I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
He who is not every day conquering some fear, has not learned the secret of life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Interviews can be a stressful time – not quite as stressful as discovering that your boyfriend is also your brother (Say It Isn’t So, Chris Klein what were you thinking?) but stressful none the less. If you have found yourself loose in the job market for longer than you had originally thought, and are starting to feel the panic of being out of work, then each interview can seem like a lifeline that desperately needs to be grabbed. The key thing to remember, though, is not to show that fear in your interview. Desperation and panic are emotions that leave a tangible trace, they sabotage your confidence and impede your ability to articulate your experiences well. Your experience could be fantastic, but if you are unable to represent yourself well in your interview, you could find it hard to get work.
Fortunately, there are many ways to combat this situation occurring, simple every day techniques that your mother no doubt taught you during those first stressful years of school exams.
Go for a five minute walk before your interview – Sounds simple enough, but this really does have a great effect on your mental state right before an interview. Fresh air and exercise immediately put the mind into a more tranquil place, gets the blood pumping and stimulates creativity. Stuck for somewhere to go? Our city office is just next to the Carlton Gardens, what better place to centre your mind than frolicking about amongst the trees and flowers? However, make sure you pop a wee hairbrush in your bag if you’re prone to frolicking rather vigorously.
Take deep breaths - Probably the most effective way to get your nerves back under control, taking the time to do some deep breathing exercises will snap you back into a good mental state quicker than you can say omg omg omg omg omg omg.
Get up early and do something that you enjoy before coming in - Not really applicable for those who enjoy a sly whisky chaser first thing in the day, but allowing yourself plenty of time to get ready and read a book or take a walk will mean that your mind doesn’t have all day to work itself into a frenzy about your upcoming interview.
Be prepared - Do your research on the company the day before you’re due to come in for your interview, as last minute scramblings on the company website is more likely to make you feel panicked and stressed. Allow yourself a good hour of preparation time, and then if need be have another fifteen minute refresher the next morning. Those of you who have left exam revision till the last minute *sheepishly raises hand and sighs regrettably* will know what I’m talking about.
Research how you’ll get there - Turning up late for your interview is a real no-no, so make sure you know exactly how long it will take you to get there before you leave the house, and allow yourself an extra fifteen minutes in case of traffic congestion. Being there with time to spare will make you feel more relaxed and less likely to have a mini nervous breakdown.
Concentrate on the positives, not the negatives - If you come in with the mindset that ‘if I don’t get this job then I’m stuffed, totally and utterly stuffed oh God I hope I get it – what if they don’t like me? What if I mess everything up? Oh bloody hell I want my mum’ then that mental state will be highly obvious to your interviewer, and you’re likely to make your fears come true. If instead you say to yourself ‘fantastic, I’m really keen on this role and I’d love the opportunity to pursue it further. I’ve been invited in which means I’m in with a good shot, and I’m proud of the experience and skills that I’ve gained. Wooh, this is going to be good!’ Then bingo! You’ve set yourself up for success.
Fear is a natural human emotion, and the fear that surrounds finding work can be particularly poignant, as often so much rests on success. Just remember that by caving in to your panic and letting it control you, you are more likely to prolong those emotions. No matter how hard it may seem, giving fear a good old kick up the bum will ensure that you can more quickly enter a more positive state of mind, and therefore a more positive state in life.