On Wednesday evening, attendees signed onto an online session led by our founder Ryan Valles on dealing with interview anxiety.
In a major turnout, over 160 attendees tuned in to learn how to control one’s anxiety levels during technical interviews where the stakes are high and the process is rigorous.
We’d like to start by thanking everyone who joined us. It was a pleasure to see everyone interacting through our live polls and asking interesting questions to our speakers.
Below you will find a recap of highlights from our session with everyone!
Here's what this article entails:
1. Top 5 Recap
- 1.1 The Myths behind Interview Anxiety
- 1.2 Anxiety is good for you?
- 1.3 Triggers of Interview Anxiety
- 1.4 The C.O.D.E.
- 1.5 Special Speakers Chime in on their Experiences
Top 5 Recap
1. The Myths Behind Interview Anxiety
Ryan began by debunking several myths surrounding interview anxiety. Some of the myths included the belief that very few people have it, interviews are like a standardized test, and that the interviewer is against you.
However, these were not the case. Believe it or not, interviewers actually want you to succeed and be a part of their company or team. Not only that, but interviews should also be treated as a date instead of a test because you should always seek to control the interview instead of only the interviewer. Debunking these myths opened the door to observe interview anxiety from a different perspective.
2. Anxiety is good for you?
Anxiety is most often perceived as something to always avoid and will only cause you discomfort. While there is some truth to these aspects, anxiety is actually more than that. It is naturally good for you because it’s part of your fight-or-flight response. As the human race evolved and did not have to avoid predators in the wild as much, the fight-or-flight response is activated in new situations such as during interviews.
When someone’s fight-or-flight response is activated, their heart starts to race and their adrenaline levels shoot up to help keep you in a state of alertness. However, if one is able to control them, a candidate can bring their A-game to any interview.
3. Triggers of Interview Anxiety
Before starting this part of the agenda, Ryan took a live poll from everyone on the causes for their interview anxiety. About 69% of attendees stated the fear of failure as the cause of their interview anxiety, followed by the need to solve questions fast and complex interview questions.
Ryan then went onto taking everyone through a deeper look at each of the causes and concluded that it is OK to feel anxiety because the environment is facilitated to bring out this feeling. It is up to you to control it and demonstrate to the interviewers that you can succeed under these circumstances.
4. The C.O.D.E.
To introduce the strategies to control one’s interview anxiety, Ryan introduced them to an acronym: C.O.D.E.
The letter “C” in the acronym stands for controlling the interview. As mentioned before, the candidate should learn to control the interview by treating it as a two-way conversation like a date. Ryan emphasized that candidates should always seek to control the interview.
Next is the letter “O,” which was explained as over preparing interviews to avoid any extremes. Candidates should come into interviews prepared on various common topics and patterns. Ryan inserted how if you want to be the most prepared, you should not jump into interviews right away but instead should give yourself enough time and space to prepare by requesting the types of topics that will appear and a time span to prep like a few months or so.
Deliberate practice stands for the next letter, “D.” Participating in mock interviews will allow you to become familiarized with the interview setting when the time finally comes. Setting up timeframes to study concepts is also an integral step to ensuring the most success. Recording your practice interviews also has its perks as you can audit them to identify patterns in your interview style and improve upon them.
Finally, the letter “E” stands for approaching interviews with an evolutionary approach or a growth mindset. It’s important to see what works for you and look at every interview as a learning experience. A formula Ryan mentioned that anyone can follow is: Me + Hardwork + Feedback = A better me!
5. Special Speakers Chime in on their Experiences
Before the Q&A session, Ryan introduced two Interview Kickstart alumni who discussed their experiences with interview anxiety and how they overcame it in the end to find interview success.
The IK alumni were asked several questions from Ryan that contributed to the theme of the session. Attendees had the opportunity to hear how our alumni prepared for their interviews, their first instance of anxiety, and the steps they took to control it in order to find the success they sought out for.
One IK alumni’s parting advice to everyone was that through deliberate practice and determination, you can find success anywhere.
5 Insightful Questions from Attendees
1. Any advice on managing a good night’s sleep before the interview day?
IK Alumni: "I took a couple of days off before the interview day. Doing so allowed me the flexibility to fix my sleep schedule. On those nights, I tried to have minimal screen time and listened to soothing music to help me get a good night’s sleep. I also set myself up to feel confident about my preparation. I did not feel like I needed to stay up late to prepare."
2. I was wondering if you can share your thoughts on how to deal with fatigue and keep motivation up while preparing for FAANG interviews?
Ryan: "When you are applying to a FAANG company, you need to have realistic expectations in your mind. Remember that you are going to have to prepare for a long time. I recommend that you make sure you take an evolutionary approach, establish fine endpoints, and set up a system of discipline that forces you to prepare every week."
3. Any advice for recovering after a bad interview, especially if it’s a traumatizing experience that happened with the same company you’re trying again?
Ryan: "Very good question. You will have bad interviews for sure. However, one interview does not dictate or have any impact on the next interview, and so on and so forth. Companies know you can have a bad interview. Just remember that it is unlikely that one bad interview will affect your other ones down the line."
4. Given that our current workplace always keeps expecting more and more time of our day, can you please share how you managed to balance the expectations at the current workplace and spending time for interview preparation?
IK Alumni: "Certainly. I was also in this dilemma. What needs to be clearly prioritized is one’s goals in the next six months. One should be prepared to not spend too much time at work for a promotion or something similar because you are trying to transition to a different company."
5. Do you have any recommendations in preparing for remote interviews (due to COVID-19)?
Ryan: "I am glad you asked this question! The most challenging part of remote interviews is how difficult it is to read the room compared to an in-person interview. I strongly urge you to check out our Remote Interviews Guide blog post on our website for good pointers."
Ryan Valles, our founder, is passionate about human performance and bringing the best out of people. We appreciate our attendees who jumped on to learn about a critical issue that is not discussed enough because, according to a poll at the beginning, over 60% of the attendees had anxiety levels of 7 and above on a scale of 1 to 10.
We hope all of our attendees found this session informative and useful to their interview preparation and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors. Thank you for reading about our UpLevel MicroClass on interview anxiety.
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