Catherine's Career Corner

June 23rd, 2013
12 Stress Bursting Tricks for Job Interviews











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When it comes to job interviews, stress is caused in part by uncertainty and fear of failure. To combat this, it’s important to get a better understanding of what you will face. These 12 stress bursting tricks for job interviews should help you to gather the right information and gain a sense of control during your job interview.

Job Interview stress

By Catherine Adenle

The jobless rate everywhere is high right now. Businesses are very careful to hire like they did in past years. Among job seekers, the competition is fierce. Gone are the days when ‘A Job is for Life’.  Nowadays, we will all be subjected to many instances of job interviews and for each; we will be up against other equally qualified competitors.

Job interviews stress most people out. They cause palms to sweat profusely, cause people to stammer, sometimes even tremble or feel physically sick. If you are stressed out of your mind, it is easy to lose your composure before and during a job interview.

When it comes to job interviews, in part, the cause of stress is uncertainty and fear of failure. To combat this, it’s important to get a better understanding of what you will face. Gather the right information to help you gain a sense of control during any job interview.  The more you reduce the uncertainty, the more you reduce fear and the less stress you will feel. Remember the 3Ps – Prepare, Plan, and be Positive. All these 3Ps are the main stress bursting tricks for job interviews.

To help you to maintain focus during any job interview, these are 12 stress bursting tricks for job interviews. They are offshoots of the 3Ps:

1. Focus on the positives: When stress is getting you down because of a job interview, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities, skills and gifts. This simple strategy can help you to keep things in perspective. See the job interview as your opportunity to sell your skills, state what makes you the best candidate for the job, showcase your attributes and sell your past achievements and experience.

2. Do your homework beforehand: Research the company; go on the internet and get as much information as possible, use various specialist sites to familiarize yourself with the company or organization that is interviewing you. Know more than just the basic information. This should include the company’s products, services, their competitors, details of how the company started and developed, the markets, turnover, plans for the future, number of branches, people employed, the company’s values etc. Take steps to obtain as much information as possible. Google the company’s name, read their last annual report.

See How to Research a Company

3. Plan ahead: Doing this will greatly reduce your stress before you arrive at the organization for your interview. Read your interview invitation letter carefully. Do a quick test run to where the interview will take place before the day of the interview so that you are better prepared. Check the nearest car park and prepare yourself for the journey back there for your interview.

4. Rehearse answers to likely interview questions: A week before the interview, get a paper and a pen, prepare a list of likely or most popular interview questions that you expect them to ask and decide how to answer them.  Read through several times to understand how to answer the questions. Do not learn the answers by heart as this will increase your stress level.  Aim to know the answers and look as natural as possible.  The way you answer the questions is as important as the substance of your answers.

Interviewers will always ask if you have questions for them. Create the right impression by preparing at least two great questions for them. Waste no further opportunities to promote your keenness at securing the job.

See 50 Interviews Questions and Answers 

5. Sleep well and early: For two consecutive days before the interview, ensure you get good amount of sleep. Tiredness on the day of your interview can make you irritable, stressed and less prepared. It is easy to get stressed due to lack of sleep.

6. Look the part: You might want to spend some time to revitalize your image. Upgrade your wardrobe to ensure that you have just the right outfit for your job interview. Ensure that you do whatever will make you look good and feel good about yourself. Keep everything simple and conservative. It is important that you package yourself like a professional. A polished physical appearance and professional attire do matter!

See How to Dress for an Interview

7. Take everything you need with you: Gather everything that you need together in preparation for the interview. Remember that thorough preparation for a job interview is the key to maximizing your chances of being successful and getting less stressed. Take all the essential items for the job interview.

These are the items that you may want to consider taking:

  • Your interview invitation letter
  • A copy of the job profile
  • Few copies of your submitted CV
  • A fine pen
  • A notepad – with a list of questions for your interviewer and you will also have a place to jot down things as your discussion progresses.
  • Your skills portfolio (make sure this is a smart folder) containing:
    • Examples of your work to show what you can do and what you have done. Only show great work pieces that showcase you in your best light.
    • Letters of commendation
    • Company awards
    • Target achievement results
    • Internal or external press clippings
    • Customer satisfaction surveys
    • Certificates

8. Arrive at the interview venue early: Arrive at your interview at least 15-30 minutes before your interview begins. You can stay inside your car to review any notes that you may want to go through again as well as mentally prepare yourself for your upcoming interview. This will also give you plenty of time to compose yourself, freshen up and control the stress beforehand.

Enter the building where your interview is taking place 10 – 15 minutes before the interview is due to begin. You probably feel less stressed if you are on time and once your interview begins.

9. Stay cool, calm and collected: Irrespective of how stressed you are, try hard to control your stress level and your body language. Always keep yourself calm and composed throughout the interview. The best thing to do is to pause, take a few deep breaths and smile while you answer or think of an appropriate answer or response.

10. Be prepared for a conversation: Don’t ever say ‘No’ or ‘Yes’ to any question and don’t just answer the questions, be prepared for a conversation instead.  If you plan to have a good conversation, you will focus more on the conversation and forget about stress. However, do not get carried away. Just maintain focus as this is one of the best stress bursting tricks for job interview. As the interview draws to a close, this is when to slot in your prepared closing statement and let the interviewers or hiring manager know that you still think the job is an excellent fit to your skills, attributes and that you are highly interested in the job.

See Improve Your Interview Technique

 11. Give concise answers: Be direct with your answers, no fluff, give great examples, use the STAR method, maintain focus on the questions and not how irrelevant or stupid they sound. Give answers that are straight to the point to the questions asked.

 12. Put things in perspective: When it comes to stress, you can either change the situation or change your reaction. In this case, you can’t afford not to attend the job interview. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As: Avoid, Alter, Adapt, or Accept.

The greatest cause of stress is the fear of failure or disappointing others. Frankly, if you have been looking for a job for a while, you are at a point where you have very low self-esteem, the fear is then compounded by the fact that you want the interview to go well.

As a job seeker, remember that the purpose of your interview is for the company to get the chance to know you, ask you questions about your skills, qualifications, and work experience. In addition, they want to see if you will be a good fit for them and their other employees.

Utilize the 12 stress bursting tricks for job interviews as mentioned above and with some practice and preparation, job interviews need not be a mystery or a horror. They can be enjoyable, informative, and even sometimes fun!

Do you have any stress bursting tricks for job interviews to share with us? Let us hear from you, add your comments below.

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Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to work smarter on their careers.

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