Guest writer: Gerald Downer
Job interviews are hard enough, but being an introvert probably makes itfeel about five times harder.
It can be an introvert’s worst nightmare. Having to sit there with the focus entirely on your trying to convince someone that you’d be valuable to them.
It’s pretty hard to come across as professional and confident if you are stammering and sweating from the word go.
Being an introvert doesn’t mean that you’re the wrong person for the job by any means, but unfortunately the interview is an essential part of the process.
And the thing is, being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean that you lack social awareness or self-confidence, but these are elements of it for a lot of people.
Here’s five introverts can do to help themselves nail that all-important interview:
This is the most important thing to do for any interview. It’s all well and good to be confident about your abilities but you shouldn’t take on anything serious without practicing first.
Practice talking more in the days leading up to the interview. You can do so with friends and family of course, but you don’t even need other people for this.
You can practice in front of the mirror. You can record yourself speaking and then watch it back to pick up on any mistakes.
The important thing here is to get used to speaking. You can plan all sorts of things in your head but you never know how they’re actually going to sound until you say them out loud.
So practice answers that you have prepared to potential questions, and practice general things that you’ve planned to say about your own qualifications.
Make sure that you know exactly what you want to say, how you want to say it and that you’ve practiced it over and over.
Of course, there’s sure to be some unexpected questions that you can’t prepare for, but if you’re prepared for most of the interview you’ll have the confidence to wing it on those questions.
You can do a lot of rehearsal beforehand that can make the process much easier, and if you’re introverted this would be a big plus for your confidence.
- Plan Your Route and Canvass the Area
Introversion tends to be on a bit of a scale. Some people are significantly more introverted than others and for some people it’s a small deal.
For those that are affected a lot, even just going out into the world is a huge deal. Spending the day out takes an awful lot of energy and can be a source of stress.
If you’re in an area that you’re familiar with and in a comfortable environment this is less likely to be a problem.
On the day of the interview, you want to be as stressed by as few things as possible. To minimize this, go to the area beforehand.
Map out the route so and give yourself plenty of time so that you’re not worrying about being late and give yourself a chance to be comfortable in the surrounding area.
Going to a completely new place can make you feel like a fish out of water and make you want to regress even further into your shell.
All the hard work practicing and preparing beforehand could be undone if you’re already feeling under pressure before you even walk in.
So wherever the interview is taking place, go there and just walk around for a bit. Get a sense of what’s there and what type of crowd hangs around.
It might not seem that significant, but you’d be surprised at how much more at ease you’ll feel in a familiar environment.
Know everything that you possibly can about the company that you’re interviewing for. You want to convince your interviewer that you’re interested in what they do.
Learn about the history of the company, learn about what they do and how they do it. Find every piece of information that you can and implant it in your brain.
One thing that’s universal to introverts, is that no matter how shy or reserved they are, they can talk about their passions for hours on end.
If you are passionate about something and have a huge amount of knowledge about it, you probably won’t have too much trouble talking about it.
So make the business you’re interviewing for one of your passions. Dedicate a couple of days to immersing yourself in it.
And not just the past and the present, learn about how the particular industry could be operating in the future.
Technologies are getting better and better every day and many industries are going to be completely different in the next few years.
If it’s something like the oil and gas industry for example, it would be good if you could talk a bit about how AI could potentially change the company.
Convince them you’re an expert. They’ll remember you if you do.
- Talk Your Introversion Up
Now I don’t necessarily mean that you should outright tell the interviewer that you’re an introvert, but don’t lie and act like you’re some kind go outgoing people-person.
You’re probably not even going to be looking for a job that requires that much people skills anyway, so that’s probably not going to be something the interviewer is looking for.
But talk about the positive elements of being an introvert. Make it clear to them how you’re introversion could benefit their company.
Introverts tend to be the creative type and they tend to be thorough and deep thinkers. Talk about this sort of thing when you’re inevitably asked what you’re going to offer as an employee.
Also, many employers will relish the thought of hiring an introvert because they tend to be easier to manage and more reliable.
So again, try not to actually say the word introvert, but make it obvious that you are one and why you believe that’s a good thing.
- Relax Between Interviews
Chances are if you’re looking for a job, you have more than one interview lined up. This is stressful for anyone, but for an introvert it can be catastrophic.
Live your life in between the sessions. Whatever it is you do to relax, whether it’s reading or playing video games or whatever, don’t stop doing it while you’re in the interview process.
Don’t let yourself slip into the mindset that your life has to revolve entirely around these half hour intervals that you’ll be partaking in.
Do all of the practice and all of the research, but halting your normal routine will actually be counterproductive.
You might get one or two good interviews out of it, but by the end your brain will be melted and you won’t be able to function normally.
So as much effort as you’re going to put into preparing for these interviews, always find time to relax.
Like I’ve said before, if you’re very nervous for the interview, it will come across to the person you’re talking too.
Even if you’re an introvert, you can make sure that this doesn’t happen. The interview will be nerve-wracking either way, but you can spare yourself a lot of stress.
Written by guest writer: Gerald Downer