Interviewing is uncomfortable for anyone, but for introverts it can be downright nerve wracking and painful–not to mention exhausting.
Don’t even start about panel interviews, UGH!
Phone interviews are slightly better, but still…
However, there is no way around the fact that interviewing is a necessary part of career building and job seeking. So, for all the introverts out there, here are some tips on how to maximize on your amazing skills while keeping your cool and acing your next interview.
Interview Tips for Introverts
It is alright to mention that you are an introvert, you don’t need to try and hide it. That is also exhausting. Part of interviewing for a job is for both the candidate and the employer to figure out if you are a good fit for the company and the culture. If the work space is a big open room with shared tables and a highly centralized team environment, it may not be a good fit.
By playing to your strengths and weaknesses you can use your introvertness to your advantage.
For example, if you are asked about your communication style you can say, “Because I am an introvert my go-to communication is email or text and I am very efficient at quickly providing information in this way. However, I am aware that some people prefer in-person communication and I am interested in knowing how different people prefer to communicate.”
You may also want to convey that your quiet, thoughtful nature enables you to be a good listener and consider many sides to a problem or idea before offering your own thoughts and ideas.
The world (and companies) need both introverts and extroverts and the key is to demonstrate how your unique insights and personality will benefit the company and add to their overall success.
As you know, being around people can be exhausting. So can talking about yourself for an extended period of time. For this reason, it is important to schedule some quality “alone time” before and after your interview. If possible avoid an interview first thing in the morning. Later in the day will allow you time to prepare and not be rushed. It will also give you time to knock out your to-do list so you don’t have to dive right back in after your interview.
If you make time to decompress after the interview , such as take a walk, read a good book, nap, etc. you will feel a lot better. If you have to rush back to your current job or jump into another social situation you may not be able to recharge your batteries efficiently.
Extroverts may provide too much chit-chat and feel the need to fill all silences with his or her own voice. However, as an introvert it is important to be able to engage in some small talk. While this type of “meaningless” chatter seems pointless to an introvert, it is actually really valuable.
Small talk builds trust and familiarity with others. It breaks the ice and can lead to deeper and more meaningful conversations. But that doesn’t mean that YOUR small talk has to boring or pointless. This is another way for you to be creative and thoughtful in your approach and give more meaning to your chit chat. People like to be asked about themselves so inquiring about the interviewer is always a safe bet. It shows your interest in them as a person and takes the spotlight off of yourself for awhile.
Come up with some go-to small talk questions that you can refer to when you are faced with this portion of the conversation.
“Did you do anything fun this weekend?” or “Do you have anything fun planned for this weekend?”
“Have you read any good books lately?” or “Have you seen any good movies lately?”
“What is your favorite thing to do outdoors this time of year?”
“Do you have a favorite place to eat near the office?”
As you know, introverts are often mistaken for being rude, stand-offish, judgmental, uninterested, or even bored. You know that is not true of yourself and that really what you are is thoughtful, introspective, and considerate. However, our body language can betray us and send mixed messages. Be sure to sit fairly relaxed, don’t cross your arms over your body, and use a lot of eye contact.
A good for way to think about this is to match or mimic the interviewer’s tone and body language.
Related: Body Language in an Interview
You’ve Got This!
Just remember, that you do best in one-on-one situations or in small groups. An interview setting can be a great place for you to shine and give someone your amazing undivided attention while still showcasing your own qualifications.
Happy Career Hunting! We are here for you!
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