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Helpful Tips to Help Introverts Stand Out at Job Interviews

With the right preparation and mindset, you can nail the interview as your whole self.

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Courtesy of fizkes / Shutterstock
Courtesy of fizkes / Shutterstock

Even the most confident person gets nervous for an interview. When you walk into reception, you’re heart is racing. You’ve worked hard to prepare for this interview. You want the job. And suddenly you feel sick to your stomach. Anxiety and fear. What if you don’t get it. How about we start right now and start thinking about WHAT IF YOU DO? Let’s start this thinking about in the most positive way. If you’re prepared at 100% I know that I can help you get through the TOUGHEST interview with the TOUGHEST person. It’s time to #gogogo #youvegotthis

1. NIGHT BEFORE THE INTERVIEW: PREPARATION BUILDS YOUR CONFIDENCE! Print out everything. The job description. Bring 5 hard copies of your resume. Think I’m going old school? HELL TO THE YES I AM. They should have your resume? Don’t be silly. MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM. You can simply hand it to them when they say do you have a copy of your resume! YOU ARE PREPARED!!!!! The address of the physical office (cross streets so important in cities!) Look this up in Google Maps. The main number of the business. The person(s) name you’re interviewing with and their direct dial and any other information you have – their floor, their email etc.

Have this in a folder that is readily available to hand to the security guard. Have your Driver’s License or a photo ID ready because most companies will require that for admission. Let’s try to just smile at the security guard or the receptionist signing in – just focus on their eyes and smile and say thank you. They KNOW you’re interviewing + nervous. You’re going to be great tomorrow morning. Tell them you’re a little nervous. They will give you a BOOST of confidence. They are nice people hopefully protecting and helping the recruiting process. If they are stressed don’t let it get to you. You will have planned to get to that interview at last 30-45 minutes early. Scope out where you can grab a cup of tea next to the office or sit in your car if outside the city. Just give yourself time bc you don’t want to be late. And you don’t want to be too early. All this will help take away anything you’re worried about but being shy.

NIGHT BEFORE THE INTERVIEW: PREPARATION + REVIEW AND WRITE IT ALL DOWN: Do a run through of the job descriptions. Walk through your resume. Think about your accomplishments. BRING A NOTEBOOK. A small one. Write down these accomplishments. You can bring a notebook to an interview. This will give anyone who is shy the opportunity to look down for a REASON. YOU will tell them you prepared a lot for the meeting. Just let them know in the beginning. This will help you get away from FORCED EYE CONTACT. It’s a relief!

CHECK THE WEATHER + TRAFFIC the night before and morning of! Nothing get set a person off by walking out to an interview it’s raining and you have no umbrella. Again preparation will alleviate the nervousness so you can focus on the big stuff that you find overwhelming. The eye contact and non-verbal skills that will help you get past the 1st step.

Have your outfit ready the night before. NO last minute freaking out about something that isn’t pressed, or shoes that aren’t polished. Gals – get a manicure. Go clear but have your hands look nice. Men too. Take note of this when you are interviewing they are checking you head to toe. If you find out the day before you are interviewing – you can be prepared. Have your interview outfit READY to go in your closet. Get this set when you start sending out your resume. That’s right that SAME day! No perfume. Less is more. Dress up. No jeans. You are interviewing for a job not going to dinner with a friend. When you feel good you can be feel more confident. With all of this out of the way – we will address how to bang this out as an introvert or a shy person. Having these out of the way will give you nothing to worry about OK? OK!!!!!

The BIG DAY. I want you to focus on some breathing. Remember when you breathe you have to only really focus on just that. Breathe. You’ve got this. I’m rooting for you here in NYC. So you’re prepared. You are set. You have everything you need to get rolling and NAIL this.

MAKE SURE THAT PHONE IS OFF. That can send the most nervous person over the edge. Pretend you’re in the opera. SHUT IT OFF AS soon as you leave security. Then you’ll know it’s off.

Step One: Meeting Reception. This person is IMPORTANT. You might have to sign in again so have your folder ready with your interviewer’s information. You can look up once at them. Focus on their nose. Say GOOD MORNING! GOOD AFTERNOON! I have sat in a kajillion ofices waiting to meet with a hiring manager or HR. I have watched people come in for interviews. They dismiss the receptionist. It’s exhausting. This is your first way to start breathing. They are usually nice. They might be stressed. When you’re shy you might take this to heart. Don’t! If you can please ask them how their day is going. Just ONE question! And say thank you. If you have to sign in again, don’t say I already signed in with security. It’s for safety. Just remember to keep breathing. Do not get nervous. You’re almost there.

When either HR or a hiring manager (or maybe someone helping them to assist you to their office) comes to great you, have your coat organized or your bag so it’s easy to pick up. If you have a folder in one hand just have one hand ready to shake their hand. LOOK UP AT THEIR NOSE. Everyone knows people are nervous when they’re interviewing. They were there and it could have been 2 weeks ago! So smile. Thank them. Ask them how is their day going? It’s that awkward walk back to the person who you will be introduced to again.

Remember you are prepared. You are ready to rock this. You are not scared of this situation. You just need to be ready for anything they throw at you. They are a person. Remember when Mike Brady (hello you Brady Bunch fans!) gave JAN her great advice? Picture them in their underwear. Just a little levity. We need levity don’t we? Hello? It will help you. Remember me giving you advice with that sitcom with the fab midcentury modern deliciousness of that Kitchen (forget Greg’s sexist comment it was the 70’s) and focus on them in their underwear!

11. Let’s play another game. When you are worried or stressed or nervous because they are judging you YOU STILL HAVE TO MAKE EYE CONTACT. Did you know that most people have one eye that is bigger than the other? Why not make that a part of your thoughts? Come away from that interview knowing what color their eyes are and if they have a left or right eye that is bigger. You can do this in two tries to look up.

12. HANDSHAKES: this makes shy people nervous. You can DO IT! Just have a nice firm grip. Focus on the handshake and if you can stare at their nose and say THANK YOU or NICE to meet you in the beginning. Mean it.

13. POSTURE: Stand up tall in your seat. Don’t Slump. THIS IS BODY Language that is so important. I’ve attached Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk to you to watch about Body Language and POWER POSTURE. I don’t want anyone to steal your confidence, thunder or posture, OK? Check out this video the night before. When you have your note book with questions – have it on the top page that just says AC (not Andy Cohen or Anderson Cooper!) AMY CUDDY – here it is:

14. When answering questions, that’s what an interview is – feel good. Take moments to breathe in between. Don’t KNEEJERK it. If they ask you a question don’t take too long of a pause but you can repeat the question AKA MY HERO OPRAH. She always asks the question back. You can reinforce your answers, while repeating the question. Then add in your response.

QUESTION: So tell me why are you looking for a job?

ANSWER: Great question. I wouldn’t say I am looking. I am interested in working for this company because of XZY. This opportunity helps you frame it. You’re not nervous anymore, you’re just giving them the answer they are looking for that you can make eye contact, that you’re prepared and you know how to answer a question about a job you’re doing. YOU ARE DOING GREAT AT THIS POINT.

QUESTION: What happened at your last role (nervousness kicks in right?)

ANSWER: DO NOT GET NERVOUS! Just ask for more information. The answer is always nothing happened at my role. Things are solid. Do not talk about anything but how great this company is and how they stand head and shoulders above their competition OK? Breathe. YOU DID IT.

15. MONEY MONEY MONEY MOOOOOONNNNEEEY!

When they are asking you about money – everyone’s self worth goes out the door. Their goal? Not increase your salary. EVER. You need to be solid. You can be quiet and shy but you need to OWN THIS PART. Those who work with me know my tricks and they work. OWN IT. Be confident. Remember if you’re making 80 they will try to get you at 80. Stand your ground. Be confident. Don’t get nervous.

When you are wrapping up and they ask you if you have questions, break out that little moleskin notebook and ask the questions you have for them about the role. Ask them about the organization, the structure. The top things they love about working there. If you see a pic on their wall of them fishing ask them about it. Use those props.

Originally published on LinkedIn.com

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