On the surface, job interviews seem to favor candidates who are extroverted. People who are extroverted get their energy from talking with other people, and often have an easier time answering questions on the spot.
Where introverts gain their competitive advantage is in their natural tendency to prepare and reflect before entering a situation. If you’re an introvert, here’s how you can leverage your preparation abilities for interview success.
Many introverts like to have time to reflect on a question before responding. Interviews can consequently feel overwhelming, as you’re expected to answer questions on the spot. The good news is that, unless you’re interviewing for a position at a company like Google, you can prepare for your interview by reviewing lists of common interview questions, such as these compiled by Glassdoor. Glassdoor also crowdsources real interview questions companies ask during interviews – so do a search for your company using the site’s “Interview” tool to see if there’s any for the place to which you’re applying.
Brainstorm your responses to each question, including jotting down some notes about how you might respond. Then, have someone you trust ask you the questions to give you some practice answering them out loud.
If making small talk is hard for you, there are a few ways you can prepare. First, if you know the people you’re interviewing, look them up on LinkedIn and make a note of any interesting employment, education or related experiences the person has – especially those which you may have in common. Next, be sure to tune into the news during the week you’re interviewing, whether it’s by television, newspaper or radio, to prepare for conversations about current events.
Use information you glean from these two activities to prepare a list of three “small talk” topics you can turn to if you need to keep the conversation going in the down time that occurs before or after the formal interview.
If you still find yourself worried after taking the first two steps, take 10 minutes and write down what you’re most worried about – including all of the things that could possibly go wrong in the interview.
Next, make an action plan. What will you do if those scenarios occur? Here’s an example of what this kind of list could look like:
|I will spill something on myself and have to go to the interview with a stain on my clothes.||I will avoid drinking anything but water after putting on my interview outfit. I will bring an extra shirt or outfit in my car.|
|I will be late to the interview.||I will map out my route to the employer in advance. I will do a test run before the interview to see how long it takes me to get there. I will leave 30 minutes earlier than I need to.|
|The interviewer will be aggressive or unkind.||I will focus on the question that is being asked, rather than the personality of the interviewer. I will take deep breaths in order to help keep my composure when responding.|