How I deal with anxiety before a big interview
I'm reclining in my favourite chair at my grandma's house in England. I've just spent the last two hours frantically stressing myself out over an assessment centre I have tomorrow. Having done initial research before I applied to the company, I was saving a last minute recap for the night before.
Things I hadn't fully considered:
- The difficulty in finding an appropriate outfit
- How out of my depths I'd feel when reading the compulsory articles
- My presentation being too long
- Traffic for tomorrow morning
- How nervous I'd feel
I always try to approach interviews with an attitude of nonchalance. If it's meant to be it will be and I'm interviewing them as much as they're interviewing me. I want to be confident that my skill set and growth will match the particular company. But, this afternoon I got whipped up in the excitement of how much I'd like this job. From the high profile clients to working in a well-established team. All the hard-work I'd put into my presentation, phone interview and research prep now felt distinctly insufficient.
Not to mention, none of my previous interview outfits seemed good enough. Stealing a more professional coat from a friend helped, but I still felt inadequate. Like they would see through my confidence. The truth is I don't have that much interview experience in the grand scheme of things. Aside from my current internship, I keep getting through to the final rounds of schemes before they decide to go with a different candidate. I don't know what it is about me that seems to be good, but not quite good enough for potential employers.
Obviously, this is just unnecessary overthinking. I know how competitive the placements I go for are and really know very little about what the organisation is looking for. So, how can I deal with this anxiety without giving up completely?
1) Pep talk from someone you trust
My dad is fantastic at this. He sat me down as I went through my list of worst case scenarios, told me to breathe deeply and trust in myself that I'll solve whatever curve balls they throw at me.
2) Go beyond with preparation
Read over your CV again. Think about your previous interview questions. Test your knowledge on the company. Also, I like to look up potential competency based questions online and get people to quiz me. So, when the inevitable when have you exhibited leadership question comes up - I'll be one step ahead.
3) Read over what they've given you
These big companies will be explicit about what they're looking for from you. Especially with assessment centres, having a good idea about the days timetable can help set you at ease. Mindmap or bullet point key components to cement the ideas in your mind.
4) Make the morning easier for yourself
I like to lay out my clothes the night before. Decide what you're having for breakfast. Tell whoever you live with what your plan is. On big days it's all about over-compensating on time. Even if that means waking up super early. Allow for that unlikely train delay or traffic. Double check the location on Google Maps. Pack your bag and put essentials by the front door. Do everything and anything that will make tomorrow smooth. The last thing you want is to feel rushed.
5) Get a great night's sleep
You've done everything you can. You've set up everything for tomorrow. Now put on some comfy pyjamas, a thick eye mask and maybe even a positivity meditation. Sleep is your best bet at succeeding tomorrow. But, even if you can't get some much needed shut eye don't start going over facts again. Keep it light the night before. So, you can kick it in to gear tomorrow!
Wish me luck. I hope you get exactly the right job for what you need. But, trust whatever's meant to be will be. Looking back now at some of my 'failed' interviews, I am relieved they didn't work out! I'm sure you have some like that too.
All my love, Sam