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Interviewing for a Teaching Position

Author(s): Tracy Volz, PhD

Overcome Anxiety

Job interviews are a source of anxiety for most people. Their anxiety manifests itself in some subtle and not so subtle ways, such as a flushed face, trembling hands, or a quivering voice. This slide presents a few strategies to help you overcome anxiety and stay relaxed during your interview. While different strategies work for different people, one or more of those described here might help you.

Deep breathing is a popular relaxation technique among performers and athletes. It requires practice, though, so you should not expect to walk into a room, take one deep breath and have all of your anxiety melt away. Instead, you need to breathe deeply from your abdomen for 3-5 minutes prior to the interview. Pretend that your lungs are balloons ready to be inflated with air. Focus on the rhythm of your breathing. Inhale, filling your lungs from the bottom up, and then slowly release all of the air until the balloons are flat and empty. Repeat cycle. As your heart rate slows down, you should feel much more calm and composed.

Many speakers experience tension in their jaws and throat. To relieve this tension, find a private space in which to stretch your muscles. Yawn in an exaggerated way to loosen up your jaw. Gently pat your face. Rotate your neck from side to side. General stretching also can help you to relax. Extend your arms towards the corners of room. Bend over and slowly exhale as you touch your toes. Repeat several times.

Try to eat something that will give you energy and get a good night’s rest the night before your interview. You want to be awake and alert during the interview. But avoid caffeine! It may over-stimulate you and cause you to speak too fast, start to sweat, or jumble your thoughts. Instead of caffeine, rely on your body’s adrenaline to make you sharp. Prior to (but not during) the interview, you may want to suck on hard candy or sip warm water if your mouth tends to get dry.