Job Interview Anxiety: How Not to Freeze Up During Interviews

Updated on May 21, 2024 • 6 min read
Key Takeaways: Research the company, know the job inside out, and be ready for anything they throw at you Rehearse your answers like you're preparing for
Job Interview Anxiety: How Not to Freeze Up During Interviews

Key Takeaways:

  • Research the company, know the job inside out, and be ready for anything they throw at you
  • Rehearse your answers like you’re preparing for a big performance. The more you practice, the smoother your interview will go
  • When nerves kick in, take a deep breath. Stay calm, stay focused
  • There’s a key thing that can help you the most if you have job interview anxiety

Ever found yourself sweating bullets in the waiting room before a job interview? Or did you feel your heart racing as you stepped into the interviewer’s office?

Job interviews can stir up a whirlwind of emotions—excitement, anticipation, and often, a hefty dose of anxiety.

In fact, 92% of adults experience anxiety about job interviews, making it one of the most common anxiety-inducing situations in the professional world. Or even overall! Think about that for a moment.

Still, there’s almost no escaping job interviews if you want to get a good-paying (or any, for that matter) job, right?

If you let those nerves get the best of you, it can sabotage your chances of landing the job you want. 

So, let’s dive into these practical strategies to help you stay calm, collected, and confident during your next job interview.

Prepare For The Job Interview To Avoid Anxiety

One of the best ways to combat interview anxiety is through thorough preparation. Research the company, understand the job role, and anticipate potential interview questions.

Know exactly what the job is about before you walk into that interview. Read the job description really well and figure out what they’re looking for. 

Think about times in your past jobs where you did stuff similar to what they wanted, and be ready to talk about it. That way, when they ask why you’re right for the job, you’ll have plenty of good reasons to give ’em.

Ultimately, the more you know, the more confident you’ll feel walking into that interview room.

Preparing with job interview and researching the company

Rehearse Your Responses

Don’t underestimate the power of practice, as it’s incredibly important when it comes to interviews.

Get someone you trust, like a friend or family member, and go over some of the questions you think they might ask. Pretend it’s the real deal and answer just like you would in an actual interview. 

Here are some of the most common job interview questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Can you give an example of a time when you had to solve a problem at work?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked well in a team.

As you can see, this isn’t exactly rocket science, right? HR folks like to make their lives easier by asking the same questions over and over again, no matter what job or company you’re applying for. 

The sooner you master these answers, the better equipped you’ll be to face interviewers. The following will also help you, as it helped me many, many times, not just in job interviews: 

Preparing for job interview

Focus On Your Breathing 

When you feel those nerves kicking in during the interview, don’t panic! Take a second to concentrate on your breathing

Slow down and take some deep breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

Deep, slow breaths can help calm your nerves and ground you in the present moment. 

Remember, it’s okay to pause and collect your thoughts before responding to a question. You won’t look like a tool but as a calm, smart, and collected person.

Breathing exercise can relieve anxiety

Let me just briefly mention our new Calmer app here. It is an anxiety relief app, and using it to practice deep breathing exercises in the days leading up to your interview will help you build resilience against anxiety. 

Plus, having a go-to tool like Calmer on your phone can give you reassurance and support during stressful moments. 

Visualize Success

Visualization isn’t mumbo-jumbo. The most successful athletes and performers out there use it as a powerful tool for managing anxiety and improving performance.

Before the interview, take some time to visualize yourself performing confidently and successfully. Picture yourself answering questions with ease and leaving a positive impression on the interviewer.

Here’s exactly what to do: 

  • Close your eyes and picture yourself in the interview room. See yourself sitting confidently, making eye contact, and giving thoughtful responses to the interviewer’s questions. 
  • Imagine the positive atmosphere in the room and the feeling of connection between you and the interviewer.
  • Visualize the interview going smoothly from start to finish. 
  • Picture yourself answering each question with ease, showcasing your skills and experiences effortlessly.
  • Imagine the interviewer nodding in approval and smiling as they jot down notes about how perfect you are for the job.

Now, this is important. As you visualize success, focus on how you want to feel during the interview – calm, confident, and in control.

Visualize yourself breathing deeply and staying grounded, even if you encounter a challenging question.

Finally, imagine the moment when the interview ends, and you walk out of the room feeling proud of yourself. See yourself celebrating your successful interview and looking forward to hearing back from the company.

By visualizing success in this way, you’re programming your brain to expect positive outcomes and boosting your confidence for the real thing.

New job landed!

Shift Your Perspective

Instead of thinking of the interview as this super intense interrogation, I try to see it more like a chat between me and the interviewer.

It’s not just about them grilling me with tough questions. Both of us are basically figuring out if we’re a good match for each other. It makes sense, right?

I remind myself that the interviewer isn’t some scary judge out to trip me up. They’re actually just there to get to know me better and see if I’d fit well in the job.

Changing how I look at the interview helps take some of the pressure off. Instead of feeling like I have to perform perfectly, I can relax a bit and focus on having a genuine conversation.

Think of it as meeting someone new – you’re just getting to know each other and seeing if you click. 

And the best thing about it is that you can use this “trick” in many other everyday situations you find yourself in that make you anxious. 

Move On Quickly

Not many people have a 100% success rate when finding a new job. I certainly never did. One thing that really made a difference for me was not dwelling on the rejections

Instead of getting stuck in a rut after a failed interview, I made it a point to bounce back quickly and keep moving forward.

I adopted this mindset of “failing fast and often.” It sounds kind of counterintuitive, but hear me out. The more interviews I went on, the more I learned about what I wanted in a job and what I didn’t.

Each rejection taught me something new, from refining my interview skills, clarifying my career goals, or realizing what kind of company culture I thrived in.

HR person ready for the next job interview

So, instead of getting discouraged by rejection, I saw it as a step closer to finding the right opportunity. I’d dust myself off, update my resume, and dive back into the job search with renewed energy.

And you know what? It paid off. Eventually, I landed a fantastic job that was the perfect fit for me.

So, if you’re feeling down about a failed interview, don’t sweat it. Keep pushing forward, keep putting yourself out there, and trust that the right opportunity will come along when the time is right.

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