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How to reduce job interview stress

You get sweaty, your mind goes blank, you don't understand the questions and then talk too fast!

A job interview can create stress and anxiety in the most confident of people.

Many people find job interviews as stressful as public speaking!

image of a microphone
Job interviews can be as stressful as public speaking

So, what can you do to reduce stress and anxiety to ensure you perform your best on the day? Here are the 5 most important things to do (and lots of them start with 'p'!):

1. Prepare and Plan

You can work out the kind of questions they will ask as job interviews are usually fairly formulaic.

Introductory Questions: Plan how you will answer the usual introductory question: 'Tell us about yourself and why you want this job (or why you would be a good fit for this job)'. make sure your answer provides a short, high level summary of your career background, then highlight your skills and how they match what they are looking for.

Behavioural Questions: Then use the position description or job ad to work out what they are looking for, and plan out how you will answer a question based on each of the key selection criteria. You'll need to prepare and example (or two) using the Situation, Action, Result (SAR) method.

Tricky Questions: It's a good idea to have answers prepared for any tricky questions such as any perceived skill gaps, any gaps in your employment history, or that pearler 'what is your biggest weakness'.

Questions to ask them: Plan some questions about the organisation and role that you can ask at the end of the interview.

2. Practice

It's all very well to prepare your answers, but now you need to practice them - out loud!

  • Start by practicing in front of a mirror.

  • Then ask a friend to run a mock interview using your pre-prepared questions.

  • Then practice again and again.

Never rely purely on practicing in your head. You'll end up stumbling through your answers or waffling!

3. Look after yourself

  • Try to get a good night's sleep the night prior to the interview.

  • Plan your outfit out the night before, so you're ready to go.

  • Have your transport and route planned out, allowing time for delays.

  • Don't drink too much caffeine - it can worsen stress!

4. Boost your Confidence

  • Ever heard of Power Poses? These are super-hero like poses that lead to higher levels of testosterone (in both men and women) which can lead to increased feelings of confidence, as well as lower levels of cortisol which leads to decreased anxiety. So it could be the perfect thing to do in the bathroom pre-job interview!

  • Another way to boost your confidence is to dress for success! Make sure your chosen outfit is appropriate for the job - and most importantly feels comfortable!

5. Think of it as a meeting

  • A good way to reduce stress is to think of your interview as a meeting. Just imagine you are meeting some prospective clients or some colleagues.

  • Remember that you are interviewing them too. You want to find out if you would be a good fit for the organisation.

  • So ask questions to try and establish if you would actually like working there. This will save you a lot of heartbreak in the long run, and hopefully make you more relaxed.

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