With career aspirations and financial needs at stake, job interviews can be nerve-racking for most people. But if you’re an introvert it can seem like the odds are stacked against you when you’re potentially competing with candidates more comfortable in the spotlight.
Introverts are characteristically defined by good listening skills, a strong ability to focus and thoughtful, considered communication style. So in fact a job interview – particularly those that are 1 on 1 or a small group format - can actually play to an introvert’s strengths.
If you have an introvert personality type, here’s how you can not just survive - but thrive - in your next job interview…
Preparation is your secret weapon
Introverts often need time to internally process information before offering a response. Luckily for you, most of the hard work can be done in advance of the actual interview, reducing your stress levels and boosting your confidence for the task ahead. Be sure to
- Request the position description in advance so you familiarise yourself with the exact requirements of the role
- Research common difficult interview questions and prepare answers that can be adapted to a range of potential questions. Do several practice-runs with a friend or family member
- Draft a list of questions you can ask the interviewer and feel free to take this in with you
- Research as much as you can about the company and prepare a bank of small talk topics before the formal part of the interview begins
- Do a test-run to the company’s location before the day so you know exactly how much time you need to get there
Highlight your strengths
Given there are many valuable attributes introverts contribute to a professional environment; it’s ironic that introverts are typically the last people to brag about their strengths and achievements.
However, as most interviews are conducted one-on-one or with only a couple of people in the room, it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate your stellar listening skills and provide focused responses that highlight what you can bring to a new organisation.
If you’re struggling for inspiration, consider previous work or study situations where you solved problems, overcame challenges and went above and beyond what was expected of you. Also, having specific examples that show you can operate in scenarios typically favouring extroverts, such as collaborative group projects or presentations, will ensure you’ve covered all bases.
‘Charge your batteries’ before the interview
One of the major characteristics of the introvert personality is the need to recharge in solitude away from others, unlike extroverts who feel energised from socialising.
On the day of the interview, make sure you have very little planned pre- and post- interview. Instead, spend time relaxing and doing what you enjoy at home, as well as reading over your prepared interview material so it’s fresh in your mind.
This way, you can front up to the job interview with not just the best of intentions and solid preparation, but a fresh battery to see you last until that goodbye handshake with your (hopefully soon to be) new boss.
Looking for more tips for introverts? Whether you're starting out or moving up, you may like to check out our career boosting tips for introverts, our introvert's guide to networking, or 5 interesting careers for introverts.