Have you ever tossed a dozen successful free throws just to miss the basket at the precise moment when someone is watching? Let’s face it. When we know we’re being evaluated, it can be intimidating. And when we actually care about the outcome, like in an interview, it can be downright nerve-racking.
An effective interview is a key part of any career transition. If you dread the thought of relaying your accomplishments to a panel of hiring managers, here are some strategies to defeat your anxiety:
– Practice makes perfect. This simple, yet effective technique is often overlooked. Write out your answers, role-play with a friend or use the video on your SmartPhone to record yourself. Your brain will inevitably store much of the information that you rehearse, so it will be more available to you when under pressure.
– Limit the variables. Many aspects of the interview will be unknowns, however, you can significantly reduce your anxiety by managing the controllable variables. The day before the interview, press your suit, print off copies of your resume, check out the Hiring Team on Linked In, and take a test drive to the office building. Unexpected issues may pop up, but at least getting lost won’t be a factor.
– Pretend you’re a Consultant. The interview is not really about YOU per se, it’s about the product you offer or the problems you solve. Reframe the meeting as a discussion about how you would advise the Hiring Team on the problems they’re presenting to you. The focus will shift off of your performance and onto the discussion, which will increase your confidence.
– Decide to be curious instead of nervous. Often candidates get worried that they won’t get an offer, even before they know if they actually WANT an offer. While the job description might look perfect or the company may be in your top 3, how do you know this is the right role, Boss, or situation for you until you actually have a conversation with the Hiring Team? Take an exploratory stance. Interviews are a two-way discovery process.
– Be human. A huge part of the interview is finding out if you’re a fit for the company. If you’re really tense, it’s okay to say, “I’m excited about this opportunity, so I’m feeling a little nervous.” It will completely take the weight off of your shoulders and also help you to connect with the Interviewer. They have been in your shoes at some point, too.