As an introvert, job interviews can seem like one of the most stressful things you have to face. Unlike social gatherings, which can be put off or avoided if you really don’t want to go to them, job interviews are a necessity for most people who want to establish careers.
While they can be nerve-racking for anyone, introverts in particular report struggling with showing their best side in job interviews, but there are some techniques you can put into practice to ensure the interviewer sees you at your best.
Not Compensating Too Much
While it can be impossible to tell how a job interviewer will react to your specific personality (some find gregariousness attractive, while others prefer a calmer approach), and this will depend largely on the role you’re going for, the best way to go is just to be yourself. Of course, you’re still presenting the best version of yourself, but over-compensating for your introversion by pretending to be super outgoing and confident can leave a negative impression. Some behaviors to be wary of are giving overly-long answers to questions and interrupting the interviewer by jumping in with constant comments. Your calmness is one of your assets, so do be sure you’re answering each question in a considered way. Taking a short time to think about each question is fine, and actually shows you’re not just saying the first thing that pops into your head.
Don’t Downplay Yourself
While looking inwardly can be a great asset that makes you a considered and analytical individual, introverts sometimes have a tendency to downplay their strengths and be overly critical. Everyone dreads the ‘what’s your biggest weakness?’ question, but the key is to be prepared with a balanced answer that’s honest but shows that you’re mindful of your capacities, and willing to address them. “I’m aware that I’m sometimes overly critical of my work, so have been working on taking a step back and being objective about my performance so I can be pro-active about identifying my strengths and weaknesses” is a good answer. “I’m not so good at talking to people and tend to say silly things when I’m stressed” is not such a good answer.
Practice Really Does Make Perfect
Being effective at job interviews, like public speaking or other actions which put you in the limelight, are skills like any other. The more you practice them, the more you’ll identify your weak points, building on them to gradually become more confident and effective at whatever questions interviewers might throw your way. Practicing with a friend before a job interview is a great way to feel more prepared. They don’t necessarily have to be an expert in the field you’re interviewing for, but as long as they know the job description and have some experience with interviews, they should be able to do little role plays with you to see where you’re doing well and not so well. It’s important that your friend is honest and provides constructive criticism on where you’re maybe letting your introversion get in the way of showing your best side, so that you can address those points and be more calm and polished in the real thing.
Job interviews may be great sources of stress for introverts, but by ensuring that you’re not over-compensating for your weaknesses, downplaying your strengths or walking in unprepared, you can begin to feel a lot more confident about them, and let nothing get in the way of landing that dream role.