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  • Kelli

6 Tips to Combat Pre-Interview Anxiety

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

When I moved to New York without a job, I knew that most of my days would be spent combing through postings, sending out cold-asks, setting up meetings asking for advice, experience, shadowing opportunities, and the like.  Luckily, things have more or less began to pick up, and I’ve been called in for interviews a couple times a week, today being one of those times.

I threw on a blazer, got on my train, and read my book just as I always do during my commute.  It was then that I began to feel the pre-interview anxiety kick in – my pulse quickened, my hands started shaking, I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath, and to make matters worse, I was in what is essentially a metal box 500 feet underground traveling over 30mph with a bunch of strangers pushed up against me…not exactly a tranquil environment.  As I resurfaced to the streets and had a few minutes to walk around in the sunshine and fresh air, I still was struggling to fully ground myself and relax.

I know that when we go into interviews, we want to demonstrate the best versions of ourselves.  In order to achieve this, here are 6 Tips to Combat Pre-Interview Anxiety!

1. Do Your Research

If you have applied for a job and are asked in for an interview, it obviously means that you have made a good enough impression with your resume, cover letter, and materials that the company wants to meet you in person to learn more about you.  In order to be prepared, it is imperative that you do your research!  Click through every single link on their website.  Take note of the different programs and services they offer.  Check out their social media.  Maybe even check out reviews on!  Make sure you know as much about the company as possible, including how the role you’re interviewing for fits into the operation and big picture (if it’s unclear, this is also one of those great questions to ask at the end).

2. Over-Prepare

You will always regret not preparing enough, but you will never regret preparing too much for an interview.  Print out a copy of the job description and duties.  Next to each duty, jot down another environment, position, or experience that you’ve already had where you’ve had the exact same (or similar) responsibilities.  This way, no matter what angle the interviewer approaches, you will appear well-versed and experienced.  This will also up your confidence!

Print extra copies of your resume, references, and cover letter, just in case.  Wear something flattering, yet comfortable and polished.  Know the date you can begin working without having to reference your calendar.  Start brainstorming questions you might ask if you were interviewing someone for this position.

3. Avoid Food/Beverages That Will Distract You

This will look like different things for different people, but for me it is coffee.  I’m not usually a coffee drinker, so it was a terrible choice for me to indulge in a cup of Joe this morning, only two hours before my interview.  I know for a fact THIS amped up my adrenaline even more, making it really difficult for me to resist fidgeting, overthinking, and not breathing properly.  So maybe don’t have that martini the night before and  avoid going for the greasy breakfast sandwich in the morning.  Your mind and body will both thank you.

4. Encourage Yourself and Envision Success

Come up with a list of things that make you feel good about yourself.  Throw together a playlist of inspiring songs that make you feel optimistic.  Pull up a quote that resonates with you and aligns your soul and spirit.  Call your mom, your best friend, your  roommate and receive a pep talk.

Picture yourself already working in the place you want to be.  What are you wearing?  What does the office look like?  What are your coworkers like?  What work are you doing?  What’s the background on your computer?  What types of pens do you like to have and where are they placed on your desk?  Which bar does the office head to after a long day?  How do you want people to see you in this company?  Envision yourself already there, and talk to your interviewers like they’re your colleagues.  Get the right perspective so the stakes are lowered, and you’ll be able to relax and showcase your skills, talents, and experience with confidence and expertise.

5. Breathing Exercises/Meditate

For me, the most excruciating part of any interview process is the moment right after you’ve checked in with a receptionist, and right before you get called back for the actual interview.  My mind is fine as long as I’m continuing to move, but the moment I have to be still is when I begin to feel my anxiety in CAPITAL LETTERS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!  Come up with something to do during this span of time that distracts you.  I usually avoid scrolling through my phone, as I personally don’t like the way it looks.  I opt for breathing exercises.  Here are some ideas!  This could also be a great time to practice envisioning your success!

6. Let Go

Know that you have prepared and done all you can do.  Do your best with the questions you’re presented with and be yourself.  When you leave the room, know that it’s over.  Don’t spend the rest of the day overthinking your responses or doubting your instincts, simply move on.  What is for you will not pass you, and the minute you are able to believe that with your entire mind, heart, and soul, the stress around these types of situations will decrease drastically.  If you don’t land this job, it means you’re one step closer to the one you ARE going to get.  Don’t ever doubt your placement or timing, you are exactly where you need to be.


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