Photo: sven_kindler via flickr
First impressions are everything, so if you’re shy by nature, you need to break out of your shell if you’re trying to impress someone. This is extremely crucial during a job interview and in fact, shy people need to “express a high level of self-confidence” even more so than extroverts, said Bill Rosenthal, CEO of Communispond, an organisation aimed at helping professionals communicate more effectively.
Rosenthal told us that people, in general, are “programmed to get information mostly through the eyes rather than the ears.” Therefore, “when your body language isn’t in sync with what you say, the interviewer will be influenced more by the body language.”
No matter how uncomfortable it is for you to warm up to people immediately, you need to overcome these feelings in order to give off the right message to your interviewer.
Here are some things Rosenthal told us shy candidates should keep in mind when interviewing for a job:
1. Check out the place ahead of time
“There’s an advantage to getting to the reception area early. You’ll get a sense of the company’s personality,” Rosenthal told us. “Sit comfortably and unwind there.”
With the extra time, you’ll also be able to relax and gather your thoughts before you meet the interviewer.
2. Imagine yourself succeeding
“Walk as if you belong there,” Rosenthal said. If you look like you belong at the company, it will make it easier for everyone else to imagine you working there.
“Picture yourself walking into the interviewer’s room standing tall, shoulders back, balanced, striding confidently with your hands swinging comfortably at your side, and smiling.”
3. Make eye contact
Appropriate eye contact is one way to build trust when you initially meet someone. Rosenthal said you should look someone straight in the eyes, but obviously, don’t stare at them.
“You’ll want to make eye contact all the way through the interview. Nervous job candidates instantly reveal their unease if they’re uncomfortable making eye contact,” he told us. “Interviewers may conclude that someone who has trouble meeting their eyes dislikes them, is fearful of responsibility, or won’t relate to co-workers and customers.”
4. Sit up straight
“If you’re offered a choice of seats, choose a hardback chair rather than a sofa where you’ll sink down and find it harder to project authority.”
This will make you more comfortable-looking in your body language as well.
Rosenthal said you should “sit comfortably erect with your feet planted on the floor and leaning slightly forward. Sit close enough so you can communicate easily but not so close that you’re invading the other person’s space.”
5. Don’t play with your hands too much
“Avoid touching your face, hair or jewelry, or fussing with your briefcase,” Rosenthal told us. “Keep any papers you want to show in your briefcase until it’s time to take them out.”
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