Thriving Together Series: How to Relieve Job Interview Stress

Thriving Together job interview stress

By: Mitchell Burgos, Liam Bellucy, William Fleming, Stefan Surtees, and Soufiane Elgarh, Mason students in the School of Business

“I will prepare, and someday my chance will come.” – Abraham Lincoln

The purpose of an interview is for employers to see if you are the person they want for the job. But interviews are often stressful, and if you react to that stress, you may misrepresent yourself. Stress mostly comes from our pre-interview anticipation and mid-interview anxiety. Here’s how to relieve job interview stress to improve your well-being during the interview process.

Proper Attire

There are a few easy steps you can take to rid yourself of any attire-related stress on the day of your interview. The Robert Walters Group suggests that instead of just picking an outfit out in your head or setting it aside for the morning of, you should try it on the night before. It is good to double and even triple-check that your outfit not only fits properly, but is clean and in an appropriate condition for your interview. It is important to wear comfortable, fitted clothes but nothing that is too tight or restrictive. Additionally, you should avoid heavier fabrics and be sure to take off any outerwear when not outside. Tight clothes, heavy materials, and wearing too many layers all can lead your body to sweat. The Steinbright Career Development Center at Drexel University states that sweat is both a physical trigger of, and the result of, interview-related stress. Setting aside 30 minutes the night before your interview to prepare, try on ,and set out your outfit will significantly reduce the likelihood of stress the next day. In addition to eliminating stress, seeing yourself in a clean, well-fitted outfit will likely provide a boost in confidence and morale, both of which are strong factors in interview success and your overall well-being.

Being on Time

Why is it important to prepare to get to an interview on time? How does proper planning reduce stress and support well-being? Staffing Oregon, an employment company that helps people find jobs, advises “Being late for your scheduled interview can be an indication that you do not pay attention to important details. It proves that you do not value others’ time.” Being on time or even early to your job interview shows the potential employer that you are responsible and genuinely interested in the job opportunity.

As a professional, there are things you can do in advance to ensure that you make it to your interview on time. You can: double-check the directions while taking traffic into account, make sure your phone is fully charged, make sure your car has enough gas, and avoid distractions such as television and social media in the hours leading up to your interview. It is crucial that you arrive at your interview on time, and that you plan and prepare in advance to ensure you are not rushing to get there. By preparing in advance, you can relieve unnecessary stress, allowing you to relax and focus on the task ahead.

Knowing the Company

To be able to perform in an interview, you should know key facts about the company where you plan to interview. Reducing uncertainties is a must. Helpful facts to know include: the type of interview that will occur; the company’s mission, vision and values statements; and the office environment.

Different types of discussions can happen in different kinds of interviews. In a standard one-on-one interview, you will take questions from an interviewer one-on-one. In a panel interview, a group of people interviews you, asking different questions. Finally, in a group interview, you’ll participate with one or more interviewers and many interviewees.

Learning the company’s statements helps you discern whether you want to work at this company for the foreseeable future. The mission statement tells you the company’s primary purpose. The vision statement tells you what the company sees for itself in the future. The value statement tells you what the company stands for. If these statements align with what you believe and want for yourself, then they can take some of the stress of the future away from you.

The office environment has various components – from the tone of the office gives off to the clothes that people tend to wear there. The office can be very punctual and focused on results or a laid-back environment that is more focused on the process than on reaching goals quickly. Office attire can significantly change, depending on the type of industry. You would not show up to a management interview in a bathing suit, but you may if you were applying to a lifeguarding job. Knowing all this will make you a better interviewee and relieve tension before your interview.

Preparing for Questions

Being properly prepared for the questions that might be brought up during an interview can help reduce the anxiety that you might encounter while being interviewed.

Being yourself and maintaining honesty throughout the interview process is essential. Doing so will be one of the most important factors in reducing your stress in the workplace. Portraying yourself as someone you’re not will ultimately create an environment where you are constantly uncomfortable. In order to secure a productive and enjoyable position with a company, you must ensure that your values and personality truly align with those of the organization.

Interviewers often ask the general question, “Tell me about yourself”. Asking these types of questions gives the interviewer a sense of who you are, where you are in your career, and how you want to develop your career. Be simple but effective when answering this question. The interviewer often asks this question to gauge your confidence and your passion for the industry. Explaining how and why the position aligns with your goals and passions gives the interviewer the impression of whether you, as a candidate, would be a good fit for the position.

Another general question that an interviewer might ask is, “Why do you want to work here?”. This question is important because your answer should align with the company’s goals and missions. If not, your work will not feel fulfilling, which would lead to a lack of productivity and efficiency on the job.

Interviewers might also be inclined to ask more difficult questions during an interview. Interviewers tend to do this because they are trying to do so to gauge your experience and your quick thinking. According to this article, interviewers are not looking for specific answers; rather, they are trying to learn about your thinking process. Instead of looking for a specific answer, interviewers try to find answers that can be logically supported. The best way to react to difficult questions is to collect your thoughts and try your best to support any claims you make.


The interview process can be quite stressful. However, by using the strategies we have explored, you can reduce stress and promote your well-being throughout the interview process. Doing so will improve your chances of being successful in your job interview.

Additional Resources

Learn more about relieving stress before a job interview in this article from Job

Relieve stress and strengthen your well-being by practicing mindfulness meditation, such as through Mindful Mason Moments sessions.

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