7 ways to overcome your fear of face-to-face interviews

If your job search is going well, in most cases you will be called in for a face-to-face interview to further check your suitability for a role.

Experts are now saying that “culture fit” along with the necessary skills and experience for the job, are amongst the most important factors that affect a candidate’s success in a job role. Without a good fit, the candidate and the employer are unlikely to match well and have good, long term results together.

However, it’s not uncommon for people to feel anxiety and stress when it comes to face-to-face interviews. After all, something quite important is on the line and many people have natural fears around making a good first impression or meeting someone new.

Putting your “best face forward” is more than possible with a bit of preparation and a few handy tips. Here are 7 ways you can overcome your fear of face-to-face interviews.

Interview Tip #1: Find out the names of the interviewers

According to the experts, you should always find out the name of each interviewer. A good way to do this might be to have a look at the company’s website for names and even photos of each person. This can be a great way to feel more relaxed and like you already have the upper hand.

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Interview Tip #2: Prepare and research ahead of time

Make sure you take time to do lots of research on the job role and the company, that way you will feel more relaxed and be more prepared for any unexpected questions that come your way. Don’t just rely on a Google search, check annual reports, your library or LinkedIn for clues.

Interview Tip #3: Act confident with positive thoughts

Jobs expert and Norfolk State University professor of Sociology Katherine Eion says, “As you enter, think of someone you admire, and consider their qualities,” explaining that this can put a positive spin on the outcome of the interview. “Recall how this person comports themselves, how they walk, talk, and greet others.”

Interview Tip #4: Don’t seem too needy

Although it may feel contrary to your natural feelings, it’s important not to seem desperate for a job, although eagerness and enthusiasm are a must. “Think about it like a first date,” urges expert Pamela Skillings, co-founder of Big Interview. “You want to impress and show off your best qualities.”

Interview Tip #5: Expect stress, it’s part of the process

Michael Petras is an executive recruiter and career adviser who is the author of books on interview wisdom for job seekers at all levels. He points out that “interview questions are cleverly worded to invoke a response that will give employers a glimpse of how you might react under certain circumstances.”

Interview Tip #6: Be nice to yourself

Make sure you show up in tip-top condition, so don’t overuse caffeine, have a good night’s sleep and wear something that makes you feel smart and confident. Once the interview is complete, treat yourself to a small reward, such as a walk in the park, new book or music track.

Interview Tip #7: Remember to breathe

“Breathe in through your nose and count to seven,” advises Mike from Assessment Centre HQ. “Breathe out through your mouth and count to 11…after a minute or two you will feel better as CO2 and oxygen levels become balanced again inside your body.”

A final note on face-to-face interviews

“Beating interview stress is not about being perfect or about being fear-free,” says the Careers Services centre of Salisbury University. “It’s about adjusting and managing your anxiety and using it to fuel your performances.”

Look at the big picture, they advise. “There’s no hostile audience there and no consequences if you ‘mess up’.” Give yourself the best chance of success by preparing fully and give yourself a break – no matter the ultimate outcome.

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