Your heart is racing, you’re combing through your closet for something professional to wear, you swear you know this new company inside and out but you fear you’ll forget it once you’re inside that office. Your resume is your track record for everything you are proud of, but you’re worried that it will be overlooked. You need to relax but you just don’t know what to do to take the nerves away.
Here are ten methods to reduce your anxiety before a job interview.
1. No Caffeine
Before you reach for that twelfth cup of coffee, check yourself. As comforting as that cup of joe can be, caffeine is a stimulant and can amplify anxiety. Consider holding off that morning, at least until after the interview.
Some alternatives you could go with include decaf herbal tea or even just plain water. You need to stay hydrated to avoid that dry mouth you’re worried about getting before meeting with an employer. A warm decaf beverage is also soothing for the soul. Reward yourself with espresso once you nail that job interview.
2. Rest Up
You’re tempted to stay up late, going over your notes, making sure everything is pristine for the big day. If you don’t sleep, though, you’re bound to crack under pressure. Getting enough rest before your job interview is essential if you want it to go well.
Sleep deprivation can make you cranky and on edge. You won’t be able to think clearly if you’re exhausted, and those bags under your eyes aren’t going to be a good look for you if you’re wanting to look your best. The night before, make sure you go to sleep at a decent time so you can wake up refreshed and ready to kick that job interview right in the face.
3. Positive Vibes
Worried about bombing the interview and branding yourself as a failure? Leave the negativity at the door. There’s no room for it in this situation. Positive affirmations and manifestations can uplift your mood and ease your mindset. Beating yourself up, on the other hand, will affect your body language and even impact your responses that might hurt your chances of having a successful job interview.
Be your own coach or ask a friend or a family member to be one for you. You need someone to boost you up, to envision yourself in the role that you deserve to be in. You know your qualifications and you know your worth. Reminding yourself that you are capable and a good fit for the job you’re applying for can bring confidence, even if it’s not entirely there for you. Your future employer will also see it in your attitude.
Obviously, some preparation is needed to impress employers. In this case, however, I’m talking about personal preparation. No day starts off the right way if you’re scrambling around for what you need the morning you wake up.
You’ve got enough on your plate to juggle, you don’t need unwelcome obstacles to throw off the moment you’ve been preparing for. Pick out your attire the night before, not the day of. Check out the weather ahead of time for the day. Do you live in a place with traffic? Determine a good time and a good route to avoid delays. Be sure to also look into the parking situation nearby and be sure you’ve got a full tank of gas in your car.
If the interview is virtual, you’ve got a different checklist. Check your internet connection and the lighting. Figure out the best place in your home for your background. Check the sound and the microphone on your laptop so that you’re certain there won’t be any distractions. Whatever you can do to stay prepared will help alleviate your anxiety.
5. Sweat It Out
It’s time to pull out your tennis shoes before you put on those heels. A jog or a weight session can do a lot to put your mind at ease. Release some endorphins before the job interview for physical ease. A sound body makes for a sound mind.
You don’t need to go ham or anything crazy, you don’t even need to be in the best shape. Doing some sort of physical activity at least a few hours before the big meeting will be enough to give you a calming sensation. Dance it out and release those jitters. Pump some iron and sweat out the stress. The only weight on your plate should be the ones that you lift, not the ones you place on your shoulders.
6. Essential Oils
One of the biggest anxiety relievers that I use in my daily life is incorporating essential oils into my day. There are many scents for aromatherapy and they can definitely come in handy on the day of your job interview. My personal favorites? There are many to choose from, but I suggest lavender, bergamot, or ylang-ylang. You can’t go wrong with any of these.
Before you go spreading some on your skin, try placing drops of these oils on a cloth. You don’t want an allergic reaction right before the event (which would defeat the concept of trying these in the first place). Keep the cloth close to you–as you’re getting ready in the mirror, as you’re driving to the job interview, even in your pocket for the waiting room. Having this in handy will calm your nerves and, as a bonus, you get to smell nice scents. What could be better?
7. Nutritious Food
Fast food–it’s tasty and convenient. Even a sandwich from Starbucks might sound decent for you, but it won’t do you any good before your job interview. Forget the fact that it’s obviously not healthy for you, but the effects it can have on you physically the day of aren’t things you want to deal with when you’re already anxious.
Any sort of junk food will make you feel sluggish. Indigestion will make you feel gross and you don’t want the “burger burps” before meeting your potential employer. You need energy that will put a pep in your step, and that comes in the form of nutrition. Don’t skip breakfast on the day of your job interview. Try eggs, a smoothie, oatmeal, something light enough to fill you up and satisfy you without leaving you bloated. You’ll thank me later.
8. A Good Playlist
Music is a godsend. We make playlists to work out, to prepare for a night on the town, to grieve the loss of a relationship. Music is also good medicine for anxiety. As you’re doing your personal preparation, consider putting together something on Apple or Spotify that will boost your mood for the big day.
Pouring out your soul by singing along to a bop is enough to make anyone feel empowered. Need some recommendations? Any radio hits can help, but I personally recommend anything by Taylor Swift, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Bad Bunny, or Ozuna. You need to dance, shake, yell, sing, belt out all of that anxious energy. A personal concert can make a world of a difference for your job interview.
9. No Rehearsals
The worst thing you can do to bomb the big day is rehearsing an interview over and over. Of course, you want to be prepared, and that comes with knowing as much as you can about the company you want to work for. You also want to be prepared for those basic questions about your “biggest weakness” and anything that relates to marketing yourself that the employer won’t be able to find on your resume.
Practicing an interview with a friend or a loved one can be super helpful, and it can even calm your nerves a little. Yet, rehearsing an interview is a different story. Memorizing answers to every single question you think the interviewer will ask will leave you with an ulcer in your stomach. Not only is this a stressor, but it’s also unrealistic.
A successful interview comes from a natural conversation with your employer. They may ask personal questions you won’t find online and generic answers you’ve memorized won’t satisfy them.
10. Talk It Out
This is by far the easiest thing you can do to deal with your job interview stress, but it’s something a lot of people don’t think about. Acknowledging your feelings and confiding in someone is not only healthy for you, but it also gives you a good chance to understand what you’re anxious about specifically.
Being a little nervous is good for your job interview, but bottling all of that negative energy up can lead to panic attacks or emotional breakdowns. Sometimes just venting to someone about your fears and worries can reduce what you’re so concerned about, especially if you’re talking to someone who can remind you of the absolute boss that you are.
Dealing with your anxiety is the key to a successful job interview. Best of luck to those going through this! Can you come up with any other methods that would help someone for their big day? Leave a comment below!
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Scott Hill is a former middle school educator and current poet with multiple self-published collections. He has a degree in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Houston and resides nearby where he can be seen tending to plants at his job, snuggling with his dog on the sofa, or spending time with loved ones. He enjoys whiskey and wine nights and loves writing about other poets, personal life experiences, mental health, food, and sometimes Taylor Swift. Feel free to follow him on Instagram @scotthillpoetry!