How to Identify the Source of Your Interview Anxiety & Get Rid of It

By Chelsea Babin

Interview jitters can be overwhelming, stressful, and all around awful. Whether you’re still employed but eager to leave your current job or you’re unemployed and eager to get paid again, interviews are often high-stakes scenarios. And, when you’re trying to be your best self in an interview, you may find it challenging when your interview anxiety is out of control. The best way to get rid of your jitters is to identify the source and fix the problem so you can be calm, confident, and collected in your interview.

5 Potential Sources:

1. Lack of Preparation: Do you know enough about the company? Do you know enough about the job you’re applying for? Do you know anything about the person or people interviewing you? One of the most stressful aspects of any interview is walking into an unfamiliar situation. There are a lot of possibilities for you to prepare for from what questions they’ll ask, to what they’ll be like, to what the office itself will be like and so on. The best thing you can do to distress and get rid of your interview anxiety is to thoroughly prepare for it 1-2 days in advance. Find out everything you can about the position itself, the company, and the people you’ll be speaking with ahead of time so that, when the time comes for you to head into your interview, there will be less unknowns to worry about.

2. Nervous About Appearing Nervous: Everyone stresses the importance of a first and final impression, particularly in an interview situation. A lot of people get so nervous about appearing nervous—rather than appearing confident, which is what they’ve heard employers love—that they actually self sabotage and their body language gives them away. Whether you’re able to calm yourself down before an interview or not, you can adopt the body language of a confident, competent person in your next interview and never have to worry about appearing nervous again. Things like excellent posture, consistent eye contact, leaning slightly in and nodding your head when another person is speaking to indicate you’re listening, and refraining from fidgeting will help project the confidence and capability you’re striving for in an interview.

3. Over Caffeinated: When you’re nervous, your adrenaline will start to race. When you drink caffeine, your adrenaline will start to race. It’s easy to see how mixing pre-interview anxiety with a little too much caffeine can quickly escalate into a disastrous interview. Skip the extra shots of espresso and opt for a good night’s sleep, a solid breakfast, and a few deep, calming breaths before your next interview. You’ll be amazed at how much it will decrease your anxiety and improve your focus!

4. Evaluating in Real Time: “Why did I say that dumb thing?” or “Why can’t I think of that one project that would be perfect to reference right now?” or “Am I smiling too much? Am I not asking enough questions? Am I blowing this right now?”. These incessant questions are often a result of interview anxiety and, if you let them take your focus during an interview, they may be the reason you don’t get the job. While it may be tempting to evaluate your interview in real time, the best thing you can do to alleviate your interview anxiety is to wait to reflect on your performance after the interview is over. That way you’re more likely to focus on the interview itself and you may even find spontaneous ways to improve an interview that you otherwise wouldn’t have found because you were too busy wondering if you were blowing it.

5. Lack of Confidence: If you feel like your resume is unimpressive or you’re not thrilled with the outfit you chose or you’re wondering why they called you in for an interview at all, your lack of confidence could be the source of your interview anxiety. Reassure yourself that you’re there for a reason and give every interview your best shot. Not all of them will result in job offers but, with a little preparation and a lot less interview anxiety, you will slowly build your interview confidence over time and learn from any mistakes you make along the way.

Getting rid of your interview anxiety is incredibly important if you want to have a successful interview that results in a job offer. The best way to get rid of it is to determine where it comes from and then squash it at the source. If you suffer from interview anxiety for one of these 5 reasons, use this as a guide to help you through your next big interview.