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5 Tips to Ace An Interview for Introverts

5 Tips to Ace An Interview for Introverts

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 January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

Reference

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