The Introvert’s Guide to Nailing a Job Interview

Interviewing for a job opening can be dreadful for an introvert. You get a wave of anxiety just thinking about it. Your palms get unusually sweaty and you feel so nervous you actually think about cancelling the whole thing.

When you don’t like to talk about yourself, job interviews can be stressful, it’s true. You’ll be forced to get out of your comfort zone, slap on a smile, and talk about your most impressive professional accomplishments with a total stranger. If you prepare accordingly though, the whole experience doesn’t have to be that painful. We have a few tips that should help you relax and nail the interview.

1. Rehearse

Rehearsing your interview is the best way to get ready for the big day. As an introvert, you probably tend to deliberate over what you’re going to say before you say it. This might get you worried because maybe you believe that the interviewer expects an answer right away and you feel like you’re wasting their time, which causes even more anxiety to build up. When you practice, you have more time to think about how to respond to common interview questions, so you’ll end up feeling more comfortable to answer quickly later on.

Start by studying questions that match the position. Then, ask a trusted friend or family member to play the recruiter’s role and help you practice your interviewing skills. A good idea would be to videotape the mock interview. You can then evaluate your behavior to determine if there’s any way in which you can improve.  Take notice of how much eye contact you made and if you exhibited any nervous habits. The more practice you have, the more prepared for the actual interview you’ll be.

2. Prepare

Besides rehearsing the interview, make it a point to find out as much as you can about the company you’re interviewing for. Doing your research will help you familiarize yourself with the company’s values and workflow, so you’ll be more prepared to handle the face-to-face meeting. You’ll be better equipped to answer traditional interview questions like “Why do you think you are a good fit for us?” and “Why do you want to work for us?”

Additionally, when you schedule the meeting, ask about how it will go. Are you expected to take any tests, or is it an informal get-to-know-you type of encounter? Do you need to bring in anything else besides your resume? These details will help you visualize the situation better, which will relieve some of your anxiety. If possible, ask about who will interview you as well so you can find out more about the person ahead of time.  This way, you’re likely to have an easier time conversing with them.

3. Dress Comfortably

Being interviewed is stressful enough by itself, so avoid picking an outfit that makes you feel uncomfortable in any way. If the interview seems casual, opt for business-casual attire – a collared shirt and a pair of long pants or a skirt. If the interview is going to be more formal, you should probably upgrade to a suit. Either way, make sure your clothes are clean. You don’t want to think about that stain on your tie during the interview, as this may cause you even more anxiety.

4. Speak Up About Your Qualities and Accomplishments

Unfortunately, introverts often don’t get the recognition they deserve because they don’t promote themselves aggressively enough and tend to avoid the spotlight.  It can be problematic during an interview, because you can’t expect someone else to walk in and praise you to your interviewer. You’ll have to make an effort to sell yourself and show them how uniquely talented and experienced you really are. Think about your biggest accomplishments beforehand and write down a few talking points you think you should hit during the meeting.

When it comes to emphasizing your qualities, remember that introverts have many traits that make them ideal for many work environments. According to a post on the TestUp blog there are certain common qualities amongst introverts that even make them great leaders like patience, imagination, composure, and independence. Make it a point to highlight these characteristics during your interview.

5. Take Advantage of Your Strengths

Extroverts often have a propensity for small talk and bragging. Just because you don’t usually do that doesn’t mean you can’t play up your strengths as well. As an introvert, you probably noticed how people tend to feel comfortable with you and open up to you. That’s because you’re likely a good listener, so take advantage of it. Show that you’re interested in what the interviewer has to say by making eye contact and occasional gestures, like nodding your head.  Use key words and phrases from what they’ve said in your own responses, to show that you’ve been paying attention.

Additionally, by not making that much small talk, you’ll be able to keep the conversation focused on the job and your accomplishments. You’ll look like a career-minded, driven individual, which will only work in your favor.

6. Have a Few Questions Ready

By asking the interviewer a few questions at the end of your meeting you’ll show them that you’re excited about the opportunity to work for the company and you are looking forward to learning more about the job. If you’ve done your research, you’ll be able to come up with two or three pertinent questions, and make sure you memorize them. Don’t be afraid to ask any other questions you may come up with during the interview.

As you can see, doing your research on the company beforehand and preparing yourself are key. Follow these tips and you’ll be on the right track to securing your dream job. Now, if only making small talk around the water cooler would get easier…

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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