During my last job search years ago, my least favorite interview question was one that I was utterly and completely unprepared for. I don’t know if there was any way to really prepare for it.
“If you were a fruit, what would you be and why?”
Choosing an apple because it seems like a dependable fruit is a weak (and embarrassing) answer. I asked around, and I seemed to be the only one lacking in creativity.
“A grape because I work well in a team.” (Seriously?!)
“A cucumber because I’m good at calming people.” (No one ever thinks cucumber when they think of fruit!)
“Banana because I’m easy to get to know once you get past my thick skin.” (Okay, I’m done.)
One of the most stressful events in the job search process is the interview. Nothing can agitate your stress levels more than feeling unfocused and underprepared. So go to bed early, eat breakfast, and be on time. There are also a handful of tips that will specifically tackle your nerves and acute job interview anxiety.
Be Proactive For Upcoming Interviews
If you know you’re unhappy at your job, then you know you will be starting a job search sometime soon. You may be passively looking for a job or decide to actively search for and apply for new job prospects.
Since interviewing is such a critical selection process, get rid of interview anxiety by being proactively in preparing for a season of job interviews. Being proactive may mean reaching out to a career or interview coach. Don’t wait until the night before an interview to get in the game.
Visit The Interview Site
One way to get rid of interview anxiety is to drive to the interview site a day or two beforehand. This will make sure that you know where it is, how to get there, and how long it may take you to get there.
Visiting the interview site in advance so you have the confidence to arrive calm, cool, collected, and on time is a great strategy to prepare for your job interview. You may even discover your new morning coffee stop!
Make A List Of Questions
Your greatest resource in a job interview is your list of questions. This will not only show off genuine interest in the job but genuine effort in your interview. Having a list of questions will also prevent interview anxiety because you will have some control over the information shared in the job interview.
What questions should you be asking? Do a little research on the company and the career outlook of the position you’re interviewing for. Ask questions about the company culture or what it’s like to work for the company from the interviewer’s perspective, what causes or charities the company is affiliated with, and what opportunities for advancement are available.
Review Your Resume
If you have been targeting your resume for each job (as you should be!), it’s important that you review the resume you applied with to get rid of any interview anxiety. Your resume should highlight the qualifications and skills that relate the most to that job; and since your resume is likely the reason the employer is interviewing you, you should know your resume forward and backward.
Get rid of interview anxiety by reviewing your resume the night before or morning of your job interview. This will help you focus on what’s most important to the employer (or interviewer) and present yourself as the best fit for the job.
Practice Common Q&As
Maybe hiring a career or interview coach isn’t in the cards for you at this stage of your career. You can still practice answering common interview questions with a friend or family members. Practicing job interview questions is a great way to get rid of interview anxiety.
There are hundreds (or thousands) of websites with lists of the most common interview questions. Use these lists to practice the night before and feel more prepared for your job interview.
Know The Value That You Offer
This one is HUGE. You can get rid of interview anxiety by simply acknowledging that you offer significant value that only you can offer to an employer. Knowing your value will help you create a Branding Statement or “elevator pitch” that will identify your top strengths and the results you plan to achieve for this employer.
By knowing your value, you’ll have the confidence to negotiate your salary and benefits too. Replace your interview anxiety with confidence, and you’ll be more likely to get the job.
Prepare The Night Before
You should have the job interview on your mind the night before. To get rid of interview anxiety and second-guessing, set your interview clothes out and double-check your alarm(s) before you go to bed the night before.
If you haven’t picked up on the overall theme of this article, here it is in a nutshell: The more prepared you are, the less interview anxiety you will have.
Avoid Drinking Caffeine
The side effects of caffeine may also put you in a jumpy, shaky state which does not mesh well with a job interview. The selection process is stressful enough as it is. You don’t need your heart racing, hands shaking, or breath stinking.
If you want to get rid of and even prevent interview anxiety, consider avoiding caffeinated beverages before you interview. If you have a slight caffeine addiction though, don’t skip that first cup of coffee and give yourself a caffeine headache to endure instead.
Do Something Calming First
Instead of overthinking the upcoming job interview, do something that brings you peace before the interview. Is it reading a book for fun? Maybe yoga, or going for a walk?
You can get rid of interview anxiety by doing something calming first. By clearing your head and spending a few minutes doing something that typically relieves any anxiety you may have, you’ll enter your job interview with a fresh perspective and the energy you may have wasted on interview anxiety.
Focus On The Positive
Finally, focus on all of the positive in your life. Positivity can get rid of your interview anxiety if you embrace it. Yes, your interview answers should stay positive in nature (even when asked about weaknesses, failures, problems, etc.). Your mindset should also be positive when presenting yourself as an ideal candidate for that job.
Even if you aren’t offered the job, that means there is an even better job offer around the corner. A positive attitude will take you far, not only in your job interview but in your job search as a whole.
Create an interview preparation routine to fall back on whenever a job interviews surfaces.