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5 Tips to Help You Overcome Your Interview Anxiety

Assurant Blog Employee Feature Headshot: Elisa MaginnisElisa Maginnis

Assurant Blog Header Image: How to Overcome Interview Anxiety

I’ve been in the recruiting field for five years, including three years working at Assurant. After completing thousands of interviews, I can say confidently that no one is immune to interview anxiety. It presents itself differently — some people get sweaty palms; others get stomach butterflies — but everyone is susceptible to it.

We’ve all been there. You’re excited for an interview — and then you start getting that uneasy, worried feeling. While I can’t offer a quick remedy for resolving all interview anxiety, here are the tips I’ve learned over the years that help interviews go well.

1. Set yourself up for success!

The more prepared you are, the better you’ll feel going into the interview. I recommend reviewing the job posting, writing down any questions, and researching the company ahead of time. A few excellent sources for learning about the company include their website, quarterly earnings reports, their corporate LinkedIn profile, and any public interviews given by the company’s senior leadership team.

Allow plenty of time to arrive to the interview. I’ve been in a situation where I’m driving to the interview, but I didn’t account for traffic. It’s not a good feeling. Even if you’re meeting via video interview, I suggest making sure you’re all set up 15 to 20 minutes before the interview. It can even be helpful to test out the equipment you have and make sure you’re going to be in a quiet area.

2. Run through some practice interview questions.

Working with a friend in role-playing an interview can be really helpful. You can’t predict each question that you’ll be asked in the actual interview, but working through responses can increase your confidence going in.

Here are a few of the questions and prompts you’ll likely be given during the interview and how to prepare for them:

  • Tell me about yourself. – Practice a one- to two-minute elevator pitch that highlights your career experience, including the companies you’ve worked for, how your responsibilities have grown over time, and what your major strengths are.
  • Why do you want to work at this company? – Use the company research you completed to be specific. Talk about how the company’s mission or a senior leader’s interview inspired you, or how you can contribute to a specific project.
  • Tell me about a challenge or conflict you faced, and how you handled it. – The best responses I’ve received to this question all have one thing in common: They focus on communication. Share a specific example of a challenge and what the hurdles were. Then walk the interviewer through the communication path you took to solve for it.
  • Do you have any questions for us? – Don’t waste this opportunity. This is your chance to ask about everything from the company’s five-year plan to major competitors and market threats. Interviewers love candidates who come prepared with thoughtful questions that indicate long-term interest in the company’s overall health.

3. Review your own resume.

This one may be silly but, when you’re nervous during an interview, it can be difficult to think about anything else. By refreshing your memory on your previous roles and responsibilities, you’ll be better able to recall instances to answer the interview questions. This goes back to the idea of an elevator pitch. Always have a quick elevator pitch that speaks to your overall career and two or three short career highlights. For example, have a short summary of a time you outperformed the goals of a specific project, a time you led a collaborative and successful team effort, and a time you successfully overcame a challenge.

4. Take a moment to catch your breath before — and during — the interview.

Breathing can get shallow when you’re feeling anxious. A few deep breaths can help no matter what part of the interview you’re in! I also suggest rolling your shoulders back when you exhale to release some of that built-up tension.

One mistake I’ve seen people make in interviews is talking too fast and running out of breath. Take pauses between sentences and remind yourself to breathe. If you need to buy yourself a little time, find an opportunity to ask the interviewer a question. He or she will be happy to respond and while they’re responding, you’ll get a chance to come up for air.

5. Keep in mind that every interview is a learning experience.

As I’ve said before, it´s normal to feel anxious — especially in your first interviews. But, from each of them, you´ll learn something new to apply in the next one — or maybe even the same interview. Oftentimes, I’ve seen candidates ask interviewers some version of, “Now that we’ve had this conversation, do you have any concerns about me moving forward in the interview process? Are there any red flags or unanswered questions?” Giving your interviewer a chance to respond as part of your conversation will most likely open the door for you to apply learnings in real-time.

After finishing an interview, review your actions and answers. What do you think you did well? What could you improve for the next time? By reflecting on it, you´re preventing yourself from making the same mistake again. Also, you´re gaining awareness of what you’re good at in order to show it off in the future.

Looking for more tips to help with your job search? Check out the blog for more tips and advice! 






Assurant Blog Employee Feature Headshot: Elisa Maginnis

Written by

Elisa Maginnis

Associate Talent Acquisition Recruiter

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