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5 Secrets For Handling Interview Stress

  • May 22, 2019

Interview stress is common, and in all honesty, everyone has probably experienced it at one time or another. When you stop to consider how important interviews are in shaping our futures, it’s completely understandable why so many of us get stressed out by them.

There are lots of articles online about how to boost your interview confidence, but the truth is, if you’re nervous and anxious, sooner or later it’s going to show, potentially sabotaging an otherwise successful interview.

At Clayton Recruitment, we understand the anxieties and pitfalls that job-seekers face in interviews. We know how stressful it can be, but we also understand why employers look for confidence and poise in their candidates.

With that in mind, we wanted to share our five secret strategies for dealing with interview stress.

1. Research Your Potential Employer

One of the biggest keys to managing your nerves in an interview is knowing what to expect, which means knowing what you’re interviewing for. Understanding the history of the company and what they’ve achieved (as well as what they hope to achieve) is crucial for knowing what you can bring to the table.

In addition to understanding what services the company offers and who their clients are, you should learn as much as you can about the duties and expectations around the role you’ve applied for. For instance, if you’re interviewing for a role as an assistant accountant, you should ideally know which level of AAT qualification is required as well as which type of accounting software the company uses. You should also consider the ways in which the company’s philosophy align with your personal values.

The more you understand about the company’s needs and goals and where you might be able to fit in, the more likely you are to project a calm and confident demeanour during your interview.

2. Prepare a List of Questions

Just as important as researching the company is coming away with questions that will help you learn more about it. Your research will likely reveal more questions than answers; therefore, as you learn about the company, you should make a running list of questions that you may want to ask in your interview.

Remember, at some point, your interviewer will expect you to ask questions, and you’ll want to show them that you’ve given careful thought to both the position and their company. While active listening and genuine curiosity during the course of the interview might naturally yield some great questions that you might not have thought of beforehand, it’s always good to have a list to fall back on just in case.

3. Rehearse with a Mock Interview

In addition to making a list of questions for your interviewer, you should also brainstorm the kinds of questions they are likely to ask you. Try to anticipate what kinds of questions you might be asked and practice answering these. You can also find many great resources online, listing both general and more critical interview questions. However, it isn’t enough to simply think about how you might answer these questions.

You should ideally conduct one or two mock interviews with a friend or relative playing the role of the interviewer. Failing this, you could even interview yourself out loud in front of a mirror. Better yet, video yourself with your phone, so that you can play it back and critique yourself. While just the thought of this might make you cringe, it can be an extremely effective tool for lowering your anxiety and improving your performance.

4. Stay Calm & Don’t Rush

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s an easy one to neglect. Not feeling rushed or flustered is hugely important in terms of keeping your stress in check. Make sure you know exactly how to get to your interview and give yourself more than enough time to get there, ensuring that you account for any traffic or other possible delays. No matter how much of a people person you might be, arriving late and agitated to your interview is not only going to make you feel stressed and anxious; it will likely ruin any chances you might have had of getting the job.

This advice doesn’t just apply for getting to your interview; try to take your time when answering questions, as well. This doesn’t mean waffling on endlessly or taking dramatically long pauses before or during your answers. It means being yourself, pacing yourself, and remembering to breathe. Remember, at the end of the day, an interview is really just a conversation.

5. Connect With Your Interviewers

While projecting confidence is important, being overly confident can do more harm than good. Boasting or bragging is an immediate red flag to most potential employers. Rather than trying to impress your interviewer, you should channel your nervous energy towards connecting and empathising with them. By focusing on connecting with people rather than on performance (or worrying about how they perceive you), you’ll be more at ease and more confident – you’ll also come across as likeable.

When you shift the focus of the interview onto the needs of your potential employer, you’re not only showing genuine interest, but you’re likely to inspire their confidence in you as a potential employee.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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