You’ve spent weeks or months looking for a new job and you’ve finally spotted your dream gig. It’s all you’ve ever wanted: the hours are perfect, the work is fulfilling, and your skills are a perfect match for the job requirements. You filled out the application with anticipation and now, after weeks of waiting, you’ve landed an interview.
Naturally, you might be experiencing a gamut of emotions – excitement, hope, and maybe even impatience as you wait for the day of your interview.
But there are probably a few negative emotions too. Maybe you’re experiencing some anxiety, or imposter syndrome is making you question if you’re actually as qualified as you thought you were when you filled out the application.
All of these feelings, and the thoughts and internal arguments that may accompany them, use your mental energy. It might not sound important, but lack of mental energy before an interview can leave you flustered and leave a poor impression on the person you hope is your future employer.
How mental energy works
Mental energy isn’t the same as your physical energy. You can deplete your mental energy without doing any physical work. Juggling all the things that need to be done, completing tasks (even tasks that don’t require much physical input), having thoughts racing around in your head, and the business of day-to-day life can all deplete your mental energy.
You need mental energy to complete cognitive tasks, and it’s imperative when it comes to interviewing. Your mind needs to be sharp so you can answer questions quickly and well, and you need to be able to engage fully, make a good impression, and ensure your future employer sees the best you have to offer.
Though they aren’t the same, mental energy can have an impact on your physical energy. In fact, one study from Psychology Today showed that mental energy is tied to physical energy. Getting mentally energized resulted in higher physical energy and even a change in blood pressure. You probably don’t have to complete a physical task for your job interview, but your physical energy (or lack thereof) may be visible on your face, in your body language, and in the way you carry yourself – all important aspects of the impression you’re making.
Tips to Conserve Your Mental Energy for your next job interview
While you may not be able to control your feelings and even, to some extent, your thoughts, you can exert the control you do have over your environment to help conserve your energy for an interview.
1. The Week Before: Check Your Mindset
If you struggle with imposter syndrome, focusing on your mindset in the days before your interview is one of the best ways you can conserve your mental energy. What are some of your major successes and achievements? Look back over your resume and think of how far you’ve come, and spend time focusing on problems you’ve solved and all the times you’ve knocked it out of the park in previous employment. You can start doing this in the days before your interview, but it’s vital the day before and the morning of your interview.
2. Two Nights Before: Get Enough Sleep
I know you know this one, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat it. Get a good night’s sleep the night before your interview. You may find yourself unable to sleep well the night before, so getting a good night of sleep two nights before your interview will help keep tiredness and mental fatigue at bay.
3. The Day Before: Set Out Your Clothes
Pick out your clothes the day before your interview. Make sure they look the way you want them, that you have your shoes or other accessories, and that what you wear is all squared away before you go to bed. Check that off of the list of things you need to worry about and – this part is key – try not to think about it again until it’s time to get dressed.
4. The Day Of: Show Up Early
Even if you’re interviewing on Zoom, be ready at least ten minutes early. Unforeseen technical difficulties can hinder being on time for an interview online. If you’re interviewing in person, leave your house with plenty of time to park, make your way through an unfamiliar building, and still be several minutes early. This will give you mental space to prepare in those last few minutes before the interview starts and keep you from feeling flustered at the start of the interview.
Give the job interview your best shot
Give yourself the gift of arriving at an interview feeling rested, confident, and mentally prepared to take on the challenge. While it’s impossible to anticipate everything that might go wrong before or even during an interview, you can use these steps to protect your mental energy and give yourself the best shot at landing your dream job.