Learn How To Overcome Interview Anxiety
Written by Platt Alumni Chelsey Moter
Many companies end their fiscal year between spring and summer making autumn a fantastic time to look for a job. For many people, job searching, sending resumés and even landing an interview is the easy part. It’s the pre-interview jitters that causes them to come undone.
Human nature is such that someone who is obviously extremely anxious, regardless of qualification and ability, simply doesn’t interview well. Rampant anxiety can lead to memory lapses, lack of coordination, the inability to speak clearly and sound confident. None of this is the impression any job applicant wants to leave with a hiring manager. Here are a few ways to settle the pre-interview jitters and land that job.
Preparation Is Key
Make like a boy scout and be prepared. When you have an upcoming interview, don’t waste time biting your nails. Instead, prepare for the interview by researching the company in depth. More often than not, the history of a company is an interesting rags to riches scenario that lends a humanizing factor to the interview process. If you know the founder started out as an average work-a- day-Joe, or Jill, that knowledge will help keep you grounded as you go through the process of interviewing.
“Being ready for an interview is the most important part, especially when it’s for a web development firm or a creative agency. You don’t always have to be an expert in the field but as long as you’re prepared then you’ll have the best chance of success.” – Chelsey Moter, former Platt College student and Digital Analyst at seoWorks
Know The Company Culture
Study the company culture and for businesses that have been around a while, make sure you find current information. With the turn of the century, we’ve seen a lot more variety in culture types. It’s not as simple anymore as showing up for work in your business attire Monday through Thursday and casual on Friday.
Company culture isn’t just about the dress code. Many businesses are purposely creating work atmospheres that include fitness, fun and relaxation in an effort to generate more creativity and productivity. Some are bottom-up types with employees at the lowest levels able to contribute ideas and suggestions while others operate more from the top down with directives to be carried out no questions asked. Other companies don’t even have offices but offer work-from- home employment with meetings done via Skype. Knowing the company culture ahead of time gives you a chance to consider ways of adapting your personality and talents to fit.
“We like to find employees who fit in with our company culture because we do not want to miss a heartbeat. Having interviewees who have done their homework before applying saves both parties time and effort. We want someone who is going to fit in with our style of communication so that we can continue the flow of our game development work tasks without any unnecessary collaborative problems” – Joey Ricoli, 3D Game Developer at SmallWorlds
Practice Answering Questions
Most interviews include basic questions. Know what those are and be able to answer them in a way that makes sense. It’s impossible to be 100% prepared for every contingency but at least be able to tell the person conducting the interview what makes you qualified for the job. Consider your past experience, education, personality, etc. and play up what works for the particular business.
Turn The Interview Around
It’s always a good idea to show interest during the interview process by asking two or three questions yourself. This can be tricky though since you don’t want to come off as obnoxious. In general, hiring managers appreciate a few questions from applicants. It shows that your level of interest is beyond just getting the job. It’s fine to ask about benefits but please try to have one question about the work itself. Say something like, “I’m typically a loyal person who can also adapt to change. When I master this job, what sorts of opportunities exist for expanding or moving upward?”
The Right Outfit
Wear appropriate clothing that fits properly. It’s a very good idea to actually wear your interview outfit a day or two ahead of time for a couple of hours to make sure nothing is uncomfortable. You don’t want to be tugging uncomfortably on a shirt tail or wishing you had worn different shoes. If you feel comfortable, your anxiety level will not be as high.
Finally, it’s interview day. Give yourself ample time to get ready and arrive a few minutes early. Do some breathing exercises and listen to calming music on the way. Worrying won’t change the outcome but not worrying might just push your chances upward. Everyone responds to peaceful confidence and if you can achieve that, even for a few minutes, your chances of winning the job will be much better. Good luck!