Your upcoming interview for the new job could change your career. Maybe it offers more prestige and responsibility, a hot new title, and a cushy pay bump. But in the days leading up to this big moment, you come down with a serious case of jitters and self-doubt. What if something goes terribly wrong? There are so many things that could derail your future: subway delays, unexpected questions, sweaty pits or palms… the list goes on and on. So we’ve compiled some key tips from industry experts to help counteract your pre-interview stress and allow you to walk into that room feeling confident and poised.
One week prior:
Several days before your interview, proofread and print out multiple copies of your resumes, and plan what you will wear. Map out your route to the interview location; most maps estimate the travel time, but we strongly suggest adding a 30 minute buffer in case of traffic or other incidents
Do your research
A couple years ago, a colleague told the story of interviewing as an analyst job at one of the Big 4 banks; right before the interview seemed to over, the committee threw in 2 more “obvious” questions: “Who is the CEO? And do you know what the current stock price?” The candidate responded with a blank stare. She had no idea.
Such scenarios are completely preventable. Most companies have a Wikipedia or other webpage that lists all their basic information. Also consider reading at least 10 different news articles about the company, if available.
Second, most job coaches recommend that you read up on your interviewers themselves. Just as you would for a first online date, look at their social media. Read through the interviewers’ Linkedin profiles and bios on the company website. “By doing this, you have insight into how you might be able to connect with them, based on what you have in common,” says job coach Petkanics.
Take a few practice runs
Ask a friend to sit down with you at a quiet coffee shop, and provide them with a list of common interview questions. If you approach this exercise too casually, you won’t be as productive. So establish a time limit and run through the entire set of questions without pause. When you’re done, get feedback, and then go through the process again with 3 other friends. By the time you finish that fourth cup of coffee, you will feel extremely confident and ready to rock that interview.
Make time for mindfulness meditation
Researchers at Johns Hopkins show that meditation alleviates stress levels and anxiety. Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School , backed up this research noting, “Mindfulness meditation makes perfect sense for treating anxiety.”
Making time for some relaxation, deep breathing or other forms of meditation during that pre-interview week can help you keep stress levels in check. Don’t know where to start? There are some great apps out there – one popular one is Headspace. The app even gives users 10 free sessions for signing up.
The night before, or every night if you can:
Get a full night’s sleep
Volumes of research show links between sleep, stress, and cognitive function. You may have read that driving while suffering from sleep deprivation is worse than driving while intoxicated – a statement that is conclusively confirmed according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Authority (U.S. News & World Report). None of us would ever walk into an interview drunk, so make sure you get that much-needed sleep to be at the top of your game.
The morning of:
Wake up early and, as the Mayo Clinic puts it, “get moving!” Even a light, 30-minute workout will get those endorphins released, reduce tension, and lower your general anxiety. According Mayo Clinic researchers, “All these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and life.”
Eat a pre-game meal
Following that morning workout, eat a sensible breakfast before heading to your interview. The right foods can boost cognitive function, memory, and concentration – so make sure you capitalize on those benefits.
And with all these strategies under your belt: Go get it! Your dream job awaits!