Interview Tips for Introverts
These Interview Tips for Introverts Will Help You Land a Job
If you often feel stressed or nervous about interviews then check out these interview tips for introverts. You'll have job offers coming your way in no time.
Psychologist Carl Jung was the first person to describe the two personality types, introverts and extroverts, in 1921. The difference between them is based on how they regain their energy. He defined introverts, as people with a strong preference for situations and environments who prefer calmer and less stimulating environments, with quiet time alone to re-energise. Extroverts derive their energy from being with others in lively and stimulating situations.
Perception of introverts
We quite often define an introvert as someone who is quiet, reserved, and thoughtful. We tend to think of them as an individual who avoids social situations or engagement, as these events drain them. However, extroverts and introverts, rather than being two binary personality traits, are usually on a spectrum and combine the qualities of both.
Any situations requiring social skills can be challenging for introverts. Interviews can be particularly tough, all the more so because the outcome can mean success. Most interviewers have not had any form of unconscious bias training. They do not understand that most organisations favour the alpha outgoing personality – which usually means male. We place high value on people who can present themselves well, demonstrating charisma and confidence. In simple terms, we recognise speaking as a skill, but as a general rule, we place a lower value on listening skills.
However, being an introvert doesn’t mean to say that you can’t perform well in interviews and make an excellent first impression. Introverts make up about one-third of the population so organisations will be losing the opportunity to tap into a great talent resource if they exclude them. Famous female introverts include: Rosa Parks, Marissa Meyer, Meryl Streep and JK Rowling.
Here are 4 interview tips for introverts
1. Manage your physical symptoms
One of the biggest barriers for introverts is overcoming the physical symptoms of stress. Developing an awareness of your own particular weak spot is important. Knowledge is your weapon so you can do something about it. Introverts frequently complain of sweaty palms, flushed skin and racing pulses. Make sure you eat lightly before the interview and have had a good night’s sleep. A quick trip to the bathroom with an Amy Cuddy power pose, some deep breathing and a wipe in your pocket can help deal with that. Remember good posture, eye contact, a smile and friendly body language are all that matters. Create some calm head space and breathe steadily, play some calming mindfulness music while you wait if you need to.
2. Research and rehearse questions
Introverts quite frequently are not comfortable making small talk. During the course of any interview process, you will cross paths with a lot of people and will need to make pleasantries, even if it only for a few moments. While these short encounters may not seem important, they can be part of the assessment procedure. A top interview tip for everyone is to research and rehearse typical interview questions. This is even more important for introverts. One of the main reasons anyone feels nervous is the fear that we don’t have the skills to recover if we make a mistake. Make sure you are well prepared and have done your homework, even down to preparing some subjects for any chit-chat. Select something neutral like traffic, the office location or even the weather.
Introverts quite often need some reflection time before they respond to any question. This pause for thought can make them seem hesitant or unsure. There is nothing wrong with saying 'That’s an interesting question, let me think about that,' if an unexpected question is thrown into the mix. That will buy you 8-10 seconds to gather your thoughts. If you feel comfortable you can even say you are an introvert and like to think before you answer. Humour is always good
If you want to, you can practise with a friend or family member. You can even record your session on Skype or Zoom.
If you are feeling under confident, then check out the 3Plus interview coaching programme HERE.
3. Know your value
Understanding how your personality type adds value to a team is key. While all the extroverts are rushing around doing things, what major contributions do you make? Is it attention to detail with strategic analysis, is it design and creativity? Can you project outcomes that the faster thinkers have not considered? Are you focused and stay on task? Do you observe things other people don't notice? Present situations where your personality has produced successful outcomes, while being careful to relate those achievements to the job profile. Remember: you are not bragging, just giving the facts.
Feel unsure of your worth? Don't worry, we've got an article here that might just remind you of all the brilliant things you can do: The 5 habits of introverted leaders that extroverts could emulate.
4. Not an either/or situation
Be careful to emphasise that introversion is not an either/or state of being. Just because you need to recharge your batteries and boost your energy in a different way to an extrovert doesn’t mean that you can’t do the things they can. You just have a different approach.
As hiring managers are increasingly looking for diverse teams, recruiting different types of personalities is going to become increasingly important.
Don't let your personality type hold you back. If you struggle with interviews then let 3Plus help you with one of our session on Building Your Confidence.
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