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How To Cope With Anxiety During A Job Interview

Fake it 'til you make it!

Everyone gets nervous at job interviews, but if you have anxiety it can be terrifying.

"Job interviews can create a 'perfect storm' for anxiety to spike because they usually involve at least some of the following possible triggers: public speaking or presentations; the possibility of feeling inadequate, embarrassed or like a failure; a situation that involves being judged; identity issues (many of us identify quite closely with our work); and economic need," Dr. Nasreen Khatri, a registered clinical psychologist at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto, tells HuffPost Canada on behalf of The Telus Health Brain Project.

Henrik Sorensen

According to Khatri, being in denial about your nervousness before an interview will only do more harm than good as you end up focusing on pushing down the anxiety instead of focusing on the interview.

"Try to reframe interview anxiety as a healthy, normal response to an exciting challenge," she suggests. Once you've convinced yourself as such, Khatri says preparation is essential. "To reduce anxiety and improve performance, read up on the position, company, or institution and learn all you can about the work culture, as well as the specific roles and expectations involved in the position for which you are being interviewed."


Of course, preparation only helps before the interview. Once you get in there it can be even more overwhelming. If you start experiencing anxiety during your interview, Khatri says it's OK to slow down and even ask for some water.

Aside from giving you an opportunity for a break during the interview, Khatri notes that the extra hydration can help lower stress.

"Don't feel that you have to have the perfect answer to all the interview questions immediately," she says. "Some hesitation is positive and indicates that you are thinking before speaking."

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Below, Redditors share more tips that helped them face their fears when going on a job interview.

Own Your Mistakes

"I don't think there is anyone who doesn't get nervous at the prospect of an interview — remind yourself of that — everybody is anxious in that situation. Knowing that what you are feeling is natural and normal can sometimes make it easier to control. Also, if you make a small mistake, you can say to the interviewer, 'Sorry, I'm just kinda nervous,' and they will accept it. They expect the people they are talking to to be nervous and possibly make slip-ups because of it and they won't think any less of the candidates that do that." via sillypersonx


Big Yourself Up

"Before going into an interview, make yourself as physically large as possible. Go into a bathroom and spread out your arms and legs; if you're sitting in a chair don't slouch, maybe put your hands behind your head and lean back. You'd be surprised how much of your internal state is affected by this feedback loop sort of stuff. Your body get's [sic] large, you feel physically bigger, and feelings of confidence and strength increase." via TheeSweeny

Fidget, But Only If You're Interviewing Over The Phone

"I feel like it really helps to mess around with some trivial task while talking to people on the phone or Skype... something as simple as having a cup of coffee on the table in front of you that you can take a sip from when you feel you need a couple seconds to really compose an answer." via ivebeenafraidtodie


Focus On Breathing

"Take a couple deep breaths before you start and don't forget to take nice easy breaths during... the part when they ask if you have any questions. Just ask, 'What's your typical work day like?' 'How's the atmosphere at the workplace?' etc.. You'll do great!" via onehipwonder87

Do Something Physical First

"I have severe panic disorder & GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). Last year, I endured eleven rounds of interviews for one job... Do something physical beforehand. A run around the block, 59 jumping jacks and 50 burpees, get that nervous energy out." via painteddreamer

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