How To Be Cool Like Barack Obama In A Job Interview

Things To Know When Applying For Jobs In Canada

By Gerald Walsh ©

If you are like most people, you’ve experienced some level of interview anxiety. For some, it’s very noticeable like sweaty palms, a flushed face and a shaking voice. For others, it’s less noticeable – but still bothersome – like a feeling in the pit of your stomach, a dry mouth or a pounding heartbeat. 

Why does this happen?

The stakes can be high in an interview. Getting that job may mean you can pay your bills, complete a move to a new city (or country), or get out of a bad job situation. You may think that if you blow that interview, you will not get a second chance.

This anxiety can really sabotage your interview performance. If you aren’t careful, the interviewer will be so distracted by your nervous habits that they won’t even remember your strengths and qualifications. 

Here are seven tips that will help you cope with interview anxiety:

1. Be prepared 

Coming to the interview with your research complete and ready to explain how your skills and qualifications line up with the job you’re applying for will make you feel confident. You should also do some research on the people who are interviewing you. You will make a great impression on the interviewer if you can mention something about their background. 

2. Rehearse by conducting a mock interview

Ask a friend, family member, or mentor to play the role of the interviewer and pose questions to you. Critique your answers and ask your friend or family member to do the same. Like most things you want to improve, the more you practice your interviewing skills the better you become. Also consider videotaping your mock interview to really see your strengths and weaknesses. 

3. Know that you are a qualified candidate

Don’t forget that the hiring manager has read your cover letter and resume and has decided to meet you. Interviewers don’t waste time meeting people who are not qualified. Understanding that you are a candidate worth meeting will give you a boost of confidence going into an interview.  

4. Avoid last minute panic

Take care of everything the day before such as printing extra copies of your resume, figuring out your wardrobe and making sure that your clothes are clean and pressed. It’s also wise to map out your route so you know where you’re going and how long it will take you to get there.

5. Wear your favourite business clothes

Let’s face it, we all have clothes that makes us feel better and more confident. Whether it is the fit, the style, or a particular colour that makes us look better, select clothes that make you feel and look good, as well as professional. Remember, this is no time to find out that you’ve gained a few pounds and your favourite suit doesn’t fit properly anymore, or to experiment with a new look. 

6. Think of the interview as a two-way street

The interview is an opportunity to determine if the job is right for you. Is the salary in line with what you want? Will the work will be satisfying and challenging? Will you like the people? Knowing that you are deciding whether the job is right for you – while the employer is deciding whether you are right for them – is a great equalizer.

7. Practise relaxation techniques

There are many times when I want to make sure I am at the top of my game, like when I am making a presentation or meeting a new client. I want to be feeling and looking my best. For me that means going for a run or a workout that morning. I know that if I have exercised, my body and my mind will feel great. For you, it might be something else. Perhaps a brisk walk in a park, quiet time in private, or even meditation. Do whatever makes your mind and body feel great and I guarantee you will feel more relaxed in the interview.

Question: Think of past interviews when your level of anxiety caused you to under-perform. If you were doing those interviews over again, how could you have prepared differently?

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Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and writer. During a 25+ year career, he has interviewed more than 10,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @@Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn