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Relax! Alleviate Your Anxiety Before a Job Interview


You polished your resume and got a job interview. You researched the company. You practiced answering questions about your experiences in front of a mirror. You really want this job, and you do possess the qualifications necessary to do it. But you still can’t shake that feeling of nervousness or get rid of the butterflies in your stomach. You are not alone; many of us feel anxiety before interviews, especially in today’s competitive job market. Here are ways you can alleviate your anxiety and have a good interview.


(Photo Credit: photoloni/Flickr)

Be Prepared

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You need to be prepared, but get prepared the night before your interview. Have your clothing picked out and ready. Have any materials (such as a portfolio) ready the night before. This way, you avoid the last-minute rushing around that will exacerbate your anxiety and potentially affect your behavior during the interview. And remember to get enough sleep the night before.

What You Eat Matters

You have to eat something or you will get light-headed. You may also become embarrassed when your stomach starts growling while you are waxing eloquent about your accomplishments. Eat something. Hunger may increase anxiety because it is physically uncomfortable and adds to your worries.

At the same time, avoid heavy meals just before an interview. A heavy meal is likely to make you sluggish and sleepy. Your best bet is to have something light shortly before the interview so you have energy and are alert. If you take care of yourself this way, you are more likely to be relaxed and in the right mindset for a good interview.

It probably goes without saying that you should not drink alcohol to “relax” yourself before an interview. Alcohol releases inhibitions and may cause you to behave in an inappropriate manner. There is also research indicating that drinking caffeine increases anxiety and panic attacks. Instead of coffee or caffeinated soda, have some herbal tea before your interview.

Slow Down

Slow down. Get to the interview a little early, and have time to freshen up, sit and breathe before meeting the interviewer.

You can’t force yourself to relax, and trying to will likely make you more anxious and tense. But you can take time before the interview to be present in your own body, to pay attention to how your are feeling and to accept any anxiety you are feeling. Don’t judge yourself in a harsh manner; rather, be compassionate with yourself about the fact that you anxious. Then, take a deep breath and see if you can let some of that go.

Give yourself a little pep talk as you breathe, and think about your good qualities and your qualifications that got you to this interview.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you handle interview anxiety? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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C L Couch
C L Couch

Terrific advice! Realistic and just right! I teach writing and speech for a technical institute, where job readiness is the key objective, overall. I teach about various kinds of anxieties, among them the anxiety of interviews. The article here would be accessible to my learners as well as directly applicable. Thank you!

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