Report shows that, about 40 million adults in the United States are victims of anxiety disorders.
And our reaction towards anxiety originates from our cave-dwelling days—reacting as though we’re being hunted by a predator. In the regard of job interview anxiety, the reaction originates from thinking your life quality is dependent on your performance. Says, Sherry Benton.
Sherry Benton is the founder/Chief Science Officer at TAO Connect—a digital platform designed with the intent to make behavioral health therapy more effective, accessible and of course affordable.
She went further to add: figure out if you really need to hype yourself up or calm down before any job interview. Take deep breaths during interviews—avoid the need to answer questions back-to-back.
And if you’re still feeling anxious after the interviews, you can try practicing some mind exercises like uttering mantras.
With the intent to change a job, comes a corresponding flow of anxiety because of the uncertainties of interviews. And as humans, we naturally hate living in uncertainty and so we always find ourselves struggling to leave the anxiety spectrum.
Anxiety can put us in a really bad spot and its ripple effect can pose a great risk to our mental and emotional balance. For that reason, we have to control it and we can’t do that without first, understanding what really causes it.
In this regard, we have to understand the symptoms of anxiety that reflects before, during and after the interview process. In such enlightenment, we can easily keep tabs on our dispositions.
The Cause Of Anxiety
In the face of danger, our brain is evolutionarily designed to follow the fight-or-flight reaction—a survival mechanism we inherited from our primitive ancestors. In most cases, our reaction tends to be: retreat to a point of safety; always taking the path of least resistance.
In today’s world however, such tendency has contributed more harm than good—it has forced us to retreat into a state of emotional and mental passivity; we don’t recognize the difference between opportunity and danger.
And at the face of the interview process, uncertainty steps in, creating a corresponding flow of anxiety and the amygdala, a part of the brain that processes emotions and memories responds by activating the fight-or-flight reaction. For that reason, you jump into conclusions without rational reasoning—telling yourself “I can’t do well in this interview”.
The main point is: interview anxiety originates from thinking that your life quality is dependent on your performance in an interview and the uncertainty that follows.
Dealing With Anxiety Before Interviews
You are likely to get anxious before the interview due to the fact that you don’t know what to expect as the outcome of the interview process. In such an anxious state, you are prone to endanger your interview.
On the flip side, don’t feel so unconcerned about the interview; you are likely to come across as disinterested and tired—a trait all interviewers despise.
That said, what you need is to build emotional and mental balance to ensure optimum effectiveness in the course of the interview process.
To achieve this, you have to analyze your thoughts before the interview, understand how exactly you are feeling and decide if you need to hype yourself up or calm yourself down.
If you’re feeling very anxious, you can easily calm yourself down by analyzing the situation, seeing it as it truly is—a job interview; not a do or die affair. Spotlight those nervous thoughts in your mind and try reversing them to positive thoughts. Such action will help put your mind and body at a balanced position.
Being fully prepared is another tool you can use to shake off anxiety before interviews. So, try researching the company profoundly, getting tons of information about them.
Try practicing the possible questions. This will help keep your brain fully acquainted with the interview process thus, reducing the risk of falling into the anxiety spectrum.
Dealing With Anxiety During Interviews
When you get anxious during the interview process, the possible symptoms you’ll notice includes: increase in heart rate, cold hands and sweaty palms.
In such an event, you can try reducing your heart rate by practicing some breathing exercises—breathing slowly, taking a deep breath. You can also try warming your hands by massaging it gently in a non-noticeable way.
Another way you can manage anxiety during job interview is by taking your time when responding to questions; avoid the need to answer questions immediately it is thrown to you. Observe the pause technique when answering questions and employ the need to always take a deep breath at calculated intervals. Making use of these skills will help keep anxiety at a distance.
And because the amygdala is also reactive to what you tell yourself, you can try exploiting that advantage by infusing positive thoughts in your mind, making yourself believe that you deserve to be there because you’re the perfect candidate for the role.
At that point where you can consciously alter the anxious thoughts in your mind, supplanting it with positive thoughts, you’ll achieve a high level of mental and emotional balance. And such balance will be reflected in your confidence and self-esteem, making you come off as the right fit for the job.
Dealing With Anxiety After Interviews
If you’ve ever attended a job interview, you’d understand that anxiety doesn’t just leave because the interview is over; it usually continues because you’re likely to overthink the interview.
A trusted means of getting past this tendency is by practicing some mindfulness—refers to the action of allowing the mind to stay in the present, sensitive to your feelings and thoughts, understanding your body sensations and being aware of environmental stimuli.
Designed to reduce the amount of ongoing thoughts in your brain and minimize the level of adrenaline and cortisol flowing through your vein, these activities will help to activate the body’s relaxation reaction.
You can also augment mindfulness with some cognitive behavioral strategies capable of modifying thinking patterns. Visualizing yourself as someone who is already hired is a good instance of such cognitive behavioral strategy, capable of keeping your mind above anxiety.
On a final note, anxiety to a mild extent can be beneficial to us. Anxiety stems from fear and fear is a feeling we develop to defend ourselves. It helps in our preservation as humans by improving our awareness.
Without anxiety or fear, we tend to feel so complacent about situations—accepting everyday as it comes without feeling the need to improve ourselves. Anxiety only becomes a problem when we let it get the best of us.
That said, you should understand that anxiety is not as bad as it seems. We just have to learn to control and channel it to the right direction where it can prove highly productive to us.