Job interviews can be challenging enough, without having to deal with the barriers that a disability presents to obtaining a job. From the added stress that a mental illness can bring to the physical limitation of an intellectual disability, the stress levels can seem astronomical at times. However, there are many ways to cope with the stress that comes with the interview process.
Long before the interview day, learn as much as possible about the company. What is the company’s mission? What is their long-term growth plan? What does the position involve? Knowing a lot about the company and position you’re interviewing for will help calm your nerves and make you more prepared for the interview.
There are many other ways to get prepared for a job interview:
Print out copies of your resume, cover letter, and references
Try on your interview outfit the night before
Figure out travel time and parking cost
Take Care of Yourself
The best way to deal with the stress of a job interview is to take care of yourself. Whether it’s getting lots of sleep the night before or eating healthy, there are tons of ways to de-stress. Find a way to relax, by watching your favorite TV show or simply going for a walk. Use a mental health coping technique – try deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mediation.
Practice, Practice, Practice
One of the most important things you can do to get prepared for a job interview is to practice responding to test interview questions. First, practice answering the most common interview questions. Second, search online for common interview questions related to the position you’re are applying for. Finally, answer some uncommon interview questions, like what animal do you relate to and why? It is very likely that you will be asked the most common interview questions or something about your previous work experience. The more you practice, the lower your stress level will be and the more confident you will become.
Positive Frame of Mind
The absolute worst thing you can do right before an interview is to start thinking about your short-comings and feeling self-doubt. To get around these negative thoughts and emotions, start by focusing all your attention on the positives. One way to do this is to list all the different skills and attributes that make you a perfect fit for the company you are applying to. Another great way to get into a positive frame of mind is to start a gratitude list that focuses on all the positive things in your life or the world right now. Just entering an interview in a positive frame of mind can be a great way to calm your nerves.
Boost Your Confidence
There are a few ways to boost your confidence right before an interview. One way to boost your confidence is to use “power songs” to lift your spirits. There are tons of great songs out there, like “Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor or “Pump It,” by the Black Eyed Peas. On your way to the interview, play a few of these power songs and let them inspire you and fill you with power and confidence.
Another great way to build confidence is to use the “power pose” a concept introduced by Amy Cuddy at a TED talk. Simply finding a quiet space to strike the “power pose” can have amazing effects on your interview confidence. All you have to do is put your hands on your hips like Superman or Wonder Woman for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. While striking the “power pose” imagine yourself successfully answering questions in the interview and landing the job. Take a few deep breathes and raise your arms above your head for a few seconds. You are now ready to take on the interview with more confidence than before.
In the end, the reason you were invited for an interview is the hiring manager is likely confident that you already possess the skills required to do the job. The interviewer is just going through the process to determine if you are a good fit for the job or company and if you are a good person to work with. Remember, this is also your opportunity to see if you think the company is somewhere you’d like to work. They should be trying to impress you too! So, relax and just be yourself.