Reasons why an Interview is Stressful for Someone with Anxiety

Hey Sweeties,

At various points in life, you will recognise that change is on the horizon and it is time to get a new job. If only one could get a job from your credentials on paper alone, eh? I have written before about my top interview tips, and five questions you could ask at interview, as well as my advice for having a career in marketing. But there has been a gap until now identifying the reasons why an interview is stressful for someone with anxiety, and about applying those tips and advice I have shared previously, to somebody with anxiety… somebody just like me.

Rightly or wrongly, I go into an interview and treat it like a performance, a display of my best self demonstrating my personality and my capability for the role I am in contention for. The fact that I am a ball of insecurity on the inside; my throat drying after every answer to each question; every part of me wishing the performance to be over with and I can escape back into the security of my car. As it happens, to my mind there is only one interview that I would say went badly and that was right back after university when I was trying to get my break. I don’t lie in an interview, my ‘performance’ is my true self, but it is certainly a struggle to keep my anxiety at bay.

Reasons why an Interview is Stressful for Someone with Anxiety

Answering unknown numbers

Answering the phone at the best of times is still a daunting thing and it’s made even worse when you are job hunting as every unknown number could be the conversation that leads to that next opportunity… so you have to answer those calls. Take a deep breath, and press ‘accept’.

Meeting people you don’t know who are going to ask you questions about yourself and your experience

One of the key things about anxiety is the fear of the unknown that may or may not happen in the future. This unknown can -and does- also apply to people and an interview is made twice as daunting. A tip? If you have the name(s) of the person or people you will be meeting, do a search for them on LinkedIn; hopefully they will have a profile picture and a little bit of information about them. The picture will help you put a face to a name, which for me instantly alleviates some of the anxiety, and the information helps me understand the person’s background, and if there is anything we might have in common, or experience I could greatly learn and benefit from.

New Location

In the same way I mentioned above about being able to put a picture to a name, really much of my personal anxiety can be made a little bit easier when I can visualise as much about a situation as possible. When it comes to interviews, unless I have regularly driven past the location of my potential new job, this is something that I can’t settle in my head until I arrive for the interview itself. But as I advised in my initial interview post (here), ahead of your interview make sure you know where you are going, check how long it takes, and if you can do a trial run beforehand, do.

Being turned down for the role

More than feeling disappointed, it’s an anxiety sufferer’s pride that is hurt more… even worse when you are a Leo like me! You are disappointed when you get the call, but the anxiety actually comes from having to tell others like your friends, that you were unlucky. But you know what? The way to look at rejection is to simply say to yourself, “that obviously wasn’t the role that I was meant to have, and something better is still out there waiting for me”. You brush yourself off, and move on.

You Got the Role!

Just because you have anxiety, won’t prevent you from being snapped up by the right employer. It’s important to also remember that you don’t have to say yes to the first offer… the role, the employer, the people, and the environment has to be right for you too! But when it’s a match, it’s a match and embrace it all because you did it!

Do you suffer with anxiety? How do you overcome the nerves in an interview?

Until next time x



  1. Joanne Mallon 18th January 2018 / 10:08 am

    I think it would be weird not to get at least a little phased by a job interview – they can be so scary. I always take a bottle of water in with me, and sip it if I’m feeling anxious in order to distract myself. I eat well beforehand – low GI food so I don’t get blood sugar spikes which can feel a lot like anxiety.

    But I do see it as a two way process – the company has to sell themselves to me as much as me to them. This helps me feel a bit more in control and less of a victim, especially if it doesn’t work out.

    • Claire 18th January 2018 / 6:01 pm

      Excellent advice and I completely agree re the two way process! I always ask for water in an interview, taking a sip can always allow for some extra thinking time too! 🙂

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