Happy Mental Health Monday, friends! Today we have a guest post from the owner of Midnight Tea, who is here to talk about social anxiety. More specifically, we’ll be talking about how social anxiety can affect not only the social relationships in your life, but other aspects too, like your job. How do you get through interviews when you’d prefer to gauge your own eyes out rather than try to prove your worth to a perfect stranger? That i what Nour is here to conquer with you today. So sit back, relax, and get some actionable advice on how to NOT let your social anxiety get the better of you.
How To Overcome Social Anxiety for a Job Interview
“Job interviews make everyone nervous. But when you’re bad at talking to people, and really bad at talking about yourself, having other people judge your competence based on those two things can be downright terrifying. Despite your qualifications, your social anxiety may get in the way of your interview. I know it’s gotten in the way of mine. I have found too many way to ruin my chances of getting a job. For example, I have:
- Turned bright red and peppered my responses with “likes” and “umms”
- Given cold, clammy handshakes
- Completely blanked and repeated the same answer for each question
- Gotten too worked up to hear the question, and asked the interviewer to repeat it multiple times
- Tripped/dropped things.
My first interview ever I got so nervous. As I was walking out, I felt nauseous and lightheaded, and I fainted in front of the whole office! It was embarrassing and I (obviously) didn’t get the job.
After many of these incidences, I knew I needed to make a change if I ever wanted to be hired. I’ve compiled a list of things I did to help me become calmer and more prepared for job interviews, despite my social anxiety. I hope they help you as well!
Take the time to write down all your accomplishments, professional and otherwise. This will not only boost your self-confidence, it will also provide you with a list of answers to many tricky interview questions.
The more you practice, the less intimidating it becomes. I have a constant fear of embarrassing myself, to the point where I end up sabotaging myself. Any mistake I make, I magnify to the point where it’s the only thing I think about for days. I hate feeling unprepared for an interview. Practicing at home helped me improve my skills in a safe environment.
Start of practicing alone. You will become familiar with common interview questions and how to answer them. There are many resources available:
- The PM Interview is an awesome website that I first used to help me practice. It simulates a real interview and even sets a timer so you know how much time you’re spending answering each question.
- This is a video simulation. It feels more realistic because there’s an actual person talking to you through the screen.
Once you’ve become more comfortable answering interview questions, try practicing with another person. Start off with someone you trust, like a parent or friend. If you’re a college student, check with the career center to see if they offer mock interviews. While practicing didn’t necessarily ease my anxiety on the day of the interview, it did make the interview itself go more smoothly. I had run through so many questions, I knew exactly how to respond.
The night before:
- Print your resume
- Set out your outfit
- Set your alarm clock
- Go to bed early! If you have insomnia, there are things you can do to relax.
The morning of the interview, wake up early so you have as much time as you need to get ready. Arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time to catch your breath and get yourself together. I have made the horrible mistake of oversleeping the day of my interview. I showed up flustered, messy, and unprepared. So, giving yourself enough time is extremely important!
Another reason to show up early is to have a few minutes to practice acting more confident. Acting confident will translate to being more confident. The trick I like to use is called power posing. I learned it from a TED Talk by Dr. Amy Cuddy (below). This was an amazing, eye-opening video. If you have time, definitely watch the whole thing. If you don’t, you can skip to 8:05, where she begins talking about power poses.
You finished the interview, you survived! You deserve a reward. Relax, watch your favorite movie, or do something else you enjoy. Even if the interview didn’t go well, try not to focus on the little mistakes you made. This is a learning experience, and you’ll do better next time.
I hope these tips help! Using the above steps has helped me improve my communication skills and finally landed me a job. Once I started working, I was interacting with people daily. Over time, it became less scary! I still experience social phobia before presentations and in large crowds, but I was largely able to overcome one of my most debilitating fears. I think you can, too.
*Note: I am not a professional. My advice is from personal experience, and will not replace the expert opinions of a licensed health professional.”