Many things in our world change, but stress and anxiety seemingly remain constant – at least when it comes to job interviews. Nearly three in four job seekers (73%) consider job hunting one of the most stressful things in life, according to CareerBuilder’s 2017 Candidate Experience Study. Also, in 2013, another study from Everest College found that 92 percent of U.S. adults fear at least something about job interviews.
Photo: Tim Gouw on Unsplash
So, if job interviews make you sweat, why does it matter? Can recruiters and hiring managers even tell if you’re suffering from interview anxiety if everyone else does too?
According to Sunny Ramaji, a business development manager at Sparks Group with almost five years of experience as a recruiter, they can. “It’s definitely evident,” he says. He often observes nervous job seekers “fidgeting, ranting on after answering a question, or running short on breath.” Sympathetic to the plight, he tends to break the ice with a bit of humor, but he also recommends that candidates also put forth some effort to release the stress.
Here are four tips Mr. Ramaji recommends for overcoming job interview anxiety:
1) Do Intensive Research on the Company
The more you know about an organization, the more comfortable you’ll feel talking to the professionals who represent it. Mr. Ramaji recommends looking into the company history, product, leadership, and vision. You should also do your homework on showing up for the interview. “If you know your commute to the interview and have taken the initiative to look on Google maps to see if there’s open or limited parking, it can immensely reduce your anxiety,” he says.
2) Prepare the Body as You Do the Mind
The day before your interview (and the day of, if you’ll be interviewing in the afternoon) exercise and eat well. “When you work out, you release endorphins,” Mr. Ramaji notes, highlighting that these chemicals help you calm your nerves, clear your mind, and give you energy. You may still feel stressed, but self-care might make you feel it a bit less.
3) Be Ready to Interview the Interviewer
According to Mr. Ramaji, you should always arrive to an interview with a few questions of your own. These should aim to open a dialogue with the hiring manager. “Before you accept a job, it’s just as important to see if it’s the right fit for your values, skills, and time as it is for the company” he notes. Asking the right questions can ensure you leave with as much information to consider as they do.
4) Consider How the Other Shoe Fits
Job candidates often worry about how they come off in interviews, but they’re not the only ones. Mr. Ramaji reminds us that “at the end of the day, the hiring manager sitting across from you is just another human being.” It’s a high-stakes conversation for them, too. They’re trying to assess the fit between you and the organization, you and the team of people they lead. Mr. Ramaji says the key here is to remember that everyone makes mistakes, so cut yourself some slack and be ready for them. After all, “we are human.”
As you prepare for your next job interview, whether it’s your first your thousandth, never forget to follow these steps to reduce your stress about the situation. At the end of the day, everyone has a lot on the line, and everyone is looking for a situation that’s a good mutual fit. If you prepare yourself, you can increase the likelihood that the best fit is ultimately you.
Alex Moore is a professional writer and editor who is currently teaching communicative English at a private university in Chile. Before moving abroad, he worked as a writer and editor at the Association for Talent Development (ATD). In his free time, you can find him cooking, eating, reading, traveling through Latin America, or playing chess with his fiance.