It’s no secret that interviews are stressful. When you have a conversation focused entirely upon you and your achievements, paired with the need to impress someone you’re meeting for the first time, you’re bound to feel the pressure.
But interviews can be exponentially more stressful for those of us who are socially awkward. Maybe you’re shy, introverted, or a little quirky. Some of us struggle with everyday social skills, and a high-stress situation on top of that (like an interview) can create a new set of challenges to navigate.
Luckily, social skills can be learned through self-awareness and practice, in the same way you’d learn to cook or ride your bike. After a while, you’ll be able to converse naturally, without even thinking about it.
Here are some tips to help you through the most stressful part of the job hunt:
We already know that adequate preparation is the key to a successful interview. For those of us who struggle with social interactions, this is even more important.
Nonverbal language speaks volumes. Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it that reveals your personality. Interviewers are paying attention to how you carry yourself in addition to how you answer their questions. If you’ve got the time, record yourself in a mock interview with a friend – then watch it. It will probably be uncomfortable, but it will provide you with an objective viewpoint of how you might come across.
This can be a difficult skill to learn, but practice makes perfect. Take notice of social cues as you interact with your interviewers. Are you making too many jokes and creating awkward situations? Remember that while your body language reveals a lot about you, the same can be said about the interviewers. Learn to identify certain facial expressions and cues so that you can adjust your reactions accordingly.
Interviewing for a job that you really want is a big deal, since a successful interview has the power to drastically change your life! Don’t forget that the social aspect of an interview is a skill you can learn through practice and self-awareness. By putting in the work, even the most socially awkward candidate can nail the interview process.