Reducing Interview Anxiety

Reducing Interview Anxiety 

Wednesday, October 24th - Deniz S. 

As a job candidate we may prepare for our job interviews in the best way, learn more about specific interview details, practice possible questions, and overall improve our test familiarity to improve our interview performance (Feiler, & Powell, 2016b). In the end there is a factor that we might not be able to improve with practice as much as our answers, and that can happen unexpectedly at any minute: interview anxiety. Having an unexpected moment of panic and anxiety might make us feel like we are really messing up the whole interview. That anxiety can simply be a misperception and exaggerated in most cases, but it certainly results in worse ratings of the interviewee if not controlled (Feiler, & Powell, 2016a; Feiler et al., 2016b). So, they require spontaneous interventions, but these interventions are not stressed enough in interview practice. In this week’s post we will be going over some spontaneous intervention strategies to control and mitigate interview anxiety, drawing on from both research and HR practice.

1- Focus Your Attention Externally:

            Redirect your attention from yourself. In moments of anxiety, our attention is misdirected from the interview tasks at hand as we tend to think more about ourselves. Remember this tip, and in such a situation consciously redirect your attention from yourself to the interviewers and the questions they are asking (Feiler et al., 2016b). Also, thinking about possible upcoming questions is a good way to redirect your attention, as well as improve interview performance!

2- Form a Positive Image of Yourself:

            In stressful situations we tend to allocate our cognitive resources to threat related stimuli, which in this case is our state of interview anxiety and worrisome thoughts that come along with it (Feiler et al., 2016b). In such cases, if the interviewees think of positive images of themselves, replacing negative thoughts with them, their self-reported anxiety reduces (Feiler et al., 2016). Hold a positive image of yourself in your mind, think of how you want to be seen by the interviewers and KNOW you are that person!

3- Take Your Time to Respond:

            Don’t forget that you can ask for some time to reflect or jot down some notes during an interview. When you feel you’re stuck at some point, clearly indicating that you want to take some time to organize your thoughts is better than giving an undesired answer or taking that time to say filler words such as “Umm…” to the impatient interviewers.

4- Always Practice for an Interview:

            Not surprisingly, one of the best ways to improve interview performance is to practice and study towards the upcoming interview! Yes, in moments of anxiety and stress certain interventions may be useful, but a proven way of improving overall performance is through studying for the interview (Feiler et al., 2016b). If you practice and feel more confident about yourself during an interview, this might even reduce the possibility of having interview anxiety in the first place. Don’t forget that you can come and get help from CECS Peer Helper team to prepare for your interviews, in the Experiential Learning Hub building right behind Rozanski Hall between 09:00am-04:00pm during weekdays!


Feiler, A.R., & Powell, D.M. (2016a). Behavioral expression of job interview anxiety. Journal of Business and Psychology, 31, 155-171. doi: 10.1007/s10869-015-9403-z

Feiler, A.R., & Powell, D.M. (2016b). The role of self-focused attention and negative self-thought in interview anxiety: A test of two interventions. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 24(2), 132-149.