, don't give up. The only people who fail to conquer
interview stress are those who quit interviewing. Even the most severe
cases of interview stress can be helped. Hang in there. There is hope.
* To learn more about how interview coaching can help you improve your
abilities in media situations, oral test and exam situations, and job
interviews visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental Game Coach™, at:
Managing Interview Stress: Six Quick Tips to
Keep You Cool In Conference
Here are some tips to put your mind at ease and equalize the
playing field so you don’t feel as though you’re in the glare of the
your favorite clothes.
suit that fits well and shows off your professional sense of style. The
one you like best. Your lucky suit or the one in which you’re most
with shoes. Go for comfort. The next thing you know, you’re getting a
lengthy tour of the facilities while breaking in a new pair of wingtips.
the job isn’t a “suit” job, wear your most comfortable clothes that are
appropriate for a job interview. Not blue jeans, a torn Amy Winehouse
t-shirt and a Yankee cap on backward. If you look nice – clean, pressed
and shined – it shows a potential employer you’re serious about a job.
as comfortable as you can in the clothes you choose for an interview.
It’s probably not a good time to experiment with a new look.
interview is at 11:00 AM. Get up at 8:00 and give yourself some slow
motion time. You don’t want to be rushed this morning. You want to be
meditating for 20 minutes. Get in a comfortable position. Close your
eyes and block out the world. Let your mind go blank and give yourself a
few positive affirmations. There is something to be said for this “power
of positive thinking” thing.
your pace slow from wake up to arrival at the interview location. The
stress of rushing to get there on time will have you vibrating like a
tuning fork, and a good interviewer is looking for signs of stress. A
hectic morning is not a good start for a job interview.
your materials together.
a copy of your cover letter, resume, recommendations, licenses,
certifications, awards and other information that might be useful during
these materials in an organized fashion in an attaché case, even if you
have to borrow one from your brother-in-law.
at least cut down. If you’re a five-cup-a-day latte junkie, try cutting
back to one on the morning of your interview. Caffeine is a stimulant.
It gets you jagged and, remember, you’re presenting the cool, calm and
collected you to the interviewer so get comfortable and show them the
real, decaf you.
the interview as a give and take.
kind of equalizes the playing field and takes the spotlight off of you.
An interview isn’t an interrogation (though it may feel that way at
times); it’s an exchange of information.
a list of questions that you want to ask – questions about job
responsibilities, chain of command, daily responsibilities, required
skill set and other information you need to know to determine if this is
a good fit for you. (You don’t have to take the job just because it’s
offered to you, unless things are really bleak when you look at the
appropriate questions shows you’re interested in the company, it gives
the interviewer an opportunity to talk and it gives the both of you an
opportunity to connect on some level. That’s important – especially if
the HR interviewer is doing 20 different interviews that day. You’ll
stick out as the one who asked some good questions and told a funny
biggest mistake interviewees make is no follow-through. If you spoke to
the manager who told you to give her a call in a week, mark it on your
calendar and make that call. If the shift supervisor tells you to come
back in the morning, be there early.
if the head of HR invites you to meet her at an industry conference,
take her up on the offer. It’s a good sign that you’re in the running.
a thank you note ASAP after the interview – while your face and
personality are still familiar. It doesn’t have to be long but send it
on professional, high quality, watermarked stationery (it really
counts). Some HR coaches will tell you to send a hand-written card. It’s
one of those “play-it-by-ear” things.
Even if your self advocacy is through the
roof, you can benefit even more from properly preparing for your
interview. Here is a checklist with things to keep in mind:
answers to the most typical questions. Think of examples you can use to
describe yourself and what you can do.
information about your potential new employer. Whenever possible, link
what you have found to the answers you are giving.
an attire you will use for the interview way ahead of time. Take extra
copies of your curriculum and bring a pen and a notepad for note taking.
calm and take your time. You do yourself a disservice by trying to
answer to quickly or to fill silences in the conversation. If you need
time to think, then do so.
what you know. Talk about what your work accomplished for your previous
employer or what your skills could improve for your new potential one.
up on the interview with a small thank you note and reiterate your
interest in the position.