Performing well in an interview is an essential part of any effort to land a new job. But for introverts, the thought of having to speak with someone they don’t know for an extended period of time and with a lot on the line professionally can be extremely nerve-wracking.
This anxiety can throw off your ability to communicate why you are the best person for the position and display positive body language, resulting in a missed job opportunity. However, there is hope for you introverts out there who fear your shyness will cause you to fall flat in an interview.
Different types of preparation and research can make a big difference, as can making sure you are in the right frame of mind. Here are some tips for introverts seeking to minimize their nerves and approach their next job interview with confidence:
What you do before your interview can make or break whether you will be successful once the conversation begins. Introverts tend to regain energy by having some time alone, so it is wise to schedule the day of your interview with that in mind.
Your work schedule may not permit you to have a ton of downtime prior to the interview, but even 30 minutes can result in helpful. Having a nice walk around the block, working at a quiet spot, or listening to music are some of the activities recommended by experts.
If you do have more flexibility when it comes to your schedule, ensuring important tasks are completed before the interview can ensure you don’t go into the session stressed out by responsibilities at your current job. Finding a quiet place where you can do a few minutes of breathing exercises or mindfulness techniques is another suggested approach to ensure you feel relaxed.
Prepare for Small Talk
Before a job interviewer begins asking questions about your professional qualifications, they will want to engage in discussions about other topics to get a sense of your personality. In order to make a good first impression, you will need to engage in what is often called “small talk eagerly.”
As an introvert, chit-chat may not be your favorite thing to do, but preparation ahead of time can help in this regard. You should enter the interview with a few non-work topics you could bring up, such as a big event that week or fun activities coming up in the region. Having good questions to ask your interviewer about outside of work matters is also beneficial. This could include inquiring about their favorite spots in the office’s neighborhood or their hobbies, especially if you see sport trophies, sports memorabilia or the like. Remember people love to talk about themselves and their families. So asking about their families, especially if you see photos of their children, is a good option. You should maintain upbeat body language throughout this type of conversation with the goal of building a solid rapport with the interviewer.
Prepare for Job-Related Questions
Eventually, the interview will shift from small talk to more serious matters related to the position you are seeking. One of the questions you will be asked in some variation is: Why should we hire you?
This is where research ahead of time about the company and its culture will come in very handy. Learning what are some of the key challenges ahead of the interview and also asking what they are during the interview will help you prepare to answer “why they should hire you.” If you can smoothly highlight what you like about the company’s culture and provide specifics, that will be very helpful. Focus on what you can do for them, not what the company can do for you. Offering ideas of how the company can improve and the ways you could implement your suggestions is another strategic way to answer that makes it clear you have done your homework.
Since many introverts take longer than extroverts to process and convey their thoughts, practicing your answers to questions you are likely to be asked should bear fruit in your interview. Finding a friend or family member to practice with and who can offer constructive feedback, can help you refine your answers before the big day.
Don’t Avoid the I-Word
Other questions likely to come up at a job interview will cover what you see as your strengths and weaknesses. In this context, don’t be afraid to mention you are an introvert and highlight the positive side of that part of your personality.
This could include sharing about how you are a careful listener who processes information deeply before weighing in on a sensitive work subject. You could also talk about how you have pushed past shyness in previous work situations to take an important stand when necessary.
Questions about how you would behave in certain hypothetical work situations are another frequent opportunity to divulge that you are introverted. Having thought through these types of inquiries ahead of time and preparing concrete examples to share should produce good results. You may even discover as you open up that your interviewer is introverted too, which can help strengthen your connection with them.
These recommendations are great starting points if you are an introvert wanting to progress in your career, but it is important to understand that dreading job interviews will not help make that happen.
With proper preparation and increased confidence as a result, you will be poised to thrive the next time you pursue your dream job opportunity. Be sure to visit our blog to learn more about what attributes companies are looking for in their new hires and for other tips on how to grow professionally.
By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano
President and CEO of Barbachano International (BIP), the Human Capital Solutions leader in Mexico, Latin America, and the USA, offering high-impact executive search, executive coaching, and outplacement.
At Barbachano International, we understand the importance of recruiting and the return on investment that top talent can deliver for you. With 27 years in the industry, we know firsthand how imperative it is for an organization to have the right people to achieve its business objectives. We help you avoid painful hiring mistakes and reduce turnover by identifying top performers for your team that result in long-term success.
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