Here’s How To Handle Job Interview Anxiety, According To An Expert

by Carolyn de Lorenzo
Graeme Robertson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The hours leading up to a job interview can be filled with a mix of excitement, rehearsing what to say, and maybe some anxiety. Pre-job interview jitters are something that most people can relate to, but what if you're dealing with job interview anxiety? The stakes might feel a little higher. Fortunately, knowing how to prepare for a job interview you're anxious about can help set you up for success.

While feeling nervous before a job interview is pretty typical for most people, having some strategies for coping with anxiety is key. “To help curb pre-interview jitters, interviewees should give themselves time in advance to prepare and build their confidence,” Michelle Armer, Chief People Officer at CareerBuilder tells Bustle. “By giving yourself a pep-talk, or going over your best qualities and assets you can bring to the position, you're not only helping yourself feel better, but also practicing answers that can be shared with the people you’ll speak with during the interview.” Armer also suggests getting some additional confidence boosters dialed in beforehand. Blasting your most empowering playlist and grabbing a nourishing pre-interview bite can help “elevate concentration,” Armer says.

BDG Media, Inc.

Additionally, Armer suggests that before a job interview that you do your research on the company. “Making a good impression right from the start is essential, especially because CareerBuilder found about half of employers say they know if the candidate will be a good fit within the first five minutes of an interview. When you take the time to research the organization, not only will you get a better feel for what they're looking for and how you can fit in, but it will also help you stand out from other candidates,” Armer says.

Setting aside time to relax and visualize yourself sealing the deal is also a powerful way to prepare for your interview, Arlin Cuncic wrote for Verywell Mind. Training the brain to respond to the interview scenario in positive ways can help boost your performance. Moreover, reducing stressors as much as possible is important. Make sure to map out your travel route in advance, give yourself plenty of leeway to arrive with time to spare, and wear something comfortable that you feel good in to minimize anxiety, Cuncic wrote.

It’s understandable that sitting down to talk to someone in a position of authority — who’s got something that you really, really want — can be a pretty challenging scenario. All those years of school, study, and training in your chosen field don’t necessarily prepare you for the subtle art of nailing a job interview. Aside from your best, confidence-boosting playlist, remember that an interview is, essentially, a conversation about why you're valuable, and why that job was made for you.

Wayhome Studio/Shutterstock

“Overall it’s important to be yourself,” Armer says. “Remember that the goal of any interview is to communicate the unique value you will bring to the company and its culture.” It’s also important to remember that an interview is a two-way street: You are also interviewing your potential employer to make sure that what’s most important to you is on the table. “That could mean career path, on the job learning opportunities, benefits, or a great culture,” Armer says.

Between navigating internal obstacles, such as anxiety, and external barriers created by systemic sexism, landing a job you're passionate about is a major accomplishment. And while the odds can feel daunting, building a career that you love doesn’t have to be out of reach. When it comes to managing your job interview anxiety, mastering a few simple but powerful interview techniques can make all the difference when it comes to making your dreams a reality.