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5 Tailor-Made Tricks for Introverts to Nail Job Interviews

5 Tailor-Made Tricks for Introverts to Nail Job Interviews

It could be said that introverts are the new black. But that was not always the case. Extroverts always seemed to have that extra advantage when it came to things like networking and landing a great job. After all, they are more outspoken, social, and certainly not shy about communicating their personal brand. This makes it easier for them to ace an interview, right? Not necessarily.

There’s been a shift where more people are embracing the hidden strengths of introverts. Remember, being an introvert doesn’t mean that you’re one way all of the time. In fact, you may share some traits attributed to extroverts depending on the situation; you just naturally lean more to one side.

You see, introverts are not a quiet group; they can be expressive. They are not meek, but strong. They are not boring, but interesting. Unfortunately, as an introvert, you do not have much time on your side for an interviewer to figure out your personality. You have to make a good impression, fast.

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Instead of wearing a “Pardon my demeanor, I’m an introvert” sign, try these 5 tailor-made tricks to nail job interviews.

1. Clear your calendar  

It’s no secret that social activities are often challenging for introverts. Introverts charge internally when they are alone. Being around others may make them feel uncomfortable and judged — for not being the social butterfly others think they should be.

This feeling is even more amplified when it comes to a job interview.  For that reason, make sure you are fully charged the day of your interview. Keep your schedule light beforehand so that you have the quiet time needed to prepare and gather your thoughts. This will help you feel more energized so you can showcase your personality — without feeling burned out.

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2. Prepare clear talking points

Saying the right thing in an interview is important to anyone — regardless of personality type. But for introverts, it’s even more nerve wrecking. You don’t feel comfortable naturally “winging” it like extroverts, so it’s important to have key points already in your head.

It’s not to say you must rehearse until you sound like the captain of the debate team. But you should specifically focus on stories that show how your skill-set matches the job description. Why? Because you can bet the interviewer will ask you to elaborate on experience that’s related to the job. Your talking points will be a great way to easily answer questions, and show how you are an important part of your team’s success.

3. Lean on your listening skills

An advantage that introverts have over extroverts is their ability to internally analyze their surroundings and take in information. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking says, “Introverts often work more slowly and deliberately. They like to focus on one task at a time and can have mighty powers of concentration.”

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Good listening skills are the key to tapping into the expectations of an interviewer.  Use your ability to take in information as a trick to be in tune with what is being asked of you in that role.  You’ll not only be on the mark with your answers, but you will also show the interviewer that you understand exactly what is needed to hit the ground running.

4. Match your interviewer’s communication style

This trick is something that will help you stay focused on your interviewer and not your own nervousness. Take note of your interviewer’s style: Is he or she energetic? Straight forward? Laid back? Don’t go crazy being someone you are not, but use these cues as a gauge of how to mirror their style.

When you are being interviewed, your interviewer is not only testing your skills, but also wants to see if you are someone they can easily interact with. They want to know about your personality on a casual level. Many introverts do not like small talk, but it’s important that you positively engage with your interviewer throughout the process.

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Matching the way your interviewer communicates will ensure that you do not come off as overly shy, uninterested, or hard to manage. You will make a great impression and show that you are personable and adaptable.

5. Watch your non-verbal cues

Even if you’ve mastered talking about your experience, there’s one thing that can hinder your interview success: your body language. Being naturally shy, introverts shrink when in the spotlight because they prefer to stay in the background. An interview puts you front stage and center, and it brings out non-verbal cues that make you appear less confident. Not to mention, the interviewer will be watching your every move from the moment you enter the door. (No pressure, though!)

Don’t let your body language stop you from closing the deal. Work on being aware of things you do when you’re nervous. Nonverbal cues include weak eye contact, a limp handshake, and fidgeting.  Focus on presenting a confident image by dressing professionally and keeping even facial expressions. Also, be mindful of verbal cues that show that you’re nervous. Using filler words such as “umm”  “like” or “you know” are dead giveaways.

Thinking about these things may make you even more nervous, but try not to worry. Instead, be aware of your behavior so that you can present your best image.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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