An introvert's guide to job interviews
Job interviews are the essential first step for both candidates and employers to assess each other’s suitability for the job at stake. While handshakes, casual conversations, and business talk seem straightforward for most, introverts can’t think of more uncomfortable situations. Let’s just say things get a little too close for comfort when you’re an introvert.
As an introvert, the personal space is sacred, but if you really want to land that job there is no way around stepping out of your comfort zone. So, how can introverts score at job interviews? While not making common interview mistakes should be a given, many candidates also forget to dress appropriately but also comfortably for the interview. Here are some ways that will help you channel that social anxiety into combating the emotional chaos.
Compartmentalising your introversion
Overcoming the seemingly intrusive nature of job interviews can be challenging, as introverts often feel misplaced when not in their comfort zone. Learning how to compartmentalise your introversion should help you to temporarily put unpleasant sentiments aside. Channel your enjoy into the conviction to accomplish the tasks at hand. This technique doesn’t only allow you to cope with the stresses of job interviews, it can also help change the way you approach your professional life as well as how you take on new experiences.
You know why you deserve the job best; so don’t let your dislike for the spotlight deter you from conveying them effectively to your prospective employer.
Do your research
Even for the most seasoned jobseekers, the uncertainty of what might happen in interviews can still be off-putting for introverts. To counter the uncontrollable uncertainty, you should focus on what you can control - and for that you need to prepare. Do your research and find out as much as you can about the job, the company and even the interviewer. Finding some similarities with the hiring manager, you might even come up with some casual small talk for when you don’t know what to say.
While it doesn’t seem fair for an introvert to do twice as much work, it pays off if you can demonstrate your knowledge about the industry, trends or competitors. Who knows? Your interviewers may not even notice that hint of anxiety.
Breaking the ice
Getting to know someone new can be difficult and doesn’t come naturally to an introvert, so why not get to know your interviewer a little better in your own terms? Following up on the point made above, a quick search on the internet will give you a better impression on who you are talking to.
Find out what their past experiences are and their role in the company. Were they featured in the news? Did they receive any awards? All these facts could be helpful in establishing that personal connection between you and the interviewer – and that’s the hard part.
But remember, there’s a fine line between taking interest in their professional profile and being outright creepy. Play by ear, and don’t lose sight of your job pitch to score that interview.
Wandering eyes and fidgety movements are signs of nervousness or a lack of confidence? Who can tell? During a job interview, anxious behaviours may be easily perceived as a lack of confidence in your professional abilities. Create that positive first impression with a firm handshake and a smile. During the interview, it’s important to maintain eye contact with your interviewer(s), but don’t overdo it and stare continuously at them. If necessary, feel free to complement your speech with hand gestures at appropriate intervals to convey your point, but definitely no slouching!