Ah, the job interview. Your shot to impress employers, share why you’re the best provider for the job and prove you’re worth the investment – all while gathering enough information to decide if you’re even interested in the opportunity.
No pressure or anything.
The reality is that job interviews often come with some jitters – even for the most stellar candidates and highest quality health care providers.
Luckily, there are several steps you can take to minimize interview anxiety and make sure your nerves don’t get in the way of landing your next job.
How to overcome job interview anxiety as a resident, fellow or provider:
Start with the obvious: Preparation
Plus, some of the ways you’ll prepare for interviews will be one-size-fits-all, meaning they can be applied when you meet with any employer about any opportunity.
Turn these steps into your go-to action plan:
- Do your research to learn about the organization, its reputation, culture and guiding values so you can reference them during the interview.
- Print a copy of your resume or CV, and offer it to your interviewer when you meet in person to show them you’re organized and willing to take initiative.
- Rehearse your elevator pitch so you’re ready to share your experience and personal highlights.
- Know what you want to learn about the opportunity and organization ahead of time to prepare the right questions to ask during the interview.
- Be ready to jot down important notes during the meeting – and avoid doing so on your phone.
- Understand what topics to avoid during your initial conversations, such as compensation.
- Prioritize a polished appearance, dress in professional attire and ensure you have a good backdrop and lighting if it’s a virtual interview.
- Have a plan to follow up about 24 hours or so after your interview.
Eliminate last-minute stressors
Another layer of anxiety can be avoided simply by removing unnecessary sources of it on the day of your interview. The last thing you want is to make excuses when you’re there to make a positive first impression.
Here’s how to ensure the day of your meeting flows as seamlessly as possible:
- Look up directions to the health system before the day of your meeting so you have an approximate ETA and can give yourself some wiggle room (Tip: Use an APP like Waze to determine when to leave and how to account for traffic based on your desired arrival time).
- Know where to park if your interview is in person; hospitals can be gigantic, and you want to avoid running to the other side of campus to make it to your meeting on time.
- Fuel yourself with plenty of sleep, a good meal and hydration to keep a clear head.
- Avoid drinking too much coffee before your interview, as this can contribute to feeling anxious, shaky or overstimulated.
- Have your outfit and belongings laid out ahead of time so getting out the door is easier.
- Give yourself some extra time – at least an hour – to relax, gather your thoughts and get in the zone before it’s time to interview.
Fake it ‘til you make it: How to boost confidence the day of your interview
Even when you’ve prepared, and you know you’re ready to knock it out of the park during your meetings, it can still be hard to shake your nerves – especially at the last minute.
Try these techniques to alleviate stress as the interview approaches:
- Try a power pose five minutes before your interview to trick your body into a state of confidence (think Superman after bagging the bad guy); it might sound silly, but your mentality follows your body language, not the other way around.
- Mentally reframe your anxiety or heightened adrenaline as excitement about the potential job you could score.
- Call it a conversation, not an interview if it helps you feel more relaxed about discussing the role and what you’re looking for in a job.
- Hype yourself up by listening to your favorite song, pump-up jam or podcast.
- Have something to look forward to after the interview, like lunch with a friend, a trip to the nail salon or a round of golf.
- Interview your interviewer and treat the meeting as a chance to determine if you’re as interested in the opportunity as they are in you.
Whether it’s your first interview out of training or your seventh, it’s normal to be nervous about meetings with potential employers. The good news is that you can combat it.
Remember poise takes preparation, and committing to it is what will help you shine as the most promising prospect for the job.
For more insights about the interview phase of your provider job search, check out First Practice, The Resident & Fellow Career Guide and pointers to help you prepare for interviews and complete them with confidence.