By Maurie Backman

The Motley Fool, January 4, 2018 —

Does the thought of interviewing make you want to curl up in a ball and hide? Here’s how to overcome that anxiety and increase your chances of success.

So you applied to a bunch of jobs and are lining up a series of interviews. Sounds like a great start! There’s just one problem: your tendency to get excessively anxious during interviews, to the point where it hurts your chances of getting hired.

It happens to lots of folks. But if you really want to nail your next interview, here are a few tips to keep in mind.


1. Come in knowing your stuff

The more prepared you are going into an interview, the less likely you are to get flustered. So if you make a point of thoroughly researching the company you’re meeting with and its associated industry, you’ll eliminate some of the on-the-spot pressure you might otherwise succumb to. In addition to straight-up research, dig into business-related trends or news stories that’ll help you appear insightful and make for easily flowing conversation. Having plenty to talk about during an interview is a good way to calm your nerves.

2. Prepare for common interview questions

Though the things you’ll be asked during a given interview will depend heavily on the specifics of the job, there are certain universal questions you can pretty much come to expect. Read up on what these are and figure out how to answer them, and you’ll be better positioned to sail through your next meeting without falling victim to a nasty case of nerves.

For example, one of the toughest interview questions you’ll likely face is the oft-dreaded “What’s your greatest weakness?” But that question doesn’t have to constitute a trap if you plan for it in advance. You should also be prepared to talk about what makes you the right person for the job, as opposed to someone else with a similar skill level on paper. Map out some answers ahead of time, and you’re apt to get less anxious on the spot.

3. Do a trial run beforehand

Maybe you don’t have much experience interviewing; or perhaps you’re the type of person who simply gets anxious under pressure. No matter the case, one way to ease those nerves is to go through a mock interview before your official meeting is set to take place. You might enlist the help of a friend, family member, or even colleague, provided that person is ultra-trustworthy, and run through the motions together. This way, you’ll have a chance to work out the kinks before you sit down for the real deal.

4. Realize there’s a reason you landed that interview in the first place

The last thing any hiring manager wants to do is waste his time. So if you’ve been invited to interview at a company, take comfort in the fact that it means you’re reasonably qualified for the role in question, and use that to eke out some much-needed confidence. If you then make a point of highlighting the skills and experience you list on your resume, you’ll increase your chances of actually landing the job.

Though you can’t snap your fingers and make your interview jitters completely go away overnight, you can take steps to combat them by preparing for those sit-downs in advance. And remember, the more interviews you go on, the less daunting the process will be going forward, so if you don’t manage to kick those nerves right away, rest assured that you’ll likely grow more comfortable in time.