Looking for a new job can be a hassle. First, you’ve got to find the time to apply for jobs and later there’s the stress of interviewing. For even the most confident of extroverts, an interview can be quite intimidating. However, if you’re an introvert for whom selling yourself doesn’t 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 almost every industry out there meaning that even if you find social interaction daunting, you have every opportunity to ace an interview with the right preparation.
One of the most intimidating factors of an interview for an introvert is the potential for the unknown. Whilst you can’t prepare for absolutely everything, ensuring a good preparation can take away much of the stress so consider:
- Prepare your day in advance. Plan out the exact run of your day leading up to the interview as much as you can. If you’re meeting in person, look up the best routes to the company, look at travel times and how you will get there. If you’re interviewing over phone or video call, ensure that your tech is fully charged and that you have a picked a quiet location in which to talk without interruption. Also think about how you might allow yourself some time before and after the interview to firstly prepare and then decompress.
- 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 into the interview.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 on the day.
- 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.
- 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.