There are two basic stages in landing a job. First, there’s getting an in-person interview. Then, there’s doing the in-person interview. It is an easy process for some job seekers but for introverts, it can be a nerve-wracking challenge.
Introverts tend not to let their best selves show with people they don’t know. Talking about their skills and personal lives is also out of their character. They can appear shy, weak, unskilled, or unenthusiastic when compared to their extroverted colleagues, even if their skillsets and ambitions are similar.
If you are an introvert, do not despair. There are ways for you to be confident during job interviews without forcing yourself completely out of your comfort zone. To help land your dream job, here are some tips to follow.
Research Before the Interview
"Research like mad," says Nancy Ancowitz in her book, Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead. This quote is very true for a job interview.
As an introvert, you will always feel awkward when trying to talk spontaneously with hiring managers. To compensate, research and learn more about the company you are applying to, the job they are offering, the skills you need for the job, the people you’re interviewing with, and even the questions most likely to be asked.
Research everything because you can draw confidence from how prepared you are. The feeling that you'll have a sensible answer to whatever questions a hiring manager will ask is empowering and can make you a more talkative and assertive interviewee. It will also impress the interviewer. Remember, the more information you know, the less anxious you’ll feel.
Related to getting prepared before the interview, you also have to practice. Ask your close friends, relatives, or a mentor/coach to perform interview drills with you. Jot down questions that might be asked and answer them like you are in the actual scenario. Interview drills let you figure out how to properly express yourself -- so when the employer asks you silly questions, you can answer with clarity and wit.
If you’re super on edge about an interview and want to make your drills even more constructive, record your answers. It's a bit of an effort, but this lets you peak into how you sound when telling a certain story or talking about your skills. Once you know you can deliver the right message, you’ll be less stressed about that element of an interview. As the saying goes, “if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”
Don't Be Pressured to Act Chummy
While being charming helps you stand out from other applicants, it shouldn't be your end goal. Do not be afraid to run the interview in your own pace.
However, be ready to answer small talk initiated by the interviewer. Pamela Braun, a well-known career counselor for introverts, said "most introverts will admit to an immediate dislike of chitchat. But as we all know, there is that initial period of the interview that involves small talk and getting-to-know-you conversation." This is how hiring managers get to know you on a more personal and fit-based level.
Don't be rattled if you cannot match the energy of the employer. You often won’t be able to. Instead, take things slow and skip attempts at wit or humour if they don’t come naturally. It’s better to come across as honest and confident than desperate and awkward, even if it means not making a pal out of your interviewer.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Hiring managers welcome questions because they get to know more about you and get to understand your eagerness to be part of the company.
Asking questions can also be your best tool in avoiding bad work environment. Plenty of workers start with a company only to resign a few months later because they don't like the office culture. Don't be that person and fire your questions away before it is too late.
Hone your Skills
More than the personality, it is the skills that put an applicant in a job position, whether she is an extrovert or introvert. So get out of take classes, internships, part-time jobs, and online lessons to hone your skills. You can also take up volunteer work to help boost your resume. During the interview, highlight skills over everything else -- it’ll make up for your lack of outgoing disposition, showcasing your potential to be an important asset for the company.
Introverts are the most underrated job seekers because of their subdued personality. But there are plenty of qualities that make them better hires than extroverts. Actually, in a TED talk by Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, she debunked the notion that extroverts are the most successful people in the world. She has the facts to prove that introverted leaders demonstrate impressive or superior results.
Remember, your personality does not define your worth as an employee. Design your job search for yourself and, similarly, find the job that’s right for you and your personality. The better the fit, the more likely you’ll be happy long-term.