Job interviews can cause unwanted stress, but are necessary for professionals to pursue their dream roles.
The following advice can make the process more manageable and even enjoyable.
Some candidates may find job interviews difficult due to a combination of excitement and nervousness which will often lead to undesirable interview stress. Unfortunately, they are unavoidable when pursuing that dream role, as most jobs, apprenticeships and internships will require an interview before you can proceed further.
There are a number of things to consider and be aware of before approaching your next interview, as preparation is the key to a positive experience.
Confidence plays a vital part in almost every thing we do, and can drastically affect situations based on the signals that are sent out. A lack of confidence can often appear as anxiety. While this is a perfectly normal thing to feel in high-pressure scenarios such as job interviews, it can hinder your chances of success.
A study from the University of Guelph in Canada studied the way anxious people are received in job interviews. The results show that signs of anxiety can prevent otherwise eligible candidates from being hired, as it affects their ability to convey a sense warmth and confidence.
The research suggests that people may need to make a concerted effort to manage anxious behaviour in order to ensure they are making a good impression in interviews.
“Overall, the results indicated that interviewees should focus less on their nervous tics and more on the broader impressions that they convey,” explained Amanda Feiler, a researcher on the study. “Anxious interviewees may want to focus on how assertive and interpersonally warm they appear to interviewers.”
How to exude confidence
The Society for Personality and Social Psychology discovered that it is possible for individuals to instil confidence within themselves through self-affirmation. This study was not just limited to job interviews, with the researchers’ advice valuable in any high-pressure situation.
“You should reflect on things that you know are good about yourself,” says Lead Researcher Sonia Kang. “Anyone has the potential to do really well. It’s how you respond under pressure that makes a key difference.”
The study advises compiling a list of positive aspects about yourself or the situation when facing moments of difficulty. They believe this can help candidates to focus on the task at hand, rather than dwelling on the negatives.
“Anytime you have low expectations for your performance, you tend to sink down and meet those low expectations,” said Ms Kang. “Self-affirmation is a way to neutralise that threat.”