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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Williams

Interview Anxiety: Understanding the Nerves and Conquering Them

Have you ever wondered why interviews tend to turn even the most composed individuals into bundles of nerves? If you're someone who finds themselves jittery, sweaty-palmed, and tongue-tied whenever you're in the hot seat, rest assured, you're not alone.

What is interview anxiety?

Interview anxiety is a common experience that can affect even the most confident of candidates. In this blog post, we'll explore the reasons behind this pervasive nervousness and share some friendly tips on how to overcome it.

1. The Pressure to Impress

Interviews are high-stakes situations. We're expected to make a lasting impression on potential employers or admissions officers, and that pressure to impress can be overwhelming. Job culture often places a strong emphasis on professionalism and the need to be your very best. This expectation can rattle even the most unflappable of job seekers.

Tip: Remember that everyone makes mistakes. Interviewers understand that you're human, and they're not expecting you to be perfect. Focus on showcasing your skills and experience rather than striving for perfection.

2. Fear of the Unknown

Not knowing what questions to expect or the personalities of your interviewers can exacerbate your anxiety. Your reserve might make it difficult to predict how the interview will unfold, and this uncertainty can lead to a significant case of the jitters.

Tip: Preparation is your best friend. Research the company, anticipate common interview questions, and practice your responses. A good interview is a conversation, ask great questions and ask the interviewer how they are when you get in the room to break the ice. The more comfortable you are, the more confident you'll feel.

3. Self-Doubt and Impostor Syndrome

Many people suffer from self-doubt, especially when facing a new challenge. Impostor syndrome, the feeling of being a fraud or that you don't belong, is a persistent issue for many people in the professional world.

Tip: Challenge your inner critic by reminding yourself of your accomplishments. Write down your achievements, skills, and experiences. Recognise that you deserve to be at the interview.

4. Lack of Interview Experience

If you're not used to being in the interview spotlight, the unfamiliarity can be a source of anxiety. Your politeness might make it hard to promote yourself and really champion the things you do well, adding to the discomfort.

Tip: Practice answering common interview questions with a friend or coach, or even in front of a mirror. The more you simulate the experience, the more comfortable you'll become in the real thing.

5. Perfectionism

Being a perfectionist is great for attention to detail, but it can hinder your interview performance. If you are a perfectionist, you will probably be overly concerned about saying the right thing, leading to a mental block.

Tip: Shift your focus from perfection to connection. Remember, interviews are also about the personal connection you establish. Show your genuine enthusiasm and interest in the role.

6. Physical Symptoms

Nervousness can manifest physically, with sweaty palms, dry mouth, shaky hands, or a racing heart.

Tip: Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or mindfulness. These can help calm your physical symptoms and give you greater control over your nerves.

7. Post-Interview Overthinking

After the interview, I think most people are prone to overanalysing every detail, wondering if they said the right thing. This can lead to a lingering sense of anxiety.

Tip: If you've prepared properly before the interview, just accept that you've done your best and that some aspects are beyond your control. Shift your focus to preparing for your next opportunity, rather than dwelling on the past and you can always re-clarify some points again when you send a follow up message.

Interview anxiety is a natural response to high-pressure situations. However, it doesn't need to paralyse you. By understanding the reasons behind your nervousness and employing these tips, you can boost your confidence and ace your next interview.

Remember, it's not about being perfect; it's about being yourself, showcasing your true potential and letting them know why you want to work for them. Good luck!


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