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How do you mentally prepare for an interview?

saramccombs profile image Sara McCombs (she/her) ・1 min read

Discussion (12)

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torianne02 profile image
Victoria Crawford

When I first started interviewing, I was a basket case before every interview. At times, I put so much pressure on myself to nail an interview that I'd be in tears 5 minutes before the interview start-time. Once I became self-aware of how destructive that was, I had to come up with some type of pre-interview regimen to keep the anxiety at bay.

After a while, I learned that telling myself "if I mess up this interview, it isn't the end of the world. There will always be another one eventually." was incredibly helpful to me. I also began to live by the mantra, "when one door closes, another opens." These really helped me decrease my anxiety and pre-interview jitters, which ultimately helped me come across more like myself and a heck of a ton more confident than I was previously.

Lastly, to prepare technically before interviews, I'd spend the night before or two to three hours before the interview looking over common interview questions and the basics of the coding language I'd be interviewing in. Once I was an hour from the interview, I'd stop reviewing and do something for myself to help calm the nerves and pump myself up. It may seem silly, but I always looked in a mirror and said "you can do this."

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saramccombs profile image
Sara McCombs (she/her) Author

Awesome!

I do something similar. Spend two days before reviewing things that are relevant. Then a favorite movie the evening before.

The day of is all about things that keep me relaxed and confident. Hot shower. Favorite shirt. Motivating music. Just good vibes.

An hour before, I meditate and exhale all the anxiety these situations bring.

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Benjamin Trent

Besides the obvious "Cracking the Code interview" read through. I remind myself "my interviewers are just people".

They can say yes/no. But, they are people; just like you. Don't get intimidated. Treat it like a fun conversation with peers.

I know this is easier said than done. But nerves are the main reason bright and qualified folks bomb interviews.

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saramccombs profile image
Sara McCombs (she/her) Author

Very true. Interviewers are people too. It’s always great to remind yourself of this right before.

Nerves have usually been my downfall. Ask me a question in a conversation and I’ll answer gracefully and thoughtfully. Ask me the same question during an interview and I might fumble for the right words a few times.

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Sara Cunningham

for behavioral i try to make it as conversational as possible. if it's more conversational then it's easier for me to be myself and not get too stressed about the questions, recruiter, etc. i am still trying to work on business case interviews and am trying to read and prepare for them. i only did one and still need more practice. for me, I think staying as calm as possible and being prepared ahead of time is very important!

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Sara McCombs (she/her) Author

Absolutely. I prefer things to be more conversation oriented. More of someone’s personality shines through and can give you a great impression of what it would be like to work with someone. Because, remember interviews are sometimes a two-way interview opportunity. A chance to speak with future coworkers... team chemistry is important.

Business/technical questions are much harder and I try to prepare as much as possible. For each job application I create a dossier of sorts and just add to it with each level I reach in the process. Then before the final one I have a reference document about the process as a whole and can add or clarify things as necessary. It might not be much help at the final stage (or it could be) but it provides me a sense of confidence that lets me have a little less anxiety about the interview as a whole.

As far as anxiety reduction, meditation and music are integral for me. Both help me to relax and center myself for the conversation ahead.

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Rodrigo Brochado • Edited

It depends on the interview, I usually few like I have to mentally prepare "more" when I'm going to be tested on the technical side. I always try to remind myself of my knowledge, taking a few minutes to calm myself and few confident of what I'm capable.

One thing that I also like to remind myself when preparing is that the company interviewing me is actually interested on me. Thinking about this makes me realize I have less reasons to feel "uncapable" as they are the ones who selected me to be participating on whatever step of the process I'm in.

Thanks for bringing this discussion, I'm sure people will get to gain some pretty good advices from the comments as I just did!

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Sara McCombs (she/her) Author

You’re welcome! I gained a lot from the comments here and even from direct feedback from friends who saw this post.

We all prepare differently, but we are all aiming for the same goals: to be confident and show our true selves to a potential employer.

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mxldevs profile image
MxL Devs

I treat it as a time for me to shine so that I can show off.

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Sara McCombs (she/her) Author

Do you do any sort of preparation to outline the things you want to show off?

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MxL Devs

Yes. It's like a presentation. Some people can get up there and just make things up as they go, but it's better to get some elevator pitches ready if they show interest in a particular thing that was mentioned

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Sara McCombs (she/her) Author

Having a good elevator pitch is super important. Especially if you struggle with the “tell me about yourself” question.