With a career change or new role comes the pressure to perform well in interviews, either for the job or before the company board or the press. The stress you encounter can have a detrimental impact on your performance. To control this anxiety, it’s important to understand what causes it to manage the symptoms that creep up before, during and even after the interview.
Anxious during a question-answer round? Manage your anxiety before, during and after an interview with these tips
What causes anxiety
When anxiety strikes, the amygdala, a set of neurons in the brain that process emotion, and the limbic system are telling the body to react to the thought. Interview anxiety essentially stems from the thought that someone’s quality of life hinges on their performance in an interview.
Before the interview
Hyper enthusiasm and anxiety could be the same thing. However, if there’s too little enthusiasm, you could come off as disengaged or tired. If you feel that your anxiety is still at a point where it will hinder your performance, preparation is a critical step. Researching about the company and thinking about the tougher questions you may be faced with can help in your preparation.
During the interview
When you’re stressed, one of the symptoms is an increased heart rate. Taking slow, deep breaths will physically bring your heart rate down, lower your stress levels and make you feel relaxed. A common mistake people make is to immediately start talking once an interviewer asks a question. They’ll start answering before they even know how they want to proceed. If you can’t answer a question right away, take a few seconds before answering — it’s better than letting your nerves do the talking.
After the interview
Anxiety doesn’t necessarily go away once the interview is over. One proven method for reducing anxiety is engaging in mindfulness exercises. Things like imagining yourself getting positive results (visualisation) or imagining how you would talk to your friend if they were in your situation are ways that can change your negative thinking. Almost everyone has experienced some degree of job interview anxiety. A certain degree of nervousness is completely normal and healthy.