We’ve all experienced the rollercoaster ride that comes with getting the interview for a big job: the exhilaration and relief of the first phone call letting us know we’re in the door, paired with the sudden, crushing fear of the impending performance are enough to make anyone’s head spin.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Fortunately for all of us (introverts included), it’s possible to adjust our approach to a big interview to be less nervous about it. Here are three things you can do to properly channel your nervousness into confidence:
Swap “scared” for “excited”
First, stop telling yourself you’re nervous. Your heart may be pounding, and you may be sweating a little more than usual, but you know what? We have the same reaction when we get really excited, too. In fact, research shows that the prominent hormone released when you’re scared (cortisol) is the same hormone released when you’re excited. It’s just that fear dips us in a negative direction, while excitement catapults us in a positive one.
So, take the win! Every time you start to tell yourself you’re nervous about an interview, remind yourself that nervous energy also fuels excited energy. Then channel that energy into preparing for the interview and acing it.
Prepare early and frequently
Attention procrastinators: waiting until the night before a big interview won’t do you any favors when it comes to remembering your material. It’s in your best interest to practice your interview answers (using lots of good stories about your skills in the workplace) using the impression-association-repetition approach a few days in advance of your interview.
Using a combination of sensory impressions, word- and story-associations, and repetition to study your interview materials will help you completely process your interview answers. As a result, your conversation will be more natural, and you’ll remember everything you want to remember when the opportunity presents itself to speak to your skills and accomplishments.
Switch seats with your interviewer
Here’s another mental shift you need to make: when you’re nervous about an interview, approach it as if you’re the one doing the interviewing. After all, interviews aren’t a one-way street; it’s in your best interest to grill the potential company, too, so you know what you’re getting into and see if you even want the job in the first place.
Lower the stakes
Often, when we’re nervous about an interview, the intense emotions we feel come from what’s on the line: a job you need, a job you want, or simply your personal reputation. But what if you decided absolutely nothing was riding on the interview? Lower the stakes by deciding that you may not take the job if you get offered. Approach this tete-a-tete as an informational meeting that you’ll use to decide whether or not you’ll take a second meeting – not the job itself.
If you can’t psych yourself out of wanting the job, at least decide that you won’t make any decisions or assumptions about the job until your second interview. That way, you can push the pressure off from meeting to meeting.
It’s natural to be nervous about an interview. After all, not everyone wakes up excited to convince strangers to hire them. But using these tips, you’re on a straightforward path to reduce jitters and interview like the excellent job candidate you are.
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