Interview Anxiety. Know the Truth and “RIPP” It Out of Your Next Interview!

Business people at job interview
Panel interviews can cause interview anxiety. No matter who’s asking the questions, be ready to give an answer!

Interview anxiety is tough! We’ve checked out a lot of tips online that claim to help with interview anxiety. Some of them are really good, while some of them only appear to provide a solution. We recently read a post that said interview pressure is intentional from some employers. Nevertheless, you should know the truth about interview anxiety. Before your interview, “RIPP” it out! This post will show you how to Research, Improve, show Passion, and stay Positive.

Below, we have provided some true statements and tips that have proven to help job seekers with interview anxiety. But first, here are a few errors we found in other interviewing tips that were a bit incomplete.

Interview Tip Error 1: Conduct company research. 

Truth: Know what to RESEARCH! Don’t mention company downfalls like lay-offs, loss of profit and turnovers! To know if you are a good fit for the company, and the company is a good fit for you, research things like: company culture, training practices, vision, mission and goals, company growth, organizational charts, social media presence, etc.

Interview Tip Error 2: Show forth a strong appearance. Give firm handshakes!

Truth: You cannot change who you are in a couple of weeks. If you don’t like shaking hands now, you won’t at the interview. Likewise, handshakes that are too firm could also be a turnoff. Embrace who you are while taking steps to IMPROVE. If you don’t like shaking hands, start practicing now! You won’t be the best hand shaker, but at least you won’t cringe or give that fish handshake! Take steps to improve on other employer pet peeves that could cost you the position, like: Showing up late, being too aggressive, staring, talking too much, and not being prepared for the interview, etc.

Interview Tip Error 3: Think positively. Believe in yourself!

Truth: You can definitely shake a surge of anxiety with positive thinking. Thinking positively has always had positive results and can increase your chance of being hired! However, even if you are positive, you can’t shake not being passionate about the position for which you are applying. You may believe that you can do something, but do you have the PASSION to do it? If not, it shows! Here is a true story:

Three candidates were being considered for the same position. Each met educational requirements and experience. However, when trying to find out how creative the applicant was, only one of them was left standing! The other two candidates appeared uncomfortable. While they had the experience, they did not do a good job showing forth their passion for creativity, which was a huge part of the position.

Passion is what employers are looking for in candidates. An employer doesn’t want to hire someone who comes to work just to get a pay check! If this is your motive, it will soon show up. Applicants that appear too needy have trouble showing how they will solve problems for the company.

Career passion will rise above interview anxiety. No matter how nervous you are, you’ll shake it as soon you start talking about how you can solve the company’s problems. Your passion for solving problems in a specific way will show! The anxiety that may have appeared in the beginning of the interview will disappear; what will remain is a presentation of passion for the type of work you do.

Interview Tip Error 4: Boast about your leadership skills or other accomplishments

Truth: If in the last job you worked you were not challenged, you may not have developed any leadership skills. You may feel like you have nothing to boast about. You may have had to take the job you really didn’t want in order to make ends meet. It happens, but you still must stay POSITIVE.

Next, you will find two attributes from low-skilled positions that stand out just as much as in high-skilled positions: Personality and honesty.   Below are interview answers to questions from a typical low-skilled position that shows personality and honesty.

“Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with another employee.”

I worked with several employees who were not happy to be there, which became a conflict daily. I kept a positive attitude, realizing that although this was a low-skilled, low-paying position, I could be unemployed. I helped others whenever I could, and tried my best to encourage others whenever they were feeling down.

“Have you ever dealt with an irate customer? If so, what happened?”

I had a customer to yell at me because of defective merchandise. After putting myself in her shoes, I realized that I would be pretty upset too. I don’t live close by, and no store is going to reimburse for travel expenses. I told her that I would be pretty upset if this happened to me. By doing this, I was able to pause, and ignore that fact that she yelled at me. I kept my composure and proceeded to assist her. This took the spotlight off of me. I had to keep in mind that I did not make the merchandise, so I wasn’t offended that it was defective.

“Tell me about a time when you had to work on a team. What was your role?”

Teamwork can be really fun! Once my employer had everyone break into teams for team-building exercises. In one of them, the team I was on had to stand on a board and balance it. I didn’t think that we could do it in under 2 minutes, others did. My role was to provide my strategy for getting it done, listen to the other strategies, and follow instructions for the one that sounded the most strategic. We not only completed the task in under 2 minutes, we broke a record for completing the task the quickest! I don’t like leading a team as much as I like helping the team succeed. I’m really good at following.

The answers to the questions above were positive, not deep, and didn’t sound like cliche’s. They were honest answers that revealed the candidate’s personality.

Here are some tips that will also help you annihilate interview anxiety: (1) Know typical interview questions and come prepared to answer them. (2) Bring a portfolio or binder with examples of your work and accomplishments. (3) When you showcase your skills, include your knowledge of the latest technology. (4) Fear zaps your confidence. Remember to improve upon any skills you may lack. Seek a career counselor to get additional help.

In summary, in order to take the anxiety out of your next interview, RIPP it out! You must Research, Improve, show Passion, and stay Positive!

-Joan Tucker, CDWP

For more on interviewing skills, attend our free Pathways to Employment Workshop, provided by the NCWorks Career Centers in Guilford County. See our “About” Page for location information. Or, Greensboro, NC residents call: 336-297-9444; High Point residents, call: 336-882-4141.

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