How to Destress for an Interview

Meditation might help candidates reduce interview stress.

Meditation might help candidates reduce interview stress.

You finally landed an interview for your dream job. Your new outfit and shoes are ready to go, you've memorized the interviewers' names, and you've confirmed the time and date of the interview. But as it inches closer, your nerves kick in and you start to freak out. What if you mess up? What if your alarm doesn't go off? What if they don't like you, or you have a bad hair day? Relax -- take a few deep breaths, and remind yourself that you've done your homework, you aced the mock interviews at the career center, and you know your stuff. You've got this!

Practice, practice, practice. Even if you think you've read every book there is about common interview questions and have answers for all of them, practice delivering those answers. Enlist a friend who you can trust to be candid to role-play the interview with you. Video-tape the exchanges, then review them later and note which questions seemed to trip you. Pay attention to unconscious mannerisms that might prove distracting or unprofessional to an interviewer. Practice interviewing some more until you can comfortably field any questions thrown your way.

Take a time-out. Breathe, meditate, dance around the apartment -- do anything that typically helps you relax. Go to a ball game or a goofy movie with a good friend the night before, so you can't spend the whole evening stressing over the next day's interview. Treat yourself to a manicure, a workout at the gym, or another activity that will help you feel good about yourself, then carry that positive energy into the interview with you.

Get a good night's sleep. Sure, it might be hard to fall asleep right away, but if you're rested on the day of your interview, you'll be more alert, focused, and able to remember the info you studied about the company, as well as the questions you prepared to impress the interviewer. And face it, if you stay up all night, you're not going to look your best, no matter how great your new suit is.

Learn how to get to the interview location ahead of time. Ideally, do a practice run at the same time of day the interview is scheduled, so you can correctly gauge how long it will take, how to avoid potential traffic problems, and where to score a parking spot.

Allow yourself plenty of time in the morning to get ready, eat something healthy, and find your way to the interview location. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled interview time so you can sneak into the restroom for a last-minute glance at your hair and makeup. Time it right, because if you're too early, you look desperate and have more time to stress. If you cut it too close, you might come across as disheveled or less than serious.

 

About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.

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