Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane "pill-flipping" life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.

4 Ways to Overcome Interview Anxiety

NOVEMBER 12, 2014

We all feel nervousness during an interview. No matter how much you have prepared, you still feel like you want to throw up. Since you've probably felt this way before, I would like to share with you 4 ways to conquer your interview anxiety. If you don't like reading, check out the video I made here.


1. Know this is not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Understand that your interview is not like that perfect guy or girl who you've had a crush on for 4 years, and he or she is going on some trip forever to Africa and you are never going to see them again. It’s not like that.

Interviews are something that can be repeated. You may have to do more interviews. I hope that doesn’t happen to you, but if it does, understand that your interview is not the last chance that you have, and it is not your life-defining moment.

I think a lot of people put too much pressure on themselves for interviews, which creates anxiety and then they think, "If I don’t do well in this interview, I’m going to bomb, I’m going to tank, and I’m going to be a failure and all my friends are going to judge me and think that I am a failure."

I remember thinking those same exact thoughts when I went to my pharmacy school interview. I remember thinking that I was a failure after my interview when I didn’t get the position in undergrad.

But this interview isn't the end. There's still hope for you afterwards. You can always apply again. 

Once you understand that this is not your last chance, you can say to yourself, "I am going to do this, and I’m going to do awesome."
 

2. Pray or meditate

Another great way to beat anxiety is to pray or meditate. I don’t want to push spirituality on you, but interestingly, prayer or meditation is one of the top ways to overcome pain or anxiety, according to medical studies.

Whatever religion are, I urge you to pray. Pray during the months before your interview or right before it. I think this is a great way to not only calm yourself, but also trust to a higher authority and the fact that whatever happens in this moment is going to be in that higher authority’s power.

This is a tactic I actually use, as I have found that the trust and faith that I have built up in meditation and prayer has helped me during interviews.

There is a spiritual aspect in every single human. Meditation is one of the easiest ways to calm your mind and body. Remember, anxiety is a physical response, not an emotional one, so you have to learn to control your body. Don't allow anxiety to rule your decisions and thought patterns.
 

3. Exercise

A physical way to control anxiety is to exercise. One tactic I do right before the interview is to stand straight with good posture and stick my arms out. This may look and seem odd, but I actually learned this in a speech class where an expert called it the Power Stance.

The Power Stance allows you to physically feel confident. My professor said those who give speeches for a living, including President Bill Clinton, perform this exercise beforehand. This tactic trains the body to believe that you are confident in whatever you are about to do.

I think it is a well-known fact that when you are strong and able to take on challenges,you have more confidence in your ability to do things, physical or not.
 

4. Envision the worst possible situation

This last tip for overcoming anxiety is part amorphous suggestion and part big-picture thinking. It is to envision the worst possible situation and write it down.

My fear about Pharmacy School HQ is that it won’t get enough traction, won’t be successful, and won’t help out a lot of students. That makes me scared, but if I start believing that this thing called Pharmacy School HQ is something big, great, and wonderful, what happens if I’m too successful? What if people start attacking my integrity? What if people are trolling all over my YouTube videos?

That's what fear does. It first told me, "You won’t be successful." Then, I became confident by affirming my belief in my endeavors, but then fear told me, "What if you become too successful?" Fear doesn't stick to one side. It makes you doubt yourself at every turn.

I want you to envision the worst possible thing and write it down. When you write down what you’re scared of, you take away fear’s power and its ability to make you feel powerless, scared, nervous, and anxious. Then, you begin to regain that power back. It's a great way to gain confidence.

Since you know that your life is not in danger, you have no true reason to be anxious about this interview. In my mind, the worst possible situation is that you are not offered a position. Okay, so be it. 

That could mean that you will spend a year doing something else, or it could be that you were not meant to go to that place and you need to go to another. There are a million other opportunities, so you don’t need to be afraid even if you don’t get in, because you can always reapply. It’s not the end of the world.


 



SHARE THIS SHARE THIS
0
Pharmacy Times Strategic Alliance
 

Pharmacist Education
Clinical features with downloadable PDFs


Next-Generation Pharmacist® Awards


SIGN UP FOR THE PHARMACY TIMES NEWSLETTER
Personalize the information you receive by selecting targeted content and special offers.