What are your tips for interviewing? I always seem to choke up and get performance anxiety.

What are your tips for interviewing? I always seem to choke up and get performance anxiety. –@unionkane

Before an interview:

PREPARE.  Know everything you can about the history of the business you are interviewing for. How did it start? What is the backgrounds of the founders? What were the goals of the business? How have they changed? When has the business faltered in the past? With any large company you can always find this out. Make sure you do.

BECOME THE COMPANY.  In a science fiction sense you want to mind-meld with the company. It’s as if you were the company so the ideas you start to come up with are ideas that will better the company. This will shine through in the interview.

BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE WITH EXTRA KNOWLEDGE.    If you are interviewing for a smaller company it might not be so easy to do the above, but you can always know the competitors. Be familiar with the ups and downs in the industry.

Performance anxiety in an interview is similar to anxiety in any performance – it is 100% related to low confidence. You build confidence through knowledge and practice.

VISUALIZE. Before the interview, visualize the entire interview in your head. Bring up all the points you studied about the industry. Imagine yourself talking about what your role will be. Bring up ideas you have. Play with it, see yourself doing great. Make it fun, visualize hearing an offer beyond your wildest dreams, make it big, make it successful, then let it all go.

EXCERCISE. This reduces anxiety and helps you focus. The one draw-back is that it could make you tired. Therefore, once you exercise, build the mind muscles back up by coming up with 10 ideas for the business. Brand new ideas, ones you have not thought of before. Even if it’s interviewing to work as a shoe store salesman, make sure you understand every brand out there, how the store can use social media to drive customers, etc.

GOOGLE IT.  You can usually get the names of the people you are going to meet in the interview process. Of course, use Google to find out everything about them. Again, the overriding consideration is that knowledge builds confidence which reduces anxiety. Exercise also reduces anxiety.

Finally, surrender. It is very important to have a feeling of “Okay, I’ve done all I can. It’s in your hands now. Whatever will be will be, I trust that what is best for all concerned will be the outcome.

Having a feeling of surrender and humility, and a sense that there’s a higher power (even if you call it something as silly as “The Force”) will help reduce anxiety.

Now go get the job. Don’t think about the past (fired from prior jobs) or the future (if I don’t get this job then I’m lost). These are “not useful” thoughts. Try to catch yourself in the middle of a not-useful thought (it takes practice) and see if you can replace it with its opposite.  Stay rooted in the present moment, flow with it.