So, you’ve done it. You’ve impressed a hiring manager with your superb resume and cover letter and secured an interview. But now you have to face this next dreaded task. For some people (myself included), coping with anxiety before an important interview can be difficult, but changing the way you eat may help give you a competitive edge. When it comes to keeping your cool in the office of your potential employer, you want to be alert, responsive, and calm. And while we can’t promise a magical herbal remedy to make this happen (if only), we have found a few simple tips and tricks that can help you out on your way up the career ladder:
Even mild dehydration can affect your mood and cause you to be less alert and less aware of what is going on – preventing you from showing off that dashing wit that is sure to get you the job. Common knowledge dictates that the average person needs around 8 glasses of water a day (although this is debatable, it may be closer to 4-6 glasses). To stay hydrated without counting glasses, try substituting more fruits and vegetables into your diet and take advantage of their high water content to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Avoid alcohol at all costs. It’s a diuretic, which will dehydrate you, among other things.
2. Be a Grazer
On the day of your interview, vow to forsake the follies of homegrown dining for frequent, small meals. Eating too much forces your body to expend more energy on digestion, which can make you sluggish and sleepy, and eating too little can leave your brain with not enough sugar to keep itself completely alert. Snacking and light meals will keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day and prevent crashes that can lead to slip-ups that can cost you the job.
3. Whole Foods
the real thing, not the supermarket chain
This tip applies even beyond interview day. Earlier this year, researchers at Waikato University in New Zealand found that eating a diet rich in sugars like honey, as opposed to processed sweeteners like sucrose or sugar-free alternatives, may actually decrease anxiety and increase memory. Honey and other whole, natural foods contain loads of antioxidants (like vitamins C and E), compounds found in cells that ‘mop up’ free radicals, the damaging byproducts of normal metabolism. Diets high in antioxidants may even help prevent illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. Try adding honey to a healthy breakfast of fresh fruit and yogurt or replacing your usual coffee sweetener with your favorite flavor of the sticky treat.
Avoid spicy foods, oily foods, excessive amounts of dairy, or anything else that might upset your stomach. Trust us, delicious as it may be, your employer is not going to be thrilled by any byproduct of your Flamin’ Hot Breakfast Burrito.
5. Trim the Fat
Eating excessively fatty food has been shown to take a toll on short-term memory – a serious side effect if your goal is to succeed at a job interview. It is thought that consuming a high level of fat can trigger insulin resistance, which essentially makes it harder for the brain to use the sugar it needs to function properly. While fat is by no means bad for you in small amounts – especially the unsaturated fats found in foods like olive oil and tree nuts – stay away from largely fat-laden meals on interview day. Trade off buttery pancakes for a piece of whole grain toast with honey and banana or scrambled eggs for an egg white omelette.
We here at Doostang are trying our best to take our own advice. And by that we mean that snacking is always a relevant practice around here (is there still natural peanut butter in the kitchen, guys?) But really – try some of these and let us know how they fare! Who knows, there may be a Doostang Diet franchise in our future.
As always, best of luck on your job search, and keep on keepin’ on.
-The Doostang Team Foodies