Stress can undermine your performance during a job interview, sabotaging your image as a confident, competent professional. If you're frequently faced with shaking hands or a pounding heart before an important interview, a few simple tricks can help reduce stress and get the session off on the right foot.
1. Make a List
A few days before your job interview, make a checklist of everything you need to do: pack copies of your resume, put a stick of stain remover in your bag and stop for gas, for example. The time buffer gives extra time to add items to the list, ensuring that it's complete. The evening before the interview, go through the list, and make sure each task is complete or make any last-minute changes. The morning of your interview, simply verify that everything on your list is complete before heading out the door.
2. Leave Early
Avoid the intense stress of racing into the office late by leaving an hour earlier than you need to. This leaves plenty of time to navigate traffic, find a parking spot and deal with unexpected time-wasters. As a result, you can arrive feeling centered and calm rather than rushed and flustered.
3. Review Your Notes
Before you head into a job interview, take a few minutes to review your notes. Even if you know each page backwards and forwards, the mere act of reading the words can help you get focused. If you're in a private place, speak your personal introduction and anecdotes out loud.
4. Practice Calming Breathing
Job interview nerves can cause your heart rate to rise and your breathing to become fast and shallow, making it difficult to think clearly. Reduce stress and feel more in control with a simple breath-counting exercise that you can do in a bathroom or waiting area. Sit calmly and breathe deeply. Each time you exhale, count the breath; continue until you reach 10.
5. Do an Appearance Check
You don't want to worry about a visible stain or untucked shirt during your job interview. Ease your mind in advance with an appearance check in the bathroom mirror. Examine your clothing thoroughly, and ensure that your hair is in place.
6. Chat With Someone in Reception
Interview anxiety can cause you to turn inward, blocking out the rest of the world in an attempt to gain control. Unfortunately, this can amplify even the smallest fear or worry. When you arrive at the reception desk, make a point to chat with someone. This act forces an external focus and helps you get out any nervous stammers or stutters before the interviewer arrives.
7. Smile During Interviews
As the interviewer approaches, make a point to offer a wide, friendly smile with your handshake. This makes you appear relaxed and personable, like someone the interviewer can imagine working with in the future. Plus, if you're not feeling confident, a big smile can turn your mood around.
Taking time to prepare before a job interview can deliver big benefits. These tips will leave you feeling centered and confident, so you can focus on wowing the interviewers.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net