For the second year, LaSalle Network surveyed nearly 600 people about job interview stress. When asked if they get nervous before a job interview, 71% of respondents said yes.
April is Stress Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to talk about something we see all the time: pre-interview stress. It’s completely normal and often helpful to have some pre-interview jitters, but there are ways to make sure you’re still prepared, confident, and ready to impress:
1. Do your homework
33% of respondents said being unprepared is their biggest fear about interviews. When so much information is available, making sure you’re fully prepared can seem daunting. What if you miss something?
When preparing for a job interview, do more than visit the company’s website. Read what the company says about themselves – their blog, their About Us page, etc. – but also check what others say about the company. Have they won any awards? Are they in the press? Read Yelp, Glassdoor, and Google reviews from employees and other candidates. Check their social media to get a better sense of the company culture, too.
46% of respondents said they spend 2-3 hours preparing for a job interview. Although there is no magical number of hours necessary to do well in an interview, make sure you’re doing enough work so you feel knowledgeable and ready to ask and answer questions.
2. Ask the basic questions
Don’t be afraid to ask the hiring manager about the basics of the interview before the actual day. Whether you don’t know what to wear, don’t know what to bring, or want to make sure you have the right directions, it’s better to ask than to assume. You can eliminate the guesswork and focus instead on preparing mentally for the interview.
Some sample questions to ask before the interview:
– Is there anything unusual I should know about getting to your office?
– What is the appropriate attire?
– Is there anything specifically you’d like me to prepare for our interview?
– How long should I plan to be there?
3. Arrive even earlier than you think
38% of job seekers are stressed about showing up late for an interview. But you control your own arrival time! Give yourself extra time on the big day so that timing doesn’t factor into your stress levels.
Imagine every worst case scenario that could cause you to be late for the interview, then budget time accordingly for when you plan to arrive. Driving to the interview? Make sure to account for traffic, accidents, and trouble parking. Taking public transit? Plan on late trains or buses. First time at the office? Give yourself time to find the building and the right floor.
If you get to the office early, find a coffee shop or a restaurant to wait and prepare in.
4. Power pose
Power posing – standing in an open and expansive stance – may sound silly, but Harvard professor Amy Cuddy has done research that shows power posing before job interviews helps candidates project more confidence, maintain composure, and speak more persuasively. All in all, they received better evaluations after the interviews.
Just before the interview, find someplace you can power pose for two to three minutes.
Power poses include:
– A wide stance with hands on hips (the “Wonder Woman” pose)
– Standing over a table with hands on table, leaning forward
– A wide stance with arms above the head
– Leaning back in a chair with feet resting on the table
5. Mind your (body) language
After power posing before the interview, pay attention to your body language during the interview. 49% of people fear making a bad first impression during interviews. But it makes a big difference when you’re conscious of how you present yourself to hiring managers, verbally and nonverbally.
While some nervous habits may feel small, hiring managers do notice and assess candidates’ body language. Avoid fidgeting, and have good posture. Don’t play with your phone or hair, and always make eye contact. Try not to cross your arms, and speak up!