Facing Your Interview Fears

Anticipating an upcoming interview strikes fear in even the heartiest souls.  There is a lot at stake, you want to make the best possible impression with the hopes of receiving a job offer.  You want to sell yourself effectively and demonstrate both your skills and your fit for the role and the company.  While some level of anxiety can be positive in giving you a competitive edge, don’t let fears defeat you.

Logistical Fears

What if I get lost?  What if the train is late?  What if I can’t find a parking space?  What if I get a flat tire?  All these worst case scenarios keep you tossing and turning at night.  Do a trial run in advance to be sure you know exactly how to get there and where to park.  Allow yourself plenty of extra time.  You can always take a walk, stop for coffee or do some last minute preparation if you arrive too early but why risk stressing about by running late.  Take control and reduce your anxiety.

Physical Fears

What if trip going into the interview room?  What if my palms are sweaty when I shake hands?  What if I show up dressed inappropriately?  Preparation is key to confidence.  If you know your palms get sweaty step into the rest room to wash your hands just before the start of the interview or keep tissues in your pocket for a discreet clean up.  Dress professionally to make a good impression.  Prepare your answers to common behavioral and general questions in advance so you will feel more confident.  Research the company and prepare questions you can ask your interviewer.  The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be and confidence reduces your anxiety.

Response Fears

What if they ask a question that I don’t know the answer to?  What if they ask a question I don’t want them to ask such as why I am no longer at my former company?  Be prepared to tell your story.  Expect that they will ask about why you left a prior job.  Have your answers to potentially difficult questions thought out in advance.  If you truly draw a blank on a question, it is ok to take a few seconds to think about it.  You can ask the interviewer for clarification on the question.  You can rephrase the question to confirm that you understand what is being asked.  All these approaches buy you a few seconds to collect your thoughts.  If you think they want a deeper answer and your can’t come up with one, try the “off the top of my head…” response to at least show that you are thinking about it.  Sometimes talking through the question at least demonstrates your thought process which can be more important than the specific answer.  If you walk in prepared, you are less likely to be caught off guard but tell yourself worst case, you can say “let me think about that and I’ll get back to you.”  While you hope to never have to use, having an out prepared in advance will give you the freedom to consider the question because you know you have an out.  Preparation does reduce anxiety.

Recruiters want to see the real you.  The more prepared you are, the more you are able to be in the moment during your interview.


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