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How to Handle Stress During a Job Interview

How to Handle Stress During a Job Interview

Think of Sarah, a talented and ambitious young professional and one of the many job seekers out there who has been searching for her dream job for months.

She finally lands an interview for her ideal position at a top company in her field. Excited but also nervous, she spends days preparing and researching so she can answer all of the tough questions flawlessly, but as the big day arrives, Sarah’s stress levels skyrocket.

So, she wakes up with a racing heart, her hands are shaking, and her mind is foggy.

She feels completely overwhelmed and doesn’t think she will be able to make a good impression. Then she goes online and finds the perfect article that will give her tips on how to reduce her stress levels!

Sarah is able to find the perfect, thorough article that helped calm her down and as a result she aced her interview and got the job! So clearly, the interview process was not as big of an issue as it seemed! 

Lucky for you too, you are now reading an article with the same purpose! If you are worried about all the stress a job interview brings then fear not, I got you! 

This article will provide you with great tips on how to handle stress during a job interview so grab your note book and get reading! 

 Why Do We Get Stressed During Interviews

Before I talk about what you can do when you’re stressed, it helps to know why stress occurs in the first place. Is it the tight deadlines? or is it the eye contact with your hiring manager? perhaps it is the general job interview stress even. Let’s see! 

To be very honest, we all get stressed and nervous during job interviews. Why? because acing a job interview is a big deal – so it’s perfectly normal to feel this way!

Well, to put it simply, you might come to terms with job interview stress because the interview process involves us putting ourselves on the line and opening up about our experiences, strengths, and weaknesses. 

A job interview is truly the ultimate test to your stress management skills! 

It can also be intimidating being in an unfamiliar environment and talking to a stranger who is assessing your capability for the job! At times like these, we need to remember to stay calm and confident despite any nerves or pressure we may feel.

Our internal dialogue can play a big role in increasing or decreasing our stress levels. Thinking positively and reminding ourselves of why we are best suited for the job are great ways to combat anxiety before an interview.

Which is why interview preparation is crucial. It allows you to contain all that nervous energy and gives you plenty of time to conduct your practice interview. During that you can get into the nitty-gritty of that process such as behavioral interview questions, and your relevant skills!

At the same time, preparing thoroughly and doing practice runs with friends or family can help boost our self-confidence and equip us mentally for all types of interview questions that may come our way!

This preparation to put your stress management skills to practice does not require you to have any planned out sample answers because this article will provide you with tips that are sufficient enough to guarantee you a successful interview! 

Also Read; 15 Tips For Motivation Before an Interview

How to Tell if You Have Signs of Interview Stress

If you feel manageable stress levels then that is alright, but if it overwhelms you and your functionality completely then there is a problem.

Knowing how to recognize signs of interview stress, or when the level of stress starts can help. Which is why this next sections will tell you exactly what you need to watch out for. 

Physical Symptoms

Upset Stomach:

If you’re feeling nauseous or have a queasy stomach, it could be a sign of a high level of stress. 

This can be caused by the adrenaline rush that comes with being in a high-pressure situation.

Rapid Breathing: 

If your breathing is faster than usual, it’s likely that you are feeling anxious.

So, take a few deep breaths and focus on slowing down your breathing.


Excessive sweating can be an indication of stress and anxiety.

Mental Symptoms

Inability to Concentrate: 

Inability to concentrate is a common symptom of stress during a job interview. You may find yourself struggling to focus on the questions being asked or your answers, or you may feel like your mind is racing and unable to stay focused.

This can be caused by the adrenaline rush that comes with being in a high-pressure situation. To combat this, take a few deep breaths and focus on slowing down your breathing.

Negative Thoughts: 

Negative thoughts can be a sign of stress and anxiety during an interview. These thoughts may include worrying about not being good enough, or feeling like you won’t get the job.

To help with this, try to focus on positive affirmations and remind yourself why you are the best candidate for the job.

Trouble Remembering:

Trouble remembering can be a sign of stress during a job interview. You may find yourself struggling to recall information or details that you know, or feeling like your mind is blank and unable to remember anything.

You will feel an adrenaline rush that comes with being in a high-pressure situation.

To improve this, you should take a few deep breaths and focus on calming your nerves.

Additionally, you can also try to practice your answers to common interview questions before the interview so that you can recall them more easily.

Emotional Symptoms

Negative Feelings: 

Negative feelings such as fear, anxiety, and doubt can be a sign of stress during a job interview. You may feel overwhelmed by the situation or worry that you won’t get the job.

If you don’t try to contain these thoughts and feelings they could truly affect how your job interview goes. 

To help with this, try to focus on positive affirmations and remind yourself why you are the best candidate for the job. This can be a good relaxation technique for you! 

Lack of Confidence:

Lack of confidence is another common symptom of stress during a job interview. You may feel like you don’t have the skills or experience necessary to do well in the interview, or that you won’t be able to answer the questions correctly.

Don’t worry though, you just need to remember that you were chosen for an interview because the employer believes you are qualified for that position! 

Now that we covered both why stress happens and how it manifests, we can now move on to the tips you can do to combat it with ease! 

Strategies for Coping With Stress During a Job Interview

Practice mindfulness and deep breathing to calm your nerves

Mindfulness and deep breathing are both effective ways to calm the nerves during a job interview. The reason is because both of these practices work to focus your attention on being present in the moment without overthinking or worrying about everything that could go wrong.

Some might even suggest you some yoga prior to going to the interview! 

Practicing mindfulness helps you to detach from stressful thoughts and emotions so you can remain focused on the job interview at hand. Deep breathing also works to relax your body by providing it with more oxygen, which heightens awareness and reduces tension.

Learning how to manage stress during a job interview will help you remain composed and confident in any high-pressure interview situation. Taking even five minutes before an interview to practice focusing on your breath will put you in better control of your physical state and mental energy during an important conversation.

So, remember to always ground yourself in stressful situations! 

Research the company and the position thoroughly ahead of time

Researching the company and position thoroughly ahead of time is absolutely essential to handling stress during a job interview. Knowing what the company does, their mission, and the goals of the position will really benefit you.

Preparing for your job interview in this way will help reduce stress because questions won’t catch you off-guard! You’ll know exactly how to respond when asked about prior experiences or why you’d be a perfect fit for the job.

Without researching ahead of time, you may be at a loss for words or spend too much time trying to think of an appropriate response. It pays off to take a few moments to review facts about the company and position before your meeting.

That way, when they ask ‘what makes you qualified?’, you can answer confidently without putting yourself in a stressful situation!

Prepare responses to common interview questions in advance

One of the best ways to handle stress during a job interview is to prepare your responses in advance. That way, you’ll feel confident knowing what you’re going say before walking into the room.

By anticipating the questions that will be asked and preparing answers ahead of time, you can help calm your nerves before the big day arrives.

The more time you put into researching and developing answers to common interview questions, the better prepared you’ll be to impress the interviewer with your knowledge and professionalism.

From researching industry-specific terms and topics to honing your communication skills, there’s much you can do in order to prepare yourself for that all-important job interview.

This way, you can guarantee yourself some sense of control and ownership in your interview which can reduce your stress levels or at least keep them in check! 

Get a good night’s sleep before the interview

Getting a good night’s sleep before an important job interview can make huge difference. Not only will it help you to stay sharp and think on your feet during the meeting, but it can also relieve some of that dreaded pre-interview jitters.

Having a good night’s sleep is not just about getting 6 – 8 hours of shuteye. It’s also important to practice good sleeping habits like turning off screens, having a warm relaxing bath or drinking calming teas in the hours before bedtime.

Sleeping well will help you to have still mind and wake up feeling refreshed! Sleeping well gives you an emotional and physical advantage during an interview because it helps reduce stress hormones in the body so that you’re more alert and energized during your interview.

Another bonus tip is to wake up early the day of your interview even if your interview is at a later hour.

This gives you plenty of travel time so you can show up on time, which is certainly a good impression to make! 

Not only that, but it also puts your time management skills to test and it can be something that motivates you! 

Final Thoughts 

Job interviews can be incredibly nerve-wracking right? We know that- but if you know how to handle stress in the right way, it can truly make all the difference.

Take some time before the interview to prepare, focus on your positive attributes and visualize success.

Most important of all, don’t forget to breathe and believe in yourself. Remember that if you stay calm, you’ll be able to showcase your true self and nail that job interview!

So, that’s it for today, we covered the topic of how to handle stress during a job interview and I hope you enjoyed reading it.

If you’re struggling with your next interview, I highly suggest you check out top-selling interview services. As you know InterviewJoy is providing you with the best interview guidance and support.

See you in the next article!


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