Are you looking for a job and stressed over interviewing? You’re not alone. Job interviews can be tough. If you let the high level of anxiety around interviews get to you, it can sabotage your chances of landing a job. The key to interview success is to keep anxiety under control so the level of stress is manageable.
Laura DeCarlo, founder of Career Directors International, recommends these techniques for mental stress management:
1. Use visual imagery to reduce stress
Close your eyes and imagine a scene, place, or event (real or imaginary) that is peacefuul, serene, happy or beautiful. Try to incorporate all your senses into the image.
You can also imagine the interview going well, walking through it step by step to improve your confidence and reduce your stress. The mind cannot differentiate between real and imaginary, so what you feed it is accepted as truth.
2. Persuade yourself with positive thinking
Observe your thoughts and write down every time you have a negative thought for a few days. Once you are aware of your negative thoughts, take an honest look at them to see if they have any basis in reality. Frequently when you challenge a negative thought, it will lose power or disappear.
You can also replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Make a list of positive things to say to yourself each morning and evening. Post it on the bathroom mirror and say them aloud. Try to repeat throughout the day whenever possible. Habits don’t happen immediately so be patient with yourself. Repetition is the answer!
3. Reduce the importance of the event in your mind
Try to compare it to something else in the past that you have done that was as big and important feeling. Remind yourself that this will not be the first or the last opportunity of this kind that you encounter.
You can also reframe the event in your mind. Instead of viewing it as an all-important interview, think of it as an exciting chance to meet new people and expand your network. You never know what will happen!
4. Reduce uncertainties
Ask questions when you schedule the interview (how many interviewers, names and titles of the interviewers, for example), and then research to learn all you can to feel more prepared.
5. Listen to music or relaxation tapes to calm yourself
On your way to the interview, listen to music that is calming for you.
6. Use progressive muscular relaxation
Squeeze a group of muscles, hold for a few seconds and then relax the muscles as much as possible. This can relieve the tense feeling and is particularly effective when combined with deep breathing.
7. Perform slow, deep breathing
As you sit in the waiting room, breathe slowly and deeply - - in through your nose and out through your mouth. Concentrate on doing this at least four times.
The bottom line: whatever you do, be kind to yourself during this process. Remember that change does not happen overnight and practice makes perfect. Take a deep breath, put a smile on your face, and meet that interview head-on!