Reduce your Anxiety (Fear) to Interview Your Best

October 19, 2008

As a psychologist, I have worked with many people to reduce their “anxiety”. Since anxiety is defined as free floating fear, my first suggestion is to abandon the word “anxiety” and replace it with the word “fear”. Once you begin to think of the feeling as fear, you can begin to ask yourself “what am I scared of”. Once you begin to identify what you are scared of, you can develop specific strategies to reduce your fear.

In interviewing performance most candidate’s primary fear is being asked a question for which they have no answer. In interviewing in general, the greatest fear is not being chosen for the job.

Interestingly, both these fears can be dealt with by one strategy…preparation, preparation, preparation.

The best way to prepare to answer questions is to anticipate what questions you will be asked. Ask yourself this question, “If I were hiring someone to fill the position for which I am applying, what questions would I ask?” Make a list of questions and then prepare answers to the questions. Also, prepare answers to frequently asked questions including questions related to your strengths, weaknesses, goals, and why they should hire you.

One question you will definitely be asked is “Do you have any questions for me/us?” Prepare questions you would like to ask. Write them down and take them with you.

In addition, to allay more fear, it is a good strategy to get a book or look online for the most frequently asked interview questions. Look through the book or web site and note which questions stump you. Prepare answers for these questions. The one problem with this strategy is you will not know which questions you will be asked, but it can’t hurt to become acqainted with popular interview questions.

In addition, prepare by doing research about the company, the industry, competitiors, and the job. Overally, the better prepared you are the more confident you will feel and the less fearful you will be. As your fear goes down your thinking improves and you will perform better in the interview.