Your resume is breath-taking, your cover letter is a work of art, and you’re the perfect fit for the position you’re applying for.
However, if you’re an introvert, there’s one terrifying hurdle standing between you and a gainful employment: the job interview of course.
You aren’t necessarily shy or socially anxious just because you’re an introvert (some introverts are, some aren’t), but it takes a lot of energy for you to meet new people, make small talk, and speak in front of groups.
Generally speaking, the typical job interview includes many activities and situations most introverts could live without. This might include handshakes, introductory greetings, being placed in the spotlight, getting hit with interview questions, analytically thinking while talking, and essentially tooting their own horn.
The interview, however, is an essential part for every candidate who is looking for a new job.
Interviews are full of all these things, as well as many others that make introverts uneasy, and the high-stakes nature of the situation –a job on the line –makes it all twice as stressful.
If you’re an introvert, you’re probably never going to enjoy interviews, whether for a job, internships, or scholarship; but you certainly won’t be able to avoid them either.
That’s why it’s important for you to learn how to prepare for interviews with your introvert strengths and tendencies in mind.
Here are some techniques and advice to help even the most reserved and self-effacing introvert shine during an interview.
1. Dress to impress
Before you say a single word to the interviewer, you’ve already made an impression based on how you’re dressed.
That being said, it’s important to remember that every company has a different dress code, and how you dress at the job may have very little to do with how you dress for the interview.
While it’s always recommended to dress nicely for an interview, it doesn’t mean you have to hide behind your style, so don’t be afraid to make it look appealing.
For those who wear prescription glasses, match your eyewear to your style. In other words, make sure your glasses and outfit match, and it’s easy for the interviewer to see your eyes. After all, your eyes are the first thing people see when they look at you.
2. Prepare yourself for typical questions
Do you need a lot of time to digest and formulate an answer during an interview?
For most introverts, being put on the spot and forced to answer questions on the fly can be extremely uncomfortable.
Although some interview questions might be a curveball, most are easy to anticipate. So be sure to review a complete list of common interview questions.
Stand in front of a mirror and practice your answers. At first, this might make you cringe, but this practice can help you improve your answer.
Before the interview, take some notes about key points you’d like to make and questions to ask so you don’t waste energy trying to remember them if you forget.
You might even consider putting together a career portfolio, a three-ring binder full of evidence of your key skills and other achievements. That way you have something to lean on.
3. Prepare for small talk
Small talk is light, informal conversation. That being said, it’s pretty normal for introverts to dislike small talk, which admittedly can feel rather pointless. However, even if you hate chatting with supervisors and/or other co-workers, remind yourself that this one time you can’t skip it.
When going into an interview, it helps to come up with a couple questions in advance that you can throw in as needed. As a matter of fact, this is also a great opportunity to ask questions that don’t feel so pointless.
For instance, rather than talking about the weather outside, ask specific questions related to the job.
Ask your interviewer, “What does a typical day on the job look like?” Or “What are some things new hires struggle with once they’re hired?”
Also, it’s a good idea to remind yourself of the ultimate purpose of this interview small talk: that is, of course, to build a relationship with your interviewer and make he or she like you.
Not such a waste of time anymore, right?
4. Try to sell your introvert qualities
Believe it or not, some of the qualities that introverts have are absolutely essential to having a successful career.
Introverts, for example, are typically detailed oriented, creative, thoughtful, and work well both independently and collaboratively. Given time to prepare, introverts can easily shine in meetings and presentations.
Before the interview, put together a list of your accomplishments.
Consider ways your introversion may have been helpful. Ask yourself, for instance, have you finished a project others abandoned after the launch? Solve a difficult problem after reflecting on it? Quietly mentor fellow co-workers?
If the answers “yes,” bring these instances up during your job interview.
Many introverts’ applications do a poor job during the post-interview stage. Fearing rejection and not enjoying the added attention and self-promotion, the majority of them just wait for the results without doing a follow-up call or thank you note to the employer.
To improve your results, simply ask the person conducting the interview when will you hear from them. Demonstrate that introvert personality isn’t a problem by calling, writing or emailing your interviewer the day after the estimated contact date; thanking them for the opportunity while pointing out another strength you possess that they need in an applicant.
Be positive and genuine in your follow-up, using that person’s name and sincerely thanking them for the interview opportunity, and the career consideration.
When the job interview is finally over, you’ll still be tired, but with all this preparation you’ll have a much better chance of getting the call that you’ve been hired.
Remember, as an introvert, you have many great abilities. Most introverts, for example, are great listeners and thinks logically about everything they’re involved in.
Understanding your powers as an introvert is vital to your success in the work industry.
Thanks for the read! Did I miss anything important? What are some other strategies introverts should know going into an interview?
Feel free to leave a comment below.