Do you freeze or does your mind go blank in job interviews? For some people, going into stressful speaking situations such as job interviews triggers a ‘fight or flight’ panic response to happen in them. What the freeze panic response feels like is that you can’t speak or your mind goes completely blank for a moment. Whether it lasts for a second or a couple of seconds you are unable to react, like a rabbit caught in the headlights. While it might not look like much on the surface, the inner feelings that come with it are uncomfortable and can even be frightening.

How to stop your mind going blank or freezing in job interviews – from my personal experience you cannot completely stop the panic response from happening ever again since it is triggered by your nervous system below the level of your conscious awareness. This means that in situations where you feel nervous, anxious or overwhelmed in some way, the panic response can occur which will make your mind go blank. You can reduce the likelihood of going blank in job interviews or other stressful speaking situations by being thoroughly prepared before you go into the triggering situation. This is because if you go into the situation feeling prepared and ready, you are less likely to feel nervous when you get there and are being asked questions. However, even if have prepared thoroughly, a panic response can still occur. For example, it can sometimes happen due to the pressure of the situation and wanting very much to give a good performance (you crumble under pressure).

Freezing or going blank in job interviews is undesirable since we have the desire to want to speak fluently and represent ourselves well when being asked questions. For this reason, we put a lot more pressure on ourselves and make ourselves even more nervous in the job interview situation. Trying to stop panic or the mind going blank is not at all effective. This is why the opposite response is needed to the moments when we freeze or go blank. Instead of being fearful of these moments when we can’t think of what to say, we change to observing what is happening without fighting the feeling itself. If you can remember to breathe, take in a breath. When the words are ready they will return and you can begin to speak. Importantly, don’t be apologetic or try to explain away what happened to you: speak as if it never happened.

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