The thought of interviewing for a new job can make even experienced nurse practitioners shudder. Convincing an employer you’re the best candidate for a position is anxiety provoking. Unknowns about how the interview will be conducted make preparation difficult. As someone who tends to be better with written communication than verbal, any interview, and particularly one for a job, is enough to make me wish I had a prescription for Xanax.
Interviews are, of course, an important part of the job search process for nurse practitioners. Not only do they help employers narrow down applicant pools and select the best candidate for the position, they also allow NPs to learn more about prospective employers and assess the fit of the opportunity. Coming in to your interview with a calm demeanor helps you focus on the information shared, gaining as much as possible from the interaction. Not to mention, anxiety isn’t attractive and doesn’t help you stand out as a top candidate. So, here’s how to stop your voice from quavering and your hands from shaking as you chat with employers-to-be.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
Getting yourself ready for a job interview is a must. There are several tricks for impressing your interviewer out there, as well as for preparing to respond to any interview question, from straightforward to obscure. Rather than anticipating each and every question your interviewer might ask, try the opposite approach detailed in this blog post, How to Answer Any NP Job Interview Question. This method helps nurse practitioners ready responses that fit a wide range of questions easing day-of job interview worries.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Just like I can’t emphasize preparation enough, practicing is key to alleviating job interview anxiety. Once you’ve prepared for your job interview, sit in front of the mirror and rehearse the interview from start to finish. Walk in the room. Shake your imaginary interviewer’s hand firmly. Respond to anticipated questions aloud. Your roommates or family may think you’ve gone crazy, but trust me – it works. Whatever comes out of your mouth in practice sessions will stick with you for the main event. Knowing you are ready with a reply allows you to relax and perform your best on the big day.
Go Through the Motions in Advance
No matter how prepared you are to tackle questions an interviewer might lob your way, day-of logistics gone wrong are likely to throw off the confidence you’ve built up allowing anxiety to rear its ugly head. So, visit the facility a week or so before the interview, ideally at the same time your interview will be held. This way, you can anticipate hang-ups like traffic, and ensure you know the exact location your interview will be held. Try on then set out what you plan to wear the evening before your interview to make sure your outfit is clean and pressed. If you’ve gained a few lbs since you last wore your interview suit, this gives you time to scramble and identify an alternative.
Tap Into Your Confidence
Every job applicant has weaknesses and interviewers know this. The way you present yourself in an interview can overcome them. The morning of the interview, make sure to fuel your body for the occasion. Eat breakfast so stomach rumbles don’t throw you off mid-conversation. Exercise to get out the jitters. Watch this TED talk and adjust your posture accordingly. If your body language exudes confidence, your words will follow.
Prepare For the Tough Stuff
While your interview preparation should have readied you to highlight your strengths as a nurse practitioner, you can expect to be asked about your weaknesses. How will you respond? Be prepared to address your weaknesses as well as discuss other potentially sensitive topics such as the reason you left your last job, or why you took a break from the nurse practitioner workforce. The best way to respond to these questions is to be honest, straightforward, and succinct. Anticipating these questions eases in the moment interview stress.
Give Yourself a Break
Putting pressure on yourself is the surest way to stress out about a job interview. Telling yourself that the job in question is your only option for employment, for example, won’t help ease job interview jitters. Keep a balanced perspective as you conduct your job search. This isn’t your only chance. At worst, it will be a practice run for the next round. Motivate yourself to shine in your nurse practitioner job interview, rather than beating yourself down. If you sense the interview derailing, don’t get desperate. Rather, keep calm and redirect the conversation. An interview is just that, after all, a conversation. Keep this in mind.
Scheduling an important event, or anything aside from a celebratory meal, immediately after your interview is sure to leave you on edge during your meeting. Concerns about timing, attempts to stealthily check your watch, and mounting stress about an impending obligation will certainly be perceived by your prospective employer. You never know how long an interview will last. Block a significant amount of time for your interview so that scheduling concerns don’t contribute to a case of nerves.
How do you manage nurse practitioner job interview anxiety?
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