For even the most confident of extroverts, an interview can be intimidating. If you’re an introvert for whom selling yourself does not come naturally, going on a job interview may feel downright terrifying.
The good news is that the workforce is not made up of only extroverts. Introverts hold their own in every industry out there. So even if you find social interaction mind-blankingly daunting, you have every opportunity to ace an interview with the right preparation.
Whilst you can’t prepare for absolutely everything, ensuring a good preparation can take away much of the stress so consider:
1. Prepare Your Day in Advance
Plan out the exact run of your day leading up to the interview as much as you can. Look up the best routes to the company, look at travel times and how you will get there. If you’re taking public transport, how long will the walk from the drop point be? If you’re driving, where’s the best parking and will the parking be available?
Also think about how you might allow yourself some time before and after the interview to firstly prepare and then decompress.
2. Be Prepared for the Icebreakers
Seemingly meaningless small talk may be the bane of your existence but in an interview situation, it is almost always the first thing you’ll encounter. Most interviewers like to start with small talk as they hope to help you feel more comfortable. Whether this works or not, think about a few generic conversations you can have that will help you settle in to the interview.
3. First Impressions Count
There is truth in the age-old adage of making a good first impression. If you can walk in with a smile and a confident handshake you will set the mood of the discussion. Mood and how comfortable the interviewer feels upon meeting you can go a long way towards creating a more relaxed discussion and memorable impression.
4. Last Impressions Count
Whilst the answers you give during the bulk of the interview are important, how you end the interview is more so. Once again, offering a smile, a firm handshake and a genuine “thank you for meeting with me” will help cement a favourable feel in the interviewer.
5. Prepare your Experience
That middle section of the interview is your chance to really prepare your answers. Whilst you can’t predict what specific questions they will ask, you can use the application job description to get a sense for what of your experience, they will be interested in. Prepare specific examples of your experience, projects, content and whatever else is relevant so that you don’t feel too much pressure to think on the spot on the day.
6. Research the Company
Introvert or extrovert – research the company! Getting to know as much as the public eye will allow you about a company will definitely endear you to your interviewer. They want to know that you’re genuinely interested in the firm – this means knowing why you’re interested in them.
7. Mirror your Interviewer
“Mirroring” is an age old sales technique that does exactly what it says. Take your cues from your interviewer – if they lean forward in interest, lean forward. If they show energy through their hand movements, gestures and body language then you do the same. The interview will feel as though you are connected and on the same level.
8. Don’t be Afraid to Admit you’re Introverted!
Hey guess what! There is absolutely nothing wrong with being introverted so don’t be scared to tell your interviewer. If they’re not an introvert themselves, they are no doubt surrounded by them in the workplace.
Being an introvert comes with its own highly sellable skills: being observant, picking up on things other people miss, being thoughtful, analytical, organised, autonomous and innovative / creative. These are all excellent traits for any role.