Congratulations! You scored a job interview for your dream remote position! Now, the nerves set in. Everyone will experience a few jitters, and some, especially those who struggle with anxiety, may suffer a lot. Read on to find the best tools for overcoming job interview anxiety ahead of a remote job interview.
Overcoming Job Interview Anxiety: 17 Tips for Remote Workers
Most of your efforts during the remote job search process focus on earning an interview. Depending on the size of the company, getting an interview could mean that your resumé has successfully made it past ATS software, junior hiring managers, senior hiring managers, and departmental management, among others. So, start by patting yourself on the back!
Now, it is up to you to secure the job. Interviewing for a position can be a daunting process, even for the most confident among us. If you are one of the almost 20% of adult Americans who suffer from an anxiety disorder, the discomfort of a job interview can be intense. Nonetheless, overcoming job interview anxiety is critical to giving your future employer an accurate picture of your potential.
Why Do We Get So Anxious?
The reasons we become anxious vary widely. Triggers can be minor such as rush hour traffic or speaking in public, or they can be major life events such as getting married, the death of a relative, or changing jobs. In addition, genetics and environmental factors such as trauma can contribute to the amplification of our reactions in stressful situations.
Physiologically, anxiety manifests as part of our brain’s ancient method of analyzing and responding to danger. Essentially, your body is reacting to a trigger that makes it believe you are experiencing an event similar to being chased by lions across the African savanna. Whether anxiety is caused by not knowing whether a bear is in a nearby cave or if an interviewer will like you, it makes no difference to our brain.
Symptoms of anxiety can include sweating and fidgeting with your hands, hair, or clothing. Additionally, your voice may become a whisper or get too loud; you may talk too fast or ramble on when answering questions. Your short-term memory may also be affected. All of these symptoms can present a problem when attempting to appear calm and confident.
Techniques for Overcoming Job Interview Anxiety
Generally speaking, the best way to overcome job interview anxiety is to reduce your level of uncertainty.
Anxiety arises when we are unsure of what’s going to happen. This uncertainty causes your brain to believe your distress might be serious (i.e. life-threatening). If you know what will happen or at least have a good idea, then remind yourself of this. This will help keep you calm.
Before the Interview: Be Prepared
The time between receiving an interview request and taking part in the interview can be very stressful. Anxiety may creep in as you think about what may happen, wonder how you will perform, and develop questions about the job, interviewer, and company. The easiest way to start overcoming job interview anxiety is to prepare before the interview.
Tip 1: Research the company and industry.
Get as in-depth as you can. Explore the obvious, such as what are the company’s products and services? But also, learn the company’s history, mission, strategic plan, and current market position. Apply this to industry research as well. What challenges is the industry facing?
As you undertake your research, take time to identify what about the company and industry interests and inspires you. What do you admire? Also, identify questions that arise.
Tip 2: Research the position you applied for.
Start with the job advertisement. What duties and responsibilities are you most skilled at? Where can you make an immediate impact? Think of specific examples in your history that support your responses. Also, go a little further and try to explore how your position fits within the organization. How does it compare with similar positions at different companies?
Tip 3: Become familiar with the technology.
The interview process for remote job seekers generally consists of a combination of telephone and video interviews, as opposed to in-person interviews. In addition, remote workers will be expected to be proficient in using a wide variety of collaboration and productivity applications. In order to maintain low anxiety levels, it is important you understand and are proficient with the equipment and software applications you will need to use.
Tip 4: Prepare yourself physically.
It should go without saying, but anxiety is more easily triggered if you are not feeling your best. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and partaking in regular exercise. Preparing yourself physically also includes finding an appropriate outfit that fits and is comfortable.
Tip 5: Prepare yourself mentally.
Do your best during this time to maintain a positive and realistic mindset. It can be easy to start thinking negative thoughts that can erode self-confidence and lead to anxiety. If you cannot stop them, try writing them down and examining their validity. Are you really the world’s worst interviewee? Many of our negative thoughts are irrational and can be easily dismissed when we examine them.
If you find yourself feeling stressed out or anxious, try implementing a simple meditation routine, mindfulness practice, or breathing exercise to help restore your peace of mind. Not only can these techniques help prior to an interview, they can also help you relax during an interview.
Tip 6: Prepare your space.
Remote interviews will require you to provide the interview space. In all instances, you will need a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. You may need to outfit the space with any required equipment of software. If you are participating in a video interview, make sure to carefully plan your backdrop. It should be fairly neutral so as not to detract from your image. However, you can consider a strategically placed award certificate or use flattering colors. Also, make sure to find a seat that is comfortable and at the right height for the camera.
Tip 7: Practice, practice, practice.
Using all of the resources you secured by undertaking the preparations above, practice your interview skills. This will help you overcome job interview anxiety by demonstrating possible scenarios and allowing you to learn how to respond appropriately, thus reducing your uncertainty. Develop a list of questions and answers that you think your interviewer(s) might ask you. Recruit friends to help or practice on your own using the applications you will be using during the actual interview. Consider improving your familiarity with the experience by recording responses to your mock interview questions and playing them back to yourself.
Tip 8: Be ready early, and allow more than enough time.
Nothing contributes to rising anxiety more than feeling rushed for time. Allow plenty of time to get set up and comfortable. Do a check of the equipment and make sure everything is working properly. Also, allow a few minutes to relax and do a few breathing exercises so you can feel calm and centered when you begin. Purge any negative thoughts, and focus on being upbeat and positive.
During the Interview: Stay in the Moment
Overcoming job interview anxiety during the interview involves trusting yourself and staying in the moment. If you have done your preparation, then you are as ready as you’ll ever be. You need to believe in your abilities and trust you will respond appropriately during the interview. There is no point in doubting yourself now.
Tip 9: Take your focus off you.
Take a few moments to remind yourself that your interviewers are people, too. They have families and friends, blessings and problems—just like you. Thinking about others empathetically enables us to feel compassion for others. This is a great attitude to have during an interview. It’s not all about you. It’s about how you can help the interviewer’s organization.
Tip 10: Avoid memorized responses.
Trying to give memorized speeches exactly as you did in practice is unwise. Doing so will take you out of the moment, and you will likely come off as robotic. It’s best to speak off-the-cuff, trusting that the knowledge and understanding you gained during your preparations will allow you to formulate the perfect answer.
Tip 11: Do not tell them you’re nervous.
Nervousness is to be expected, but there is no need to draw attention to it.
Tip 12: Self-check periodically.
You might slip after a question or two and start clicking your pen, lowering your eyes, or slouching in your chair. Remind yourself to check your posture and control any movements you are doing with your head, hands, and legs. Also, check your voice. Are you talking too fast? Too soft? Too loud?
Tip 13: Interview the Interviewer.
A great confidence booster is asking questions. Don’t forget that you are trying to find out if you even want this job. Ask the questions that arose during your research. Ask other questions that come to you during the interview. If you don’t ask questions, you may appear uninterested in the position/company or disengaged from the interview. This is an opportunity for you to shine—demonstrating your knowledge and expertise via the questions you ask.
Tip 14. Be clear on the next steps.
Make sure to ask your interviewer what the next steps are now that your interview is complete. Will there be subsequent interviews? When do they think they will make a decision? When can you check back with them? The answers to these questions will reduce your anxiety following the interview.
Post Interview: Let it go
Anxiety does not end with the interview. Many people experience post-interview anxiety. Post-interview anxiety is usually caused by reviewing your performance and finding it lacking in some way. Overcoming job interview anxiety after the interview primarily requires letting it go.
Tip 15. Follow-up as instructed.
Be sure to send a thank-you note after the interview. After that, follow the instructions provided by the interviewer regarding follow-up.
Tip 16. Debrief.
Spend some time reviewing your interview. You may benefit from writing down a summary and briefly noting what you thought went well and areas you may want to improve on for any future interviews.
Tip 17. Move on.
Now stop thinking about it. The cards have been drawn, and there’s no changing them. Going over every nuance of the interview and assigning meaning to every response is a waste of time and energy. Learn from the experience, and move on. As the late, great, Doris Day said, “Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be.” Let go of the past, learn from it, and look forward to your next great adventure.
For additional support in preparing for your interview, Virtual Vocations offers interview skills coaching with our certified career coaches. Read more here and schedule your session today!
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