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Job interviews are especially stressful for shy people. However, if you are shy, you need not despair. There are many techniques you can use to prepare for interviews, increase your confidence and get the job you deserve.
It helps to keep in mind that a job interview is not a personal or social encounter. It’s a business meeting in which you are presenting your accomplishments and your skills. Interviewees are, in effect, playing a role just like an actor does. Actors appear spontaneous when they perform their roles only because they have practiced and practiced extensively.
Most actors will tell you that they are always nervous when they go on stage. It’s natural for actors and job seekers to feel nervous. Don’t worry about it. It’s how calm you look, not how calm you feel, that matters. Focus on preparing for your interview by using these tips, and you will come across as confident and self-assured no matter how many butterflies you have fluttering in your stomach.
Before the Day of the Interview
- Do plenty of research: Search the internet to learn as much as you can about the company, its key personnel, and the person you will be meeting with.
- Figure out your route: Plan exactly how you are going to get to your interview and how long it might take, including traffic. Allow time for traffic jams and unexpected delays. Check for alerts of delays due to construction.
- Dress for success: Don’t wait until the day of the interview to decide what to wear. Pick out you clothes three or four days in advance. If you haven’t worn something recently, try it on to make sure it still fits. Check for stains and tears.
- Practice your small talk: If you are not good at improvising casual conversation, prepare some lines you can use in advance and practice them with friends or relatives. Practice maintaining direct eye contact.
- Confirm: Call the day before the interview to confirm your appointment including the time, location and the person you are supposed to meet with.
- Bring some props: Create a portfolio and bring it in a three ring binder, even if you are not a graphic artist or designer. For example, if you are a retail buyer, show photographs or ads of your most successful product. Visual props are a natural aid to conversation.
- Bring your resume: Bring two copies of your resume, one for you and one for the interviewer. Don’t count on the interviewer to have a resume you sent in advance.
- Think of good questions: Based on your research, ask questions that show you are informed and interested.
Day of the Interview
- Make a list: Make a list of everything you need to do on the day of the interview so you won’t worry about having forgotten something.
- Leave early: You never know when you’re going to hit heavy traffic or other delays. Leave yourself plenty of time so you don’t get stressed out.
- Arrive early: It’s perfectly OK to arrive 15 or 20 minutes early.
- While you’re waiting: Once you arrive, give yourself time to relax. Don’t work on your laptop. It’s OK to read your email on your phone, but don’t type, or make calls. Turn off your phone’s ringer until after the interview. And don’t make phone calls.
During the Interview
- Eye contact: Remember to make direct eye contact just like you did when you practiced your small talk.
- Posture: Maintain good posture and occasionally lean slightly forward to show that you are engaged in the conversation.
- Smile: It may feel artificial to smile when you’re nervous, but a “phony” smile is better than no smile at all. It will make your interviewer feel more comfortable which will, in turn, make you feel less nervous and shy. Let your lands rest on your lap. This will help you feel calm and look confident.
With a little preparation, no matter how nervous you may feel, you can project competence and competence and ace your interview.