Interview tips for Introverts
Interviewing brings to mind phrases like “putting yourself out there,” “networking,” and “win them over.” Many of these phrases are like nails on a chalkboard to an introvert. The idea of walking into a room of strangers, talking about yourself and having to answer several questions that you can’t fully prepare for can make anyone nervous, but for an introvert, the task can seem impossible.
Here’s what we know about jobs: all kinds of skills are required, including strengths that typically come from introverts. There are many happily employed introverts out there, and most of them had to go through an interview process to get that position. The means that introverts can successfully interview just like any extrovert can. Introverts may, however, prepare for an interview differently than their extroverted counterparts. Here are some tips for the more reserved candidate to ace your interview.
Prepare. Introverts tend to feel some more intense jitters during both phone and face to face interviews. Don’t hesitate to ask the person coordinating the interview about who will be a part of the process and if you can get a description of the format. This will help prevent a “deer in headlights,” moment, as you will know what to expect when you walk into the room. It’s also helpful to practice your body language and facial expression so you can be sure you’re conveying the appropriate message. Practice your interview in front of a mirror, or even better, ask a friend who can give you feedback on your style and performance. Do as much research on the company and possible members of your hiring committee well before the interview. That way, introductions won’t be such a whirlwind.
Have your elevator pitch ready. Many introverts struggle with talking about themselves. Part of the interview process is allowing an interviewer to see who you are both personally and professionally. Usually, at the beginning of the interview, an interviewer will ask you to provide a brief introduction, especially if there are members of the hiring team that have not had a chance to speak with you. Prepare a 60 to 90-second pitch that includes information about your professional journey, some interesting (and appropriate) personal facts, and a brief explanation of what you’re interested in that particular position. You want your introduction to peak the curiosity of the interviewers.
Use your breaks wisely. If your interview is longer than 60 or 90 minutes, you will likely be given a break to collect yourself between meetings. Use these breaks wisely. As introverts, talking with people for long periods of time can leave you a bit drained. Use the break to have some water, get a snack, and take some deep breaths to re-center yourself before continuing. If you can, arrive at your interview at least 10 minutes early, so you have time to get calm and focused before beginning. Sometimes, saying a mantra like “I can do this, I’ve got this,” can help you quell nervousness between interview day activities