You’ve prepared for this very moment: the interview that could lead to the next step in your medical sales career. Like most people would be, you feel nervous to answer questions and be assessed by an interviewer.
But this feels like more than nerves. You’ve had insomnia over the last few weeks and have trouble focusing. Every time you think about walking into that interview it feels like your heart is racing out of your chest.
Then, you finally reach the actual interview only to forget everything you wanted to say. It feels like the world is sitting on your shoulders and it’s hard to catch a full, deep breath.
If you have anxiety, chances are you’ve had these type of interview experiences. Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the U.S. In fact, 40 million adults age 18 and older are affected by anxiety-related disorders, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Unfortunately, pre-interview nerves only perpetuate anxiety disorder symptoms. This may lead to you looking overly nervous or can even crush your confidence during a medical sales interview. It’s time to let recruiters see the real you. The talented, qualified, intelligent medical sales professional that you are.
Here are four anxiety-taming tricks you can do before your next medical sales interview:
1. Practice mindfulness before an interview
When you’re facing something unpredictable — like the future of your career — it’s critical that you find solid ground where you can live in the present, away from all those unknowns.
Mindfulness exercises are one proven way to train your mind to stay in the moment. This process of bringing your attention to experiences occurring in the present moment. This allows you to acknowledge your interview anxieties, accept them as an emotion, and reframe them in a different, more positive, light. There are apps available, like Pacifica, to quickly and easily channel those fears and help you practice mindfulness.
2. Bring a notebook
Give your memory a helping hand by coming to an interview with prepared notes. These small reminders will aid in calming your nerves, can help you think quickly when put on the spot, and for many serve as a security crutch that is there ‘just in case.’.
Make notes on cards or a small tablet. Use them as a point of reference throughout the interview by including talking points, your strengths, and any questions you may have for the interviewer.
It’s important to keep your notes succinct. Creating long sentences or big blocks of text may enhance your anxiety in the moment as you struggle to find the information you need. Organize by color and add bullet points to ensure critical points jump off the page.
3. Avoid caffeine
Many medical sales reps rely on the power of caffeine. We know what a powerful cup of coffee can do when you’re facing a full workload. However, caffeine can emphasize many common symptoms of anxiety, such as agitation and an increased heart rate.
On a day when you’re already trying to calm your nerves, that extra boost of caffeine could send you spiraling. Limit your intake the day before and the morning of an interview. If a few cups of hot coffee or tea in the morning offer you comfort, stock up on some decaf to get you through those first critical hours.
4. Talk to someone who understands
It’s important to reach out to discuss your feelings before an interview. Letting out some of that nervous energy and chatting through your thoughts is therapeutic. However, not everyone understands the effects of anxiety. And not everyone understands the pressure medical sales reps are under in such a competitive field.
Reach out to someone in your network who is either empathetic or sympathetic to your emotions. This person could be a close friend, relative, co-worker, or even someone you’ve never met but recognize through a networking opportunity. No matter the person, be sure you’re comfortable opening up and that they’ll be supportive.
Then, talk through your fears. Explain why you’re having trouble staying in the moment. Ask for advice on what has helped calm them through a stressful time. Find out what resonates with you and how to implement it into your interview preparation.