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Six Steps for Having a Successful Interview Despite Your Fears

If you have an interview coming up you've probably done a lot of work to get to this point. But many of us get very shaky, nervous, and sweaty before jumping into a job interview. If interview fears are something you've experienced there is hope that can help you set the course for high-performing success.

Root Cause of Interview Fears

If you want to get over any fear, getting closer to it by studying the root cause is a good place to start. So why is being jittery before an interview such a widespread issue?

Fear in general connects us to the primitive part of our brain which purpose is to protect us from perceived danger. When we focus too much on the potential negative consequences of messing up an interview, our internal emergency response system, or "fight, flight or freeze" starts to kick in. The byproduct of this response is a surge in adrenaline and a racing heart which then causes scattered thinking sweaty palms, and shaky muscles. This response is linked to events we view as threatening our survival and can be over-activated when we focus too much on the risk of negative outcomes. But there are ways to turn off the fear triggers. It begins with proper preparation.

1. Do What Athletes and Public Performers Do

Athletes have rigorous training and preparation for both mind and body. They are constantly asking themselves how can my training help me to perform better? When they aren’t training in the early mornings or later evening times they will likely be visualizing positive steps they will take, replaying a successful performance in their mind, practicing mantras or positive self-talk, and relaxing with music or meditation.

Most performers such as actors, musicians, or public speakers will also have a routine they follow before getting on stage. These steps create a building of energy and confidence that leads up to the performance.

2. Get Your Mind and Body Ready For High Performance

To prepare you will want to focus on both your mind and body. In the interview, you will want to find a balance of both calm and enthusiasm. To help you get there find exercise activities that are both fast and slow. To gain energy do higher impact adrenaline-pumping exercises to get your heart pumping and help you feel charged and alive like running or swimming. To get calm do activities that help you to relax like yoga, walking or meditation, and prayer. Doing a mix of both throughout the week will help your body to be balanced and ready to enter into an interview with a clear, calm yet enthusiastic demeanor.

3. Master The Pre-Interview Plan

This preparation begins with a pre-interview plan. Creating an empowering schedule that is repeatable for each new interview. A meaningful schedule that can be refined like a ritual that has healthy steps you go through to get yourself in the right mental and physical state of being. It will take some experimenting on your part by trying different combinations and making improvements until you get it down to a predictable science.

4. The week before

Read the job description and highlight the keywords or skills that align with the values you can offer. Do your research on the company, people, and culture. Learn what you can about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of the company. Look up typical interview questions and try to predict what you think they will ask you by imagining you are the interviewer. Work with an interview partner or coach to complete a mock interview that can be recorded and that you can then playback and learn from. Ask the recruiter what the dress code is.

5. The Day Before

Review and visualize the interview, set up a dry run by practicing in front of a mirror, making a video on your phone or computer. Rehearse answers to questions you think you'll be asked. Take some self-care time by getting a massage, doing yoga, going for a run or getting a nice haircut. Decide what you will wear and have your clothes cleaned and ready. Wind down properly so you can get a good night's sleep. Set aside some time to drive to the interview site or prepare a nice background if done remotely.

6. The Day Of

Have a healthy breakfast and any meals leading up to the interview. Drink lots of water. Go for a walk. Take some time to primp and clean up nice. Make sure your calendar is free before the interview to give yourself plenty of time to drive to the interview site or get your lighting and background prepared for the virtual interview.

Julie Allen is a Confidence Career Coach and Life Coach in the Seattle area. She helps young professionals achieve their career and life potential.

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