The Reena job coach from Channels’ Community participation program has arranged a job interview for a data analyst position with a large company. It’s next week. I’ve been practicing and preparing with her as much as possible. My problem is that I am shy and an introvert – this comes out when I am nervous, especially at a job interview. I have a hard time explaining my skills, experience and education in past interviews. I feel I am bragging. How do I overcome this fear?
Signed: Selling Myself
A job interview is a stressful experience for most of us! You definitely do not want to come off as a braggart or arrogant. That will never get you the job offer. Be rest assured that there are ways that you can prepare for the interview and learn how to communicate your strengths, skills and experiences in an appropriate and professional manner. There is plenty of online information and resources on this topic. I will refer to five out of the 15 effective tips to sell yourself at the job interview from Morgan’s (2022) blog: https://careersherpa.net/how-to-sell-yourself-in-an-interview/.
- Know your audience. Find out who the interviewers will be at your meeting. When you are booking the date, get those names and then start doing research on the people, the company and the position. Linkedin is a great place to do this. Knowing more about your audience can help you with small chat at the beginning (“I see we both like hockey”) as well as figure out how your qualifications and skills could be an asset to the role.
- Ask good questions. Always have a couple of good questions to be prepared to ask – especially at the end of the interview. Try to select ones that are unique. For example, how will my performance be evaluated? How will I know that I’m doing a good job after 3 months? Here’s a helpful list of suggested questions. https://hbr.org/2022/05/38-smart-questions-to-ask-in-a-job-interview.
- Practice talking about yourself. For some job seekers, it’s a struggle to talk about themselves as you have mentioned. Prepare and practice your responses with your coach and/or family member or friend. It’s important to be comfortable talking about your skills, experiences and accomplishments especially those that you are most proud of in your working life. Don’t forget to be clear, concise and to the point.
- Work on responses to Behavioural Interview questions. Interviewers love to ask behavioral questions. For example, they might ask you to “tell me about a time when you had to meet a deadline” or “tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with your boss”. You can use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action and a positive Result) to prepare your behavioural interview stories. And then again, practice, practice and practice.
- Be professional. Paying attention to your body language goes a long way with selling yourself at the interview. This could be the way you sit at the table and how you hold your hands. Confidence is so important as well. Eye contract, a solid handshake and a smile can definitely contribute to a successful interview. The way your dress for the interview makes a difference. You want to make a good impression. Clothing does this. Research the company beforehand and learn more about their dress code.
Good luck on your interview and don’t forget that practice as much as you can with your job coach and get some solid feedback to ace the interview.
To submit your questions for this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email Joanna Samuels, Reena’s Employment Resource Supervisor, at email@example.com. For previous “Dear Joanna” Employment Advice Columns, visit https://www.reena.org/category/employment-advice-column/