7 Ways to Reduce Job Interview Stress

Simple things you can do to make the process easier.

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Andrew G. Rosen
You’re not alone--most people find job interviews stressful. With only one crack at making a good impression to escape your current job, increase your pay, and expand business connections, who can blame you. Aside from quitting your job and giving an anxiety-provoking public presentation, few things in the workplace induce more fear than an interview. Thankfully there are several simple things you can do to reduce job interview stress.

1. Sleep well--two nights before. Many people toss and turn the night before a job interview. Since most have no problem running on fumes for a day, aim to sleep well for two nights leading up to your interview. Accomplish this by exercising vigorously and tiring your body.

[See 21 Secrets to Getting the Job Offer Now.]

2. Get there early--but not too early. Rushing, getting lost, and the fear oft being late all provoke anxiety. Print out directions to the interview location the night before (get an alternative route as well) and plan to arrive 30 minutes early. But do not enter the building until 10 minutes before the scheduled interview. The anticipation of waiting can be brutal. Have a mini-plan to kill some time before the interview--walk around the block and do some deep breathing. One of the worst things you can do is get to an interview too early and be stuck waiting in the reception area for an extended period of time.

3. Eat light, yet be nourished. A little starch keeps your sugar level in check and your stomach from growling. A good standby is half of a protein bar and water. It’s not exciting, but it helps keep hunger in check. You never know how long an interview will last, so always have a bite to eat before heading in.

[See How to Ace the Dreaded Phone Interview.]

4. Schedule interviews in the morning. Get stressful things out of the way early. That leaves less time for negative thinking. This tip also holds true for dentist and doctor appointments.

5. Be (over)prepared. Know what interview questions you will be asked and be prepared to state your salary requirements. Hold mock interviews with friends and family. Research the company using a service like Glassdoor.com and get to know your interviewer using every social media resource you can find.

[See Bossophobia: How to Overcome Fear of Your Boss.]

6. Take the day off. With an average of 13 vacation days a year and only a handful of sick days, today's workers are reluctant to let go of any paid time off. But worrying about traveling to two offices, changing your outfit, and lying all create stress. Treat yourself to the full day off and use the remaining time to send a thank you letter or look for other job opportunities.

7. Ask when a decision will be made. A frequent source of stress is interviewing for a job and never hearing back. Do your best to gather as much information as possible and ask when a decision will be made. It’s a fair question, so don’t be bashful. Remaining relaxed during a job interview will give you the confidence to sell yourself properly and earn a job offer.

Andrew G. Rosen is the founder and editor of Jobacle.com, a career advice blog. He is also the author of How to Quit Your Job.