Avoiding interview anxiety: how to ace the interview


You landed the interview. You know exactly what you’re going to wear. You know exactly what time to arrive and where to go. But what are you going to say? Preparing for a job interview is the most important part of the process in landing an internship or job.

Interviews can bring stress and nervousness, but South Dakota State’s Office of Career Development helps students prepare for interviews in a variety of ways.

“That is going to help you avoid, as much as possible, being nervous, or at least being terribly nervous,” said Sherry Fuller Bordewyk, associate director for career development.

Having some nerves during an interview is normal, but students shouldn’t have to hold back during an interview.

“For students going into their first interview, it is crucial to practice beforehand. Nerves are hard to control, but the more times you interview, the calmer your nerves will become,” said Samuel Johnson, student coordinator for the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences.

Many students don’t think they have enough experience or skills for certain jobs. However, Fuller Bordewyk said this doesn’t disqualify students from the positions they seek.

“Even if you are applying to an internship and don’t have a lot of experience, you have transferable skills. Let the employer know that you can learn and be a productive member of the team,” Fuller Bordewyk said.

Students must be able to identify their transferable skills, such as leadership roles, written and verbal communication, and teamwork, said Kayla Bucknell, employer relations coordinator.  

When preparing, know yourself well. Know who you are, what your skills are and what you can bring to this organization and be a valuable member of the team.

The employer will appreciate well thought out answers to the “tell me about yourself” question that is expected in almost all interviews.

“We know what we’re good at, but we often don’t know how to express it,” Fuller Bordewyk said.

Study the job posting and know what qualifications the employer is looking for. This can help prepare specific answers and examples to questions.

Also, know the employer well through research, so you don’t walk into the interview blind about the company. Anticipate some of the interview questions that may be asked and practice them.

When the interview has finished, always ask questions to the employer. Avoid asking about salary or benefits until the job offer has come in, but instead ask about what would be expected during the job.

“Having questions ready to ask shows the employer that you are detailed and curious about what your future in the company may look like,” Johnson said.

The Office of Career Development, located in the Union, helps students perform better in interviews and eliminate some stress they may have.

 Students can attend walk-in hours each week that are posted on their Facebook and Twitter page. They are encouraged to bring the office’s resumes and cover letters for review, and questions that they may have about their future interview.

Fuller Bordewyk encourages students to use the resources offered on campus, such as online resources through career fairs and career readiness workshops.

Handshake is also an online job board specifically for SDSU students. On the site, there are job and internship postings as well as handout materials that the Office of Career Development uses to prepare students.

Starting in April there will be workshops ranging from how to write resumes and cover letters to interview preparation and searching for jobs.