Interview Stress Is Evil, But You Can Overcome It

Interviewing can be wonderful experience or it can be filled with anxiety. For most of us it is a stressful and necessary part of the job selection process.

Image credit: HexJam

We all know it is possible to receive an offer after the very first interview. It is more likely you might get passed over for jobs several times before you land something meaningful.

The ups and downs, hits and misses can stress out even the most grounded person.

A friend of mine named Mike was looking for a new job after being passed over for a promotion. He had worked for many years at a major clothing retailer in Lagos.

Following a string of unsuccessful interviews for positions he felt extremely well qualified for, he began to question whether the job search was even worth it.

Related: Job Search: You’re Not Getting The Job – 25 Reasons Why


After awhile the stress of interviewing had Mike feeling overwhelmed and under appreciated. He to begin smoking again, a habit he had quit some years earlier.

Stress can manifest itself in many forms, with Mike it was smoking.

Through a series of before and after interview recommendations and exercises, I was able to help Mike overcome much of his interview anxiety.

He eventually found a job he loved, but it took him awhile to quit smoking again.

There are many more people out there like Mike who are silently stressing out because of a situation mostly beyond their control.

And in job hunting situations many things are beyond our personal control.

You can have great work experience, an impressive resume and interview very well but still not get a job. Sometimes you may begin to feel it all your fault.

This feeling can lead to unrealistic expectations for yourself followed by real anxiety.

Try not to blame yourself too much.

While most of us can find ways to improve our performance in interviews, the real reason many job offers do not happen for you simply may come down to numbers.

Recently, I heard a manufacturing company recruiting. They posted a new opening and quickly received over 250 resumes in response. After interviewing 10 candidates who appeared the most qualified, they hired one really lucky person. Nine very qualified people were not so lucky.

Candidates submitting resumes into this process had at best only a 1 in 250 chance of being hired. There was only a 1 in 25 chance of even getting an interview.

Looking at the people who did interview, each only had a 1 in 10 chance of getting the job.

Most times you get passed over it is not your fault.

Before you begin interviewing accept that the numbers are one of many things you can not control. Two key things you can control are your own mental outlook and how you present your value to interested companies.

How To Handle The Interview Stress

  • Going into the interview be positive and try to relax.
  • Accept in the beginning that if a decision is made to offer the job to someone else, it is not necessarily a negative reflection on you alone. Keep the entire process in perspective.

In addition I also recommend that you treat yourself to some stress relief after interviewing.

It is fine to review the interview in your mind, but it is a waste of your precious mental energy trying to second guess the whole process.

It is much healthier to find an immediate stress-free outlet. It is also reaffirming to reward yourself for having taken the chance to interview.

No matter the outcome, you learned about a new company and probably met some new people.

  • Following an interview consider going to a movie or enjoying a long walk.
  • You could also consider attending an exercise class or perhaps dining at your favorite restaurant.
  • Whatever is a healthy stress reliever for you, will help take your mind off the interview experience.
  • The next morning, send the company you interviewed with a brief message thanking them for their time and interest in you as a candidate.
  • Remember to express to them your interest in the job. Then let it go mentally and continue your job search.

Whether you hear back from that company or not, your improved mental state will help you generate better results later on and keep that stress.


Any interview stress tips to add to this post? Please share with our readers in the comment.





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