How to handle job-interview stress

Bob Weinstein,
Tags: talent management

Good or bad economies, interview stress is a given in the job-hunting process. Job candidates experience stress prior to the interview and during the interview. During both occasions, the stress can be equally intense, according to Ken Siegel, a management consultant in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Sharon Keys Seal, president of executive coaching company, Coaching Concepts Inc., in Baltimore.

Don’t be passive and hope the interview will run smoothly. “That’s unrealistic thinking,” says Siegel. “The worst thing you can do is make assumptions about outcomes. Expect some stress, minimal at best, and find ways to deal with it.”

Siegel and Seals list suggestions for managing stress. First, some before-interview stress reduction strategies from Siegel.

Seals’ before-interview tips:

During the interview, Siegel suggests:

Seals’ tips for controlling stress during the interview are:

Positive first impressions score points
It’s been said before, but Seals stresses the importance of making a strong first impression. A poor first impression can ruin your chances of being considered. Even though it’s an irrational response, the interviewer is not likely to change his opinion.

“The interview begins the moment you arrive,” Seals says. “Everyone you meet, from the receptionist to the hiring manager, will form an impression of you.” To make sure the impression is positive, remember that your words and mannerism  affects the image your project.

Finally, don’t walk into an interview thinking your career hinges upon the outcome. “No matter how tough the job market, you must constantly remind yourself that there are many other jobs in the wings,” adds Seals. “It helps reduce stress so you can turn in a great performance if you are turned down.”