Scenario: After waiting for quite a long time, finally you manage to get an invitation for a job interview. While you might be excited about the opportunity, you need to start preparing everything and learn well about the company’s profile. Everything seems well until the D-day. During the interview, suddenly anxiety hits you out of nowhere. In front of hiring managers, you freeze and forget everything you have prepared.
What is interview anxiety and how does it feel?
Interview anxiety is a natural and common feeling of uneasiness before or during a job interview. Being conscious that someone will scrutinise your appearance, behaviour, and words, you might start losing control of what you want to say and do. Consequently, what you intend to convey might not match with what is delivered. A survey by Harris Interactive found that 92 percent of respondents surveyed are stressed by at least one thing about a job interview, with having the jitters count as the biggest fear.
John Swartz, regional director of career services at Everest College, commented that interview anxiety is common at some stage. Job interview, he added, can be a high-pressure and make-or-break event when searching for a job. Thusly, it is a natural occurrence amongst job seekers.
While you might have prepared the best, when anxiety kicks in, the well-crafted words you have memorised suddenly become nonsense and you talk way too much, more than necessary information that can ruin your interview. According to a study by Julie McCarthy, applicant anxiety has serious implication as it might bias predictive validity of job interviews and result in a poor selection of less promising candidates. Having and showing your anxiety during a job interview will give you a low score which in turn, lower your chances of being hired.
Unfortunately, job interview anxiety will add a huge barrier between you and success.
Fortunately, you are not alone in this.
So, how to mitigate the problem?
One of the most effective ways is by pretending that you are in a casual conversation while maintaining your professionalism. You can also lower the risk by being super prepared about the interview with the STAR principles. STAR principle is commonly used by an employer to prepare a better interview session. However, not just the employer, you can also reap the advantage of the STAR principle by following these tips.
S for situation
In this step, try to think about what the interview might be. You can look for videos to learn this or try to dig some information about the interview from the company’s web. Then, picture what kind of interview you will have, whether it is one on one or group. The better picture you have in mind, the lower interview anxiety you will experience.
Note: Do practice for a various situation of a job interview so that you will not be shocked by changes that might occur.
T for task
Be prepared for questions that require problem-solving. Most recruiters would ask something like “what will you do when you are faced with a tight deadline?” On this type of questions, think of a task that is similar to the problem. Then, explain to the interviewer with an example of a task and solution. You probably have encountered the same problem before. You can refer to it as an example.
Note: Commonly, employers will refer to your resume or CV. Thusly, you should prepare with practising problem-solving question that is aligned with your resume or CV.
A for action
Employers want their candidates to be proactive and ready to take challenges. In this phase, you can take more action by explaining detailed information about what you did to achieve your goal and what actions need to be done to do so, and of course, align your explanation with company’s vision and mission. So, prepare yourself to explain that you have a good initiative to take businesses to the next level.
R for recollected
The last strategy is by practising recollected strategy – stay calm. Anxiety kicks in because your mind, consciously or unconsciously, is too busy thinking “what if scenarios”. For instance, what if I fail, what if I ruin this interview that I’ve been waiting for, what if everything did not go as planned, or what if I forget what I practice. That being said, you might have doubt in yourself that you are capable of doing the interview.
One thing to mitigate this is by naming and reframing your self-doubt. As explained by Melody Wilding, you can name your doubt with “I have too much anxiety story” to help you realise that it is just a thought pattern and not an evil force. Hence, you can build a positive response to it.
Next, reframing your story with a plan. For example, if I ruin my answer, I will calm myself by breathing deeply. And while maintaining my calmness, I will talk slowly about the possible scenario that happens in my head. Or probably, I will joke a little bit to calm myself down.