How to Overcome Your Shyness for an Interview

So you’re shy. Being outgoing is not exactly a talent the majority has been blessed with. That being said, coming into an interview and giving one word answers will not exactly make the impression that gets you the job. Here are a few ideas to help you get over the intimidating first meeting.

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              1. Don’t Focus too Much On Your Nerves

You have a purpose there, to get the job. You absolutely cannot be thinking about how hard this might be for you or how you’re not going to get the job anyway. There is no room for negative thinking once you’re in. They already chose you based on your resume, all you have to do is put the cherry on top. This is your chance to not be neurotic and stuck in your own head. Learn as much as you can about your potential employer by listening. You hear that? You don’t have to talk so much anyway. If the interviewer stops talking, ask another question and listen away. People who are outgoing enjoy talking and they will gladly fill in the silence you were so nervous about.

               2. Fake it ‘till You Make It

OK that might be a cliché but that does not mean it won’t help you. Let’s face it. You know no one can do the job as well as you. The interviewer has yet to find out this useful piece of information that will determine the status of your employment. Now, there are two things you need to focus getting out there. One is emphasizing your qualifications. The latter is showing that you are listening. If you are really getting into it, again, you should even ask the interviewer a few questions. To do so without stumbling, try using short sentences. Most importantly, try practicing. It would be best to do so with a friend that you have known and have no problem being open with. If none are available at the moment, try using a mirror. Or post a picture of someone you like on the wall and pretend to talk to them. Prepare your answers so they are straightforward.  Basically, if someone asks: “Why do you feel you’d be a good fit in our company?” You can answer: “My previous work in such and such was very similar to the work you are doing here.” But don’t stop there, make sure to give an example. Such as “The work Magnet Corp has done with magnets is very similar to the research I have done on them. Now I would like to apply my research. Two magnets with positive charges with move away from each other. Perhaps I could prove otherwise.” Obviously that’s an example, but the point is, focus on the knowledge you are confident with and the rest will just fall in.

And Make sure to take the picture you were talking to off the wall when you’re done. A lot of questions will arise to those who didn’t have previous knowledge about your exercise.

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             3. Make sure your handshake is firm and you smile

When you come in and leave, perfect these basics. They will be the impressions that last without you being too aware of it. A firm handshake will offer muscle memory and muscle memory makes the brain remember you. A firm handshake lets someone know you mean business. If you smile, your interviewer will know you are pleasant and happy to be where you are. Combine the two and voilà! No one even knew you were shy.

Remember, sometimes being outgoing means that you say the wrong thing because it’s the first thing that came to mind. Just look at it from the angle that you have the time to calculate every thought before you say it. You’re taking a pause to find the courage to speak and you also have the time to really think through an answer.

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Telling All the Right Reasons

Have you ever found yourself so frustrated over your current job that the first thing out of your mouth at an interview is about how unfair you were treated compared to another employee or something similar? You might want to consider the fact that you will not be receiving a call back or an interview. No one is assuming that you did not have an awful experience, it just is not exactly the first thing a prospective employer likes to hear. The small irritability that you held onto for such a long time grew over the two years you had to experience it on a daily basis. As such, there is probably something you will not like about your prospective job and your prospective boss does not want to hear that it might already bother you, during barely your first encounter.

Here are reasons you should be avoiding and others you should definitely consider using:

As you can tell, most of the green lit jobs are related to issues outside of your control. It’s highly likely that the red lit explanations will also happen without your expecting them to. The main difference is how you handled yourself in an unfortunate situation. If you want to be honest, it’s always a good idea to explain what you learned from the experience, mistakes you plan on never repeating again and how in this new company you will work your hardest to avoid them.

Everyone knows that you can be fired, be stuck somewhere underpaid or with some terrible coworkers. Just like you wouldn’t introduce yourself to a possible friend by telling them how terrible one of your last friends treated you, no one planning to build a lasting business relationship with you wants to be left with a bitter taste upon first meeting. As always, smile, be positive and explain how you plan on your past negatives to creative positives and you will undoubtedly ever again be in a red light situation.

Please, Please Just Email Me Back

There’s a pet peeve that office people quickly pick up and share across the border—people not answering emails. Like any other other relationship, the one between you and your recruiter or you and your financial advisor, etc relies on communication. We are all responsible for keeping it up. All that I ask is that you send an email. I can even disregard the fact that I don’t get responses to emails that say “please email me when you receive this.” I am talking about the people that do not show up and call or even send me a “hey I can’t make it” in the line of her email. You might not like the person you are communicating with, but just like it’s rude to ignore someone standing right next to you, calling out your name, it’s certainly rude to ignore their little envelope on your screen. Being rude really never gets you anywhere and might also gets a little note on your contact that says: “did not call.”

What to do and Why

           If you can’t be somewhere because you did not think you were a fit

Email saying: “I do not feel like this opportunity is a good fit for me. Please feel free to contact me/I will contact you in the future if need be.”

I understand I did not exactly resonate with you and that is OK, but let me know. If nothing else, I might reevaluate my approach. I am not going to harass you if you tell me that you would like to contact me next time you need my help. I do not like bothering people because that is not a good business practice. Plus, if you do not want to talk to me now, I know there’s a good chance you won’t change your mind in a week. I will give you space, promise.

          If you did not like the opportunity I had for you

Email me letting me know what you would prefer: “ I understand that you currently offer XYZ, and I do not feel like that would be the best fit for me, please feel free to contact me if ABC ever comes across your desk or if you know someone who can help.”

It’s a small world. Networking is key everywhere. With today’s unemployment rates and general financial gaps, chances are you will be running into the same people. You do not know if your next potential job has already employed someone who has heard your name and knows they do not want to deal with you. The label No Show, stays with you for a long time. Think about your encounters with people. Unfortunately, the bad ones stick sore in your memory longer than the good ones. If you do not give someone the tiny piece of respect that is communication, it won’t be quickly forgotten and your networking will definitely be hindered.

          Really, just send an email

Email is a really easy way to communicate. If you find that you get jittery making a call or  you have a tough time saying No, email gives you the perfect opportunity to do so without putting too much of your ego/confidence on the line. The bottom line is: if you ignore me, I will definitely ignore you. We leave in a world full of people. No one is 100% self sufficient. One simple act of kindness goes a long way. Letting someone who is working for you or with you on something know you are indisposed shows them his/her effort is still appreciated even though it’s not the right fit right now.

Socially Unemployable

We all know them. They fill up our social feeds with the awesome time they had last night, talk about how great it is to not get up until noon at earliest. They post pictures of their Xbox GamrTags and those funny things most of us can only refer to as Mee-Mees. In the end, they ask why they’re not employed, and they ask it across all of the social media sites they are on. In general, these friends/follows/instagramers/gamers we know, fall roughly into the same categories and are unemployed for these exact social media reasons. As following:

1. The Juicer/Socialite

How could he possibly be sending out his resume if he needs to get pumped to go out later? Which means right now he needs to go to the gym and he wants to make sure you know about it. On his way over to the gym, he will post a facebook status. Then, he will ask for a retweet from everyone who is also currently driving and tweeting on their way to a gym. Once in the gym, he will post a picture of his protein shake on instagram. Just so you don’t forget that he’s been working out this past week (and how could you, ever), he will also post several pictures that he took of himself looking into a mirror.

Why Unemployed: Because he liked his prospective employer’s company page, which the head of HR checks regularly to see the profiles of those who have sent in their resumes. Upon further clicking, the HR coordinator found a bunch of half-naked pictures of Juicehead (how else are people going to see his killer abs?). And with interests including, pumping iron and kicking a$# who could resist hiring Juicehead? Everyone, that’s who.

Recommendations: All Juicehead has to do, besides make his profile private, is diversify. Include other interests, Like pages that relate to the job skills you claim to have on his resume. The best advice I can offer? Remove the pictures of yourself in the mirror with the flash reflecting back into the camera. Not only is that very “Myspace” and five years ago, it is also very tacky. More importantly, it won’t get anyone the kind of attention they deserve: girls will only be interested in the picture, not the man and companies could care less about the picture, so they won’t be interested at all.

2. The Cat/Dog/Cartoon or Video Game character

While Mr. Whiskers does make for the most adorable model laying there on your windowsill, Whiskers in not looking for a job. Neither is Spots and, frankly, Mario already has one—he’s in the business of princess rescuing. While I completely understand the need to keep yourself protected online and camera shyness makes the best of us, try to avoid it if you are looking for a job currently.

Why Unemployed: Because while an employer does get a glimpse of your personality (it seems like you might be a dog person) the information you’re willing to put out is not valuable to any employer. In addition, it makes it seem like you are trying to hide something. I’m not saying good employers should make assumptions about your work ethic based on your being attractive/unattractive—they should never. However, who are you more likely to want to speak to? Someone smiling back in their profile picture, just being their best self, or Mario, the pleasantly plump plumber with an aversion to turtles? Why stick around someone introverted and dig around to find anything viable, if you can just move onto the extrovert on the next page, who looks like they want to talk to you?

Recommendations: Go to your settings and re-check what you’ve made public knowledge. Better yet, have a good friend take a picture that you would be happy with. Put it up for the time being across your social media, until you get employed. Then you can once again retreat to your comfort zone of relative anonymity. There’s another piece of advice here in store for you: Fake confidence—this little tid bit brings you a long way, fake it enough and you’ll soon realize the world of communication that you’ve been missing out on. Good news is, you are still doing better impression-wise than the next person.

3. The Absentee

You might think it keeps you incognito, and you’re keeping yourself safe. Other companies think that you have something to hide. Considering there is a 90 percent chance that your friends are socially active and have had you in their pictures, you are already online. Now, it’s just a matter of you accepting the 21st century and coming in or being scared and avoiding it like the plague.

Why Unemployed: This situation is similar to cat person’s above.  But why not have a facebook page that is set to be entirely private, except for a picture? You take pride in the fact that you did not succumb to the temptations of the internet, but what about those who tell you they are not even on facebook? Do you rejoice in finding a kindred spirit or do you worry that they have alternate reasons for keeping offline?

Recommendation: At least create a LinkedIn account until you get employed. This way you stay professional, but there’s a name to a face and your achievements are exactly how you want them to look—not crowded by pictures of you with a pint. It’s like back in the day, when having your name and picture in the paper meant you’ve made it. If you’re not in any paper and completely off the board, it writes you off the competition. Come on, this way you will have something other than reddit to get your news off of.

Finally, all of us have archetypal tendencies, so just make sure yours does’t make you look bad.

Keep Your Friendship and Get a Job

There are really only two options in employment (employed or unemployed). With the unemployment rate around a steady 8.3% chances are most of your friends if not yourself are unemployed, especially if you’re millennials. A group of friends gets rapidly more boring as everyone’s money dwindles and people move back into their childhood bedrooms and basements.

It’s natural to want everyone to get some kind of work before you all become potato chips (about one stage and a half after a couch potato). If you’re working, you will want to push your unemployed friends further to get jobs so you that everyone can return to enjoying happy hour at your local watering hole. If you’re not employed and looking with your friends, your frustrations might eventually be taken out on your friends. Additionally, your friends might be as motivated, more motivated or completely careless—all of which can be real deal breakers when you’re on the other side of the spectrum. Here’s some advice about how to handle it.

  1. A Man with a Full Belly Doesn’t Understand the Plight of the Starving

If you’re employed, it is likely your mentality will be “I got a job, so why can’t you?” After which you will begin to go on Criaglist in your free time and spam your friend’s email with all kinds of postings where he may/may not be remotely employable. This does not help your friend. If he/she is not right for the job, they will just receive another distressing rejection letter. It might be better to suggest opportunities. “Hey there’s a position at this company where I have connections, it’s not what you want, but it might be a good idea while you keep looking around,” sounds a lot better than mass emails that will make them feel like you do not trust that they’re making an effort. In addition, there’s a good chance other people are already wailing on them so you can easily sit back and take the supportive role.

  1. You Can Lead a Horse To Water…

So let’s say your friend is unemployed and he tells you “sure, I will look into that” about a position that’s open in your company. You promptly do not receive a resume from him, no phone call, zero effort. You send him a Criaglist listing for a position where you know the hiring manager and he thinks your friend would be perfect. Still, no response. You point out a new job board he can use that is specific to his experience (mediabistro.com for creatives for example) and he says tone of the classics:”I don’t know if that’s something I want,” or “I’m considering just waiting this economy out, no one is hiring in my field right now,” and finally, “I just don’t want to deal with that.” Finally, they can lie and tell you they applied when you know they didn’t. This is the perfect situation where it’s ok to tell yourself you’ve done enough and it’s time to step back. What it all comes down to is that your friend does not want to be employed and doesn’t want your help either. Take the hint, fire one last suggestion of staffing companies he can ask for help and let him do whatever he needs to do. Eventually, when you go to the bar without him or he sees the nice apartment you can now afford, he will come around.

  1. Eyes on The Prize

Here you are, going crazy, applying every day to at least 3 different positions. Taking the saying “searching for work is a full time job,” to a whole new level with your obsessiveness and determination. And your friend has the audacity to send you another position?! ….wait, this actually looks good, I am going to put a resume together for them.

Anyway, there’s your friend doing absolutely nothing and keeps complaining about it. Jobs are not just jumping into his arms by themselves. Well, here the same advice applies as above. Let them run their course and natural competitive instincts take their course. Once you put on a suit and get out there and they see it, they will catch up. Maybe he or she  will even let you proof read his resume.

Of course, the economy is horrid and finding a job includes so many various factors that might not even be within our control. Whether the whole group of your friends is unemployed or just you, there’s always something to do that’s cheaper than going to a bar. For one, utilize your parent’s basement and buy a six pack instead of going out. Better yet, take a hike or go the beach. Even better, go to a local bookstore and look through their job reference books to help you along the search. Attend networking events together, even if you’re employed. After all, friends should still be there for support so just have fun with the fact that unemployed or not, you have company. Stay in your own business but let a good opportunity pass you or your friend while you’re looking in the wrong direction either. Try not to make mom have to clean the basement too often, it wouldn’t kill you to do your own laundry during your stay either.

Which Company is Right for You?

If your potential employer sees that you do not fit in with an office’s culture, you are likely not going to be the most desirable candidate. Everyone wants to avoid rejection, but in some cases it might be good for you. After you come home from an interview and and before yo udespair, consider the kind of company you interviewed with and weigh their strengths against your needs. Of course, it’s never good to turn something down before trying it, but if you were turned away from a position, it might have been good for you. If a company is not listed below, chances are, it’s already part of the other categories.

  1. Small, Growing and Willing to train 

Think a start up IT company

This company will value one thing over anything else–loyalty. They are small and want to build up their business brick by brick, employing people they think will be the perfect fit so they can train them with specific skills. They are willing to put in the time to train you because they know the payoff is a great worker who knows exactly what’s expected of them while the company continues to expand. Here the right person should have enough job experience to know what they want from a company. Since they are putting in the time to train you, they expect you to appreciate and seek opportunities to grow internally to reciprocate. If you decide to jump ship from this company without getting at least five years of work in or reaching your career ceiling, you will not get positive references to help you move on. Once it becomes pretty obvious that you are not interested in the long haul, you will likely fall out of the office culture here.

2. Large, Growing but Does not Train

Think Google when they launched Google Instant

This company has bigger fish to fry than worry about helping you grow your skill set. They certainly will give you some basic idea of what they want and how it needs to be done. But they will not put in the time to explain the business or a new strategy to you. They want you to complement their current efforts so they could just focus on getting their expansion working. This company is great to have on your resume if you are a seasoned professional because it will illustrate your strengths with a new, unique experience. In addition, if it’s large enough you can probably recommend your friends and help more people get in. This is the perfect company to have as you step up from your first two year job. Your loyalty is important and will certainly be rewarded here if the growth is successful, but it’s just as good to get a fancy name on your resume.

3. Large Company, Downsizing

Think publishing companies

It sounds bizarre but when large companies downsize, they like to hire interns, temps, and part time people to do the work that the person they just fired used to do. A downsizing first gets rid of certain roles that do no require full time presence.  They need people to come in for a little bit to do the work that would otherwise be thrown at the already overworked current employees. The issue here is not that you would be doing a lot of work, it’s that you may or not be hired once your assignment or internship is over. However, like any other large company, it will more than likely be a great addition to your resume. Make sure you stay for long enough for the next person who sees your resume to know that you actually gained experience ( the duration of the assignment), otherwise, it will be pretty obvious that you just wanted to take advantage of a company name, and no one wants their business viewed that way.

4. Medium Company, Not Expanding

Think your local business with no more than three offices

Again, more likely to be a good fit for seasoned employees, but in medium sized, seasoned company, a newbie can find his or her place as well. This company values loyalty but also understand what a career is about. You are most likely replacing someone who moved on or retired. Since this company chose to keep a certain size instead of maxing out for profit, they know what they want from each employee and only need to hire new people when an old position becomes open. In some situations they will train, but more than likely, they want someone to pick up what the previous person put down. This is a good company to keep yourself steady and working, with potential for a raise and mobility because they will definitely hire from within first. The downside is that you might be in the same position for quite a while, waiting for something to open up or profits to rise in the company.

Medium Sized Companies Want a Team Player

 

The most important lesson here is: You won’t get a feel for any of this until you physically come in. A recruiter, or a friend, no one short of a future co-worker can give you an accurate expectation for the company when you apply. All you can do is come in with an open mind and a positive outlook.

The Worst Bullies: Yourself and Internet Strangers.

It’s an overused saying but there is seldom a thing that’s more important than staying positive in today’s world. With the internet growing every day, our altercations with people also become more common. Really, the only way a person nowadays can avoid communicating constantly is actually moving in under a rock. Naturally, when encountering more people daily, it’s more likely that more than a few of them will be duds—mean spirited people who communicate for the sake of saying something and don’t always consider the feelings of the person on the receiving end. Here is a list of places where you are very likely to encounter someone with an attitude, why they do so and what you can do to avoid stressing out over it.

Location: Any Type of Social Media.

Anyone who has posted something on any public site has encountered belligerent anonymous strangers. Your friends on Facebook might not always be the kindest, but having their name out certainly makes a person double check whether their comment might be offensive. LinkedIn is also fairly safe because business etiquette teaches us to say nothing if there is nothing nice to be said. Meanwhile, the likes of YouTube, Twitter, and, sadly sometimes Reddit, can be rather aggressive in their comments. Some people have learned how to handle these really well. However, most of us do not know what to do and take comments of such nature personally.

Saturday Night Live Displays Internet Bullies at their Finest

Solution to Social Media. Thankfully, because the internet is so vast, it’s really easy to avoid something and refocus your energy on something else. However. we all know that no matter how many times someone says “just ignore it,” the problem really is that you cannot. You should deal with it, just not the same way the bully would. On facebook you can defriend someone or block them. On the other sites, do not be afraid to report someone as spam. Use that button, and freely. Just like pesky fake accounts that ask you to buy something in return for a ‘follow,’ people who are rude and pugnacious deserve to know that they are spamming you with their negative, unconstructive criticism. Try to focus on positive things that people are saying. In your next video or tweet thank someone for how pleasant they were. Not only will this model the idea that being nice gets you recognized, it will also make an indirect jab by ignoring negative comments. There are few things people will want to continue to do without recognition. If the comments get out of hand and you have used all of your resources, don’t be afraid to just retreat. Either discontinue your discourse about the topic, delete your post, or just hide people’s ability to comment on your posts. It might seem drastic, but if you’re truly not learning anything from everyone’s input (how to better your post next time, spelling error you might need to fix) then it’s not worth your time. Finally, refocus your attention to more positive social networks and blogs that more closely relate to your interests- hellogiggles.com might be one for example, Pinterest.com might be another. Getty Images has an entire website dedicated to inspiring people.

Location: Job Seeking When You Feel Like You’ve Drained All Of Your Resources.

We have all been there at one point. There are a thousand aunts that suddenly show up to edit your resume because they know best. There are two thousand companies where you are “just not a good fit.” Three thousand books that will make it seem you’ve been doing the wrong thing this whole time.

Solution to Job Seeking Woes. Keep persevering. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of a job search was 21 weeks as of January, 2012. That means that you could be lucky and fall below that number or need some help as you exceed the time frame. Another statistic claims that people give up looking after five months–and that’s the one which needs to be addressed foremost. This is no normal Bully situation you’re dealing with. In this case, often the bully is you and/or someone close by. It’s very rare that parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents understand of your situation. They want you to succeed but preferably without you having to borrow money from them or ‘crash’ at their place. Hence, their patience will be rather short and their advice rather one-sided. It might be a good idea to distance yourself from those relatives that are forcing their advice upon you, especially if they are not coming with professional knowledge. That being said, it will be more upsetting if you are left wondering what would have happened if you did take that chance and follow someone’s advice.  As long as you can honestly tell yourself that you tried, and/or their advice did not work, you gave it your best shot.

Keep positive by re-reading your resume. After all, that resume is supposed to be your best foot forward before the employer has seen your face. Re-read it and edit it until it makes you smile because that’s the reaction an employer should have when they see your perfect qualifications. When it comes to work, your earning potential and your feelings, it’s tough to keep telling yourself you are doing a great job. You become your own bully.The recommendation here is to seek professional advice. You might not want temporary work, but a good staffing agency will tweak your resume and give you some pointers before you go on an interview. Going on a temporary assignment is not always the worst idea if you have been out of work for a while, especially considering some companies will keep you on after their contract with the staffing agency is through.

Most importantly, don’t forget to always keep your chin above the water, because if you’re nice, the world needs more people like you.