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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.