Overcoming Interview Anxiety

June 18th, 2019
By: Heather McMillen

The manpower shortage in physical therapy continues to be so acute that you can always find a job, regardless of your interview skills. But what about that dream job you always wanted, working in the setting of your choice, treating the patient population that interests you most, working for a well-respected company with a great team of dedicated professionals.

What about THAT job? Great interview skills might just make the difference between you and other qualified candidates hoping for that same dream job.

Interviewing can be stressful. What’s not to be nervous about, landing this job could mean financial security, dream job, work progression toward your ultimate career goal, whatever the reason you are nervous, keep in mind most everyone has anxiety over interviews.

It’s a mind game, one that you are playing with yourself. Think about it, the hiring manager didn’t schedule the time to meet with you in hopes that you crash and burn. They want you to be a great match as well.

The best plan to alleviate those nerves and have a successful interview is to not over complicate it. Follow these tips to ensure you make a positive impression.

Be prepared. This sounds like a no-brainer but thinking through all of these details are imperative.

  • Get there on time. In fact get there a little early. Map out your commute during the time of day you’ll be traveling. Do a test drive for good measure.
  • Anticipate the interview questions that will be asked and how exactly you will answer them. Pinpoint the ones you are especially nervous about.
  • Have some questions of your own. This takes the pressure off of you and shows you’re interested.
  • Research – know the company and practice you are interviewing for. Learn about them online and ask around. What more do you want to know? Have them fill in the blanks. This is your opportunity to explore if this is the right fit for you as well.

Dress Rehearsal.

  • Plan your attire and try it on a few days before the interview. Sit, walk. Can you breathe? Are you comfortable but not too comfortable? Look sharp.
  • If you’re really stressed out, practice. Schedule a mock-interview. Many career and talent centers offer this service and often times it is free. If that isn’t an option, ask a friend or mentor to interview you.

Take Care of Yourself.

  • Aim to sleep a full eight hours the night before.
  • Eat. Have a good breakfast or healthy lunch so you aren’t feeling faint or your stomach isn’t growling mid-interview.
  • Drink water. Steer clear from caffeine the day of the interview. Often times it will increase your jitters to an interview.
  • Do something that relaxes you. Go for a walk, early work-out, listen to music, laugh or talk with a friend or spouse beforehand.
  • Pep-talk. Friends and mentors are great for telling you all the things you’re awesome at.

Be Yourself.

There is no denying that being confident and comfortable with yourself is attractive. Avoid the pressure to say things that you think they want to hear. Answer truthfully, let your personality shine through whether it be optimism or humor. Going through the checklist above will help you be yourself when the moment arrives. Most employers want employees who are happy by nature. So smile.

Whether you land the job or not, any interview is great practice for your next one. Reflect on the questions and how you answered them, directly after the interview but don’t beat yourself up. Move on, send your thank you notes and keep your search going until you are happy with where you are practicing physical therapy.

This article was first published on January 22, 2019.

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