Interviews are unnatural situations designed to push individuals in order to determine their capabilities, limits, and potential. They are intended to be a little stressful. That being said, there are ways to handle the stress of an interview in order to present your most positive, prepared, and composed self.
One of the most effective ways to combat the stress of an interview is to prepare extensively. This means researching the company as well as the interviewer(s), if you have their name, and crafting questions related to the business, the job position, or the work environment. Demonstrating that you have looked into the organization will show how invested and interested you are. Setting out your clothes the night before and organizing your materials—your resume is a necessity, of course, but also bring a notebook, reliable pens, your own business cards, and any other relevant items—can help eliminate the stress of getting things together the morning of your interview.
Take Your Time
When you’re nervous, you might be tempted to rush through everything. This can lead to clumsy answers to questions, unnecessary mistakes in your responses, or an unprofessional demeanor. If a question catches you off-guard, you are more than welcome to ask the interviewer for a moment to consider your answer. During that time, you can take a drink of water, do quiet breathing exercises, or ask a clarifying question. Remember that an interview is not a test of speed; you won’t increase your chances of getting hired by being the fastest-speaking applicant.
Depending on the interview, you should try to be comfortable in your skin and with your experiences. If you recount something amusing from your past, you don’t have to force yourself to remain stoic. Likewise, if something funny happens during the interview, provided it is not at the expense of the interviewer, you can allow yourself to laugh. A company will be more likely to hire someone with personality and resiliency than a deadpan robot.
Remember that, no matter how stressed you feel, not getting the job will not be your last opportunity to succeed. Failure is a part of life, and there will be plenty of other opportunities. Regardless of the outcome, it’s important to do your best, answer all questions as honestly and thoroughly as you can, and keep yourself calm.
Managing the stress of an interview can be difficult. Even if you are a seasoned interview expert, you might experience the stress associated with the unknown. Still, there are ways you can combat stress in order to show your full capabilities to a potential employer.