How to Handle a Job Interview When You Have Anxiety

How to Handle a Job Interview When You Have Anxiety

Going to a job interview when you have anxiety is a stressful experience. Your palms will sweat, you may feel like you’ll have nothing to say to the hiring manager and even have a fear of making a fool of yourself. 

Handling a job interview with anxiety is not easy. However, you might need to work on your anxiety and confidence levels if you want to succeed in your career and live a financially healthy life. That’s because job interviews are inevitable. You’re going to be interviewed whether you work for someone else or have your own business.

Dealing with people when you have anxiety is tricky, however, you can learn ways to calm yourself and conduct a successful job interview. Job interviews don’t need to be scary if you’re an anxious or timid person. 

What’s important is to realize that anxiety shouldn’t stop you from pursuing a job you want or starting a side business. 

Here are a few ways to handle a job interview when you have anxiety and fearful thoughts.

Make a list of all your qualities before the job interview

Handling a job interview will become like a simple task once you identify your strengths and qualities. Write all the qualities and good things you bring to a job on a piece of paper the night before your job interview. 

The Berkeley Well-Being Institute has a simple guide on how to identify positive traits in order to use them to feel more confident and secure within yourself.

Anxiety doesn’t have to make you feel less than others. Moreover, anxiety can be an advantage instead of a flaw. For example, those with anxiety can seem more energetic and action-oriented, qualities that are appreciated by employers.

Do breathing exercises before the job interview

Deep breathing exercises will relax your neck and shoulders and lower your stress levels. Having anxiety comes with tensed muscles and breathing exercises can help loosen these muscles.

NYC-based psychiatrist, Marlynn Wei thinks that even five minutes of deep breathing exercises can decrease your stress levels and make you feel much better.

Finding time in the morning before your job interview to do deep breathing and relax your body will positively impact your entire day.

Prepare for the job interview

Everyone needs to prepare before a job interview, not only those who suffer from anxiety.

Check the company’s website, look over its social media profiles and find out what its values are. Understand the message the company is trying to send and whether you agree with it or not. Check the services the company is offering to its clients and what kind of clients they have.

Would you like to work for this company and are their values in line with yours? You can also check the company’s Glassdoor profile and reviews. What are people saying about working there? These are good things to know about the job you’re interviewing for.

You should also prepare for potential questions you’d need to answer during the interview. Expect questions like why are you applying for this job? what new things could you bring to this job or how did you handle mistakes at your work before or/and what made you leave the last job?

Knowing the answers to potential job interview questions will decrease the anxiety around the job interview and help you feel more confident and relaxed.

Be punctual 

Being on time for a job interview is important. You want to make a good impression to the hiring manager. This goes the other way, too. If the hiring manager is on time, that shows a respect for the candidate and a commitment to the job.

However, when you’re not on time, you can become overly anxious about the interview. If you’re struggling with anxiety, you know how stressful it is to either miss a deadline or not be on time for a meeting or appointment.

Try to get up early and leave even earlier if you need to drive to the company where the job interview takes place. 

Be yourself (warts and all)

The worst thing someone with anxiety would do in a job interview would be to pretend to be someone they’re not. For example, if you’re an introvert and you try to pose as an extroverted person, the hiring manager will realize that.

Just because it’s a job interview doesn’t mean the company is looking for extroverted people to hire. 

Try to answer sincerely to all the questions you’re being asked and don’t cover some of the flaws you have, thinking they’ll be a put-off to the interviewer.

Remember that if you’re not yourself during the job interview and you’re hired, you’ll need to continue to pretend to be that person you portrayed in the interview stage. 

You won’t manage to keep that up for long. 

Tell them that you’re nervous

Everyone knows that during a job interview you are on the spot, a situation that makes many people nervous. Try to mention to the interviewer that you are anxious. 

I am sure that if the company is the right fit, they will understand that. You are certainly not the first or the last interviewee whose palms are clammy and are sweating a tad too much.

Remember that you are interviewing them as well

This aspect is usually forgotten by people interviewing for a new job. 

You are interviewing the company as much as they interview you. You will need to gather enough information about them to decide if the company is a good fit for you and whether you’ll feel comfortable working there.  

Try asking them questions to take the pulse on how the company is working, what it’s like being their employee and so on. You can try asking any of these questions: what are the company’s goals? why did the last employee leave? what was the biggest challenge the company had to face and how did they overcome it? 

Asking questions shows you are interested in the job itself and not only in how much it pays. This will make you seem more confident and interesting as a candidate. Plus, when you’re confident it will show in your relaxed body language. You won’t gesticulate as much, and you will look relaxed and chill.

Big Interview says that body language during an interview is a very important part of getting the job. When you look laidback and put together, the hiring manager will be more interested in knowing more things about you and even consider you for the job.

Handling a job interview when you have anxiety is not easy. However, there are many things you can do to ensure you maintain control over the job interview and create a positive, relaxed exchange between you and the hiring manager.

Believe in yourself because you have more qualities and strengths than you give yourself credit for.

Author’s Bio

Marlena Bontas is a content writer, tea drinker, a free spirit who likes walking in nature, traveling, and living in foreign countries. She advocates for mental health on her Medium Blog.

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