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5 Tips to Ace An Interview for Introverts

5 Tips to Ace An Interview for Introverts
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If you’re an introvert, going into a job interview might seem like your worst nightmare. You have to go to an unfamiliar place and talk for an extended amount of time with someone that you’ve never met before. And to make things worse, all the focus is going to be on you. Awkward, to say the least.

While having a shy personality might appear to put you a severe disadvantage, you can overcome your nerves and shine in an interview. The trick is to know the right interview tips and techniques to make the situation seem less intimidating. Here are 5 interview tips for introverts to help them land the job they want and deserve.

1. Pretend you’re talking to an old friend.

While it might be difficult to make friends as an introvert, it becomes easier to talk to the people you know. Approach your interviewer with the same attitude. Begin the interview by talking about things that help you build a rapport with the interviewer before they start asking the tough questions.

Think of something―anything―to talk about besides the job. Your interviewer may be just as anxious about the prospect of making conversation with a complete stranger for 30 minutes. So, ease into the situation by asking them about their day or discussing an innocuous topic like something interesting about the neighborhood the office is in.

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Just remember to not take things too far―you wouldn’t want to offend anyone by acting overly familiar or unprofessional. You want them to come away delighted by your warmth and enthusiastic demeanor, not with the impression that they just had brunch with Noisy Nora and Gabby Gabe.

2. Google your interviewer.

Not knowing what or, in this case, who you’re facing can be nerve-wracking. Even though it may feel creepy, take the time to check out your interviewer online. Look beyond LinkedIn, and find out what their interests are on social media and if they overlap with any of yours.

Google them and see what news or information comes up. You might find out what types of community events they attend or what groups they are involved in. This gives you a fuller picture of who you’ll be talking to. And don’t be afraid to bring up any similarities you discover.

A good way to break the ice is to say something like “I hope you don’t mind, but I took a look at your online profiles while researching this role and saw that you’re into X. I wanted to bring it up because I never meet people who are also into X!” The interviewer understands pre-interview research does occur, and may appreciate your reference to it as a sign of your diligence and transparency.

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3. Pay attention to your body language.

Introverts tend to be uncomfortable when talking with new people, and this shows in their body language. Their nervousness causes them to fidget and their discomfort makes them slouch back in their chair. This is not the message you want to be sending, not to the interviewer or to yourself. Because whether you realize it or not, having bad posture or constantly looking down at your feet feeds your own fear or anxiety.

Take a moment to envision a confident professional nailing a job interview. Don’t think about what they might say or how they answer the questions. Instead, concentrate on how they sit, their facial expressions, and the way they move as they speak or listen. What movements or postures make them seem self-assured and capable?

Before your interview, practice this body language. Make a conscious effort to sit up straight and confident, both when you’re alone and with friends. Also, take the time to perfect your handshake. If you’re not sure how to position your hand or how long a handshake should last, look into the “web-to-web” technique, which makes a firm connection all the way from the thumb to the index finger of both parties. Many believe this is the most impactful way to introduce yourself.

4. Step into the interviewer’s shoes.

One of the biggest fears introverts have about interviews is appearing incompetent or saying the wrong thing. Alleviate this worry by practicing in front of a camera. Create a list of potential questions you might be asked, then record your answers. Place the camera, or your smartphone, where the interviewer would be sitting so you can record yourself from their perspective.

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When you rewatch the video, note which answers were the strongest or at which points you seemed the most comfortable. Then practice again. Try to incorporate more of the good aspects you saw in your first take. Each time you go through the common interview questions, you’ll create a solid foundation for your answers, and feel less nervous during the actual interview.

5. Remember your common bond: passion for the company.

Hopefully you’re applying for a job with this organization because you are interested in the work they do and what they stand for. And unless the interviewer hates their job, they have that in common with you. Whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed or nervous, focus on what it is that excites you about the company. That will resonate with the interviewer and help keep the conversation flowing.

Ask questions to show your curiosity about the organization, as well as get a better idea of what it’d be like to work there. As long as it feels organic, ask your questions when they come to mind. You don’t need to hold all your inquiries until the end. Trying to keep them in the back of your mind will be distracting. After all, the best interviews are less like Q&As and more like genuine conversations.

When you get the opportunity to interview for a great job, it’s natural to feel nervous. But with these interview tips, even the biggest of introverts will be able to come out of their shell and show what they have to offer.

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What are some other interview tips for introverts? Share in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: Irish Times via irishtimes.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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