It’s the night before the big interview. Your outfit is laid out, your résumé is hot off the press, and you’ve Google-Mapped your route. You’re sufficiently prepared—and yet, you’re still nervous.
Although we’re generally pretty good at anticipating and preparing for external challenges, it’s those pesky internal challenges that tend to come up and bite us. We spend a lot of time thinking about what we need to communicate to our interviewer, but not enough time on what to say to ourselves while navigating the interview process.
“Be sure to familiarize yourself with the company, their team, and the job description for the role you’re applying to,” said Fawn Halligan, SELCO Human Resources Associate. “And think about how your résumé lines up with what they’re looking for.”
Along with your list of references, extra copies of your résumé and cover letter, and a stash of breath mints, here are three helpful mindsets to help you at your next job interview:
Your nerves are a sign of your excitement
Instead of dwelling on the fact that you’re feeling nervous or anxious, it can be helpful to acknowledge the presence of that feeling. Try to explore it and reframe it as a positive. The next time you feel your heart racing and your hands clamming up, see it as a signal that you’re excited for what’s to come!
There's a reason you were invited
In the stressful time leading up to a job interview, it’s easy to picture your interviewer as someone who is looking for red flags against you. You might imagine them trying to catch you off guard, make you look dumb, or expose your weaknesses. The truth is your interviewer wants you to do well—in fact, they’re hoping you’re the right person for the job. Approach each question as an opportunity to highlight why you are, in fact, just what the company has been looking for.
“Don’t be shy about ‘tooting your own horn’,” Halligan said. “We want to hear about all of your accomplishments and what you’re proud of.”
You get to decide whether it's a match
It’s easy to worry about things you can’t control, which is yet another reason why job interviews can jump-start your anxiety. There are so many unknowns that it can be hard to feel that you have any power in the interview process. It’s important to remind yourself that, although uncertainty is a natural part of the job hunt, you do have some control. The interview is a chance to evaluate your potential employer at the same time your interviewer is evaluating you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions—in fact, it’s encouraged. Let your questions serve as a reminder that there is more to a job interview than simply pleasing others—you’re also looking to create a fulfilling opportunity for yourself.
“Don’t forget, this interview is about you. Your interviewers want to get to know you, and you want to get to know them,” Halligan said.
It’s natural to feel anxious before a job interview. Remember these three mindsets before and during your next interview to change that nervousness into excitement and confidence.