Self-care: Before and After a Job Interview

by Sep 3, 2018

Let’s face it: interviews are one of those rare life moments that are equal parts exciting and make-your-palms-sweat levels of nerve racking. If you have just landed yourself an interview and you’re starting to perspire, or you’re currently reflecting on the suspected blunders you made in your last interview, OR perhaps you’ve never been to one and the concept is so farfetched that it seems as scary as a mission to the moon… I feel you!

Let’s start off by acknowledging and normalising these nerves. We are human, and it is naturally daunting to sit in front of one or more senior professionals while making sure that your handshake is on point, that you’re looking the part and – on top of that – that you’re answering your questions clearly and concisely. And, of course, this is all while sitting straight, smiling, and making sure you act, you know, natural.

Woman crouching on one foot

Actual photo of me acting natural.
Image source

Let’s reiterate: these nerves are normal! They are a sign that you care, and that you’re doing something that is important to you – so use them to your advantage. Use this energy as momentum to put towards creating a solid self-care practice that ensures you are taking time to honour yourself, and aiming to ease some of the stress associated with the journey of an interview.

Self-care: Before an interview.

Before an interview, of course, spend time doing the usual prep: research the company and practise interview questions with a friend. But please, take time for yourself. Your interview answers will lack oomph and spark, no matter how well rehearsed you are, if you go into the room burnt out and stressed.

Here are a few simple things to do before an interview to ensure you feel your best come the big day.

  • Make sure you get a luxurious sleep the night before your meeting. Time and time again research has confirmed the benefits of a good sleep. Sleep is important for promoting a positive mood, calming the nervous system and boosting concentration – all of which are essential for nailing your next interview.
  • Try to find some time to move your body in a way that feels good before your interview. I’m not suggesting you do your first-ever cross-fit class an hour before the interview, but I do propose finding just 15 minutes to get up and move (preferably outside). A light stroll in the sunshine will do you a world of good! Pop in your headphones, listen to your favourite playlist and get your heart pumping. This usually helps to calm my nerves and ease any physical stress symptoms that may be building up underneath the surface.
  • Lastly – breathe deeply. Find five minutes right before your interview (hiding in the carpark or local coffee shop) to simply breathe. There are many free apps that can help guide you through mindfulness and meditation techniques, which may help ease the heat of the moment. I personally enjoy using apps like Insight Timer, Headspace and Simple Habit to help kick-start my journey to relaxation.
Corporate office woman meditating

(Another photo of me acting natural).
Image source

Self-care: After an interview.

Now you’ve made it through the tough part of the interview, it is the perfect time to reflect! I know the stakes may seem high, and you might be worrying over the way you answered a certain question, but here is the best news: it’s over. You can’t change anything now, all you can do is reflect and celebrate your wins.

Here are a few simple things to do after an interview to help you feel great while you wait for an update from the employer.

  • Establish a gratitude practice. Gratitude is a positive feeling that can be evoked by taking time to notice and appreciate the good things happening around us. By taking a moment to contemplate and note the positive things that happened during the interview process (no matter how big or small), you may start to feel a shift in your post-meeting worries. You may start this practice by mentally observing all the things you felt went well during the interview, or perhaps even by writing down a list of things about yourself that you’re proud of.
  • Find time to put yourself first! Whilst playing the waiting game, and nervously awaiting a phone call from an employer – it is important to put yourself on YOUR schedule. Look at your diary and make sure you find time to do something that brings you joy. Maybe it’s catching up with a friend, taking landscape photographs, or perfecting your 6-ball juggle, it is crucial to prioritise fun and amusement. These simple pleasures will help to keep you grounded whilst you await any formal feedback.
overhead view of a colouring book

Image source

Interviews can be very daunting, but by implementing some of these self-care techniques, you should be able to better manage any of the stress and overwhelm that presents itself. During this exciting process, remember to prioritise yourself, do what makes you feel YOUR best and ask for help when you need it.

Self-care Checklist

  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep before your interview
  • Make time to move your body in a way that feels good (A boogie in the shower is great!)
  • Go outside and get some vitamin D
  • Ask for help from a friend or family member if you need it
  • Listen to music that makes you feel good
  • Remind yourself that you have done a great job for having gotten this far – regardless of the outcome

You’ve got this!

Featured image courtesy of  170ml


By Sarah Marlor

By Sarah Marlor

Recruitment Advisor

Sarah is a driven HR practitioner with employment experience spanning across talent acquisition, on-boarding, customer service and career advisor roles, so it is fair to say that people are her thing! With a bursting enthusiasm for helping individuals work towards being their best selves, Sarah brings a passionate vibrancy to her current role as a Recruitment Advisor at the University of Technology Sydney.