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10 Things That Introverts Have The Hardest Time With

10 Things That Introverts Have The Hardest Time With

The fact that I’m writing this from the confines of my bedroom with only my cat around to distract me should be enough to convince you that I’m an authority on introversion. This is not to say that I avoid people at all costs, or am some sort of misanthrope. I definitely enjoy the company of good friends and my family. However, there are many conventions of modern society that introverts just don’t buy into, including the following activities listed below.

1. They don’t enjoy always being around people

I never really understood the idea of “happy hour.” I just spent nine hours of my day with a group of people at work, and I’m supposed to want to spend more time with them when we get out? I know, it’s a good time to let it all hang out; but really, all I want to do when that 5 o’clock bell comes around is go home and stare at the wall for ten minutes before having to cook, wash dishes, and clean up before settling in for the night. Social gatherings can definitely be fun, but not when they’re forced upon you.

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2. They don’t enjoy small talk

“How about this weather?” “Looks like someone did some grocery shopping!” “This elevator’s always so slow.” Honestly, there has never been a time when something like this was said to me that ended with a meaningful connection. I get that it’s seen as friendly to chit-chat while waiting for a bus, but unless it’s going to end with a new-found friendship or relationship, it’s really just not worth the effort. Now, if I’m wearing a shirt featuring an obscure band or something, by all means approach me since we obviously have something in common, and might hit it off. However, what connection is ever going to be forged based on the fact that we both absolutely hate rain?

3. They don’t enjoy crowds

I love music, and I love going to shows. However, I absolutely dread being in the middle of a pack of shouting (possibly drunk) twenty-somethings when my favorite band is on stage. I came to hear them, not to hear them be drowned out by a group of slurring college students. The same goes for the crowd before the doors open. Since you’re cramped up with a bunch of strangers, it will inevitably lead to small talk. As an introvert, there’s not much worse than being stuck in the middle of a sweaty group of strangers and having to feign interest in a menial conversation that will end up going nowhere.

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4. They don’t enjoy phone conversations

I’ll admit, I’m the worst at talking on the phone. However, it’s because I enjoy listening to what others have to say, and rarely put my two cents in. In person, at least the other person has physical feedback that I’m listening and understanding what their saying, but on the phone, there’s only silence from my end. Of course, there’s also a fair amount of small talk, but I’m sure you’re getting tired of hearing about how much introverts hate that. Texting and email are great boons to introverts because they allow messages to be sent and received without any extraneous chitchat.

5. They don’t enjoy keeping in touch just to keep in touch

Visiting my hometown is great. I get to see old friends, spend time with my family who I haven’t seen in months, and catch up on everyone’s life. But when someone from my past who I honestly don’t miss all that much finds out I’m home, I feel obligated to meet up with them for an hour of “So how’ve you been?” I hate to say it, but it’s absolutely dreadful. The worst is when it’s obvious the other person wants to be there even less than I do, but of course they put on the false-friend face and carry on as if the fact that we went to the same high school means we have some sort of life-long bond.

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6. They don’t enjoy icebreaker activities

Here’s another situation in which you’re forced into meeting and interacting with people. Icebreaker activities in college or on the job are almost exclusively dreaded, even by the most outgoing people. Yes, you do get the chance to find out more about the people you’ll be spending a lot of your time with, but it’s done in such a falsified way that no real relationships ever come of it. Relationships that grow organically are much more meaningful than ones that are forced through silly games meant for 8-year-olds being played by graduate students.

7. They don’t like people making noise just to break silence

Silence really is golden. Like I said, I’m writing this in my apartment, with no outside interference to interrupt me (except that buzz-saw that erupted the second I started this part of the article). I realize when I was living with my parents, I never got anything done because there was always some noise going on in the background. I don’t mean people talking; that’s not something I would complain about. However, leaving the TV on, or putting on a song and then walking away from the computer: that I can’t stand. Embrace the silence once in a while. You’ll get a lot more done.

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8. They don’t like people talking while they’re trying to focus

Okay, I hate to shout her out, but my mom is guilty of this one for sure. I used to test her out with it. I’d be sitting quietly on the couch, and she wouldn’t say a word. Then I’d pick up a book, and within two pages she’d find something to talk to me about. Now, talking to my mother is definitely more important than reading a book, so I never complained. However, when complete strangers or co-workers interrupt you while you’re very obviously focused on a task, that is inexcusable. I’m not ignoring you, but I’m not stopping what I’m being paid to do to talk to you about the game last night.

9. They don’t like people thinking they’re conceited

This goes along with the last entry. Just because introverts don’t feel the need to talk about every little thing doesn’t mean they think they’re any better than you. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. Since introverts don’t love small talk, they often aren’t very good at it, and feel awkward when they get into these situations. I sometimes wish I could thrive off human interaction the way others seem to do, but it’s simply not my personality. It really does amaze me that some people can act with people they just met in the same way that I do with my closest of friends. Just because I’m not incredibly outward about my feelings doesn’t mean I’m devoid of them, either.

10. They don’t enjoy talking about themselves

Introverts love to listen. They want to learn as much about the world as possible. On that same token, they really do not like talking about themselves. During job interviews, my most hated question is, “What’s your best feature?” Even though I know the point of a job interview is to sell myself, I don’t want to come off as conceited (see above), and I certainly know that I’m no better than anyone else. This is because I’ve spent my entire life listening to others and I understand just how much everyone else knows. Perhaps the toughest part of being an introvert is not so much talking about yourself, but rather wishing you were better at talking about yourself.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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