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5 Tips to Ace An Interview for Introverts

5 Tips to Ace An Interview for Introverts

If you’re an introvert, going into a job interview might seem like your worst nightmare. You have to go to an unfamiliar place and talk for an extended amount of time with someone that you’ve never met before. And to make things worse, all the focus is going to be on you. Awkward, to say the least.

While having a shy personality might appear to put you a severe disadvantage, you can overcome your nerves and shine in an interview. The trick is to know the right interview tips and techniques to make the situation seem less intimidating. Here are 5 interview tips for introverts to help them land the job they want and deserve.

1. Pretend you’re talking to an old friend.

While it might be difficult to make friends as an introvert, it becomes easier to talk to the people you know. Approach your interviewer with the same attitude. Begin the interview by talking about things that help you build a rapport with the interviewer before they start asking the tough questions.

Think of something―anything―to talk about besides the job. Your interviewer may be just as anxious about the prospect of making conversation with a complete stranger for 30 minutes. So, ease into the situation by asking them about their day or discussing an innocuous topic like something interesting about the neighborhood the office is in.

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Just remember to not take things too far―you wouldn’t want to offend anyone by acting overly familiar or unprofessional. You want them to come away delighted by your warmth and enthusiastic demeanor, not with the impression that they just had brunch with Noisy Nora and Gabby Gabe.

2. Google your interviewer.

Not knowing what or, in this case, who you’re facing can be nerve-wracking. Even though it may feel creepy, take the time to check out your interviewer online. Look beyond LinkedIn, and find out what their interests are on social media and if they overlap with any of yours.

Google them and see what news or information comes up. You might find out what types of community events they attend or what groups they are involved in. This gives you a fuller picture of who you’ll be talking to. And don’t be afraid to bring up any similarities you discover.

A good way to break the ice is to say something like “I hope you don’t mind, but I took a look at your online profiles while researching this role and saw that you’re into X. I wanted to bring it up because I never meet people who are also into X!” The interviewer understands pre-interview research does occur, and may appreciate your reference to it as a sign of your diligence and transparency.

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3. Pay attention to your body language.

Introverts tend to be uncomfortable when talking with new people, and this shows in their body language. Their nervousness causes them to fidget and their discomfort makes them slouch back in their chair. This is not the message you want to be sending, not to the interviewer or to yourself. Because whether you realize it or not, having bad posture or constantly looking down at your feet feeds your own fear or anxiety.

Take a moment to envision a confident professional nailing a job interview. Don’t think about what they might say or how they answer the questions. Instead, concentrate on how they sit, their facial expressions, and the way they move as they speak or listen. What movements or postures make them seem self-assured and capable?

Before your interview, practice this body language. Make a conscious effort to sit up straight and confident, both when you’re alone and with friends. Also, take the time to perfect your handshake. If you’re not sure how to position your hand or how long a handshake should last, look into the “web-to-web” technique, which makes a firm connection all the way from the thumb to the index finger of both parties. Many believe this is the most impactful way to introduce yourself.

4. Step into the interviewer’s shoes.

One of the biggest fears introverts have about interviews is appearing incompetent or saying the wrong thing. Alleviate this worry by practicing in front of a camera. Create a list of potential questions you might be asked, then record your answers. Place the camera, or your smartphone, where the interviewer would be sitting so you can record yourself from their perspective.

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When you rewatch the video, note which answers were the strongest or at which points you seemed the most comfortable. Then practice again. Try to incorporate more of the good aspects you saw in your first take. Each time you go through the common interview questions, you’ll create a solid foundation for your answers, and feel less nervous during the actual interview.

5. Remember your common bond: passion for the company.

Hopefully you’re applying for a job with this organization because you are interested in the work they do and what they stand for. And unless the interviewer hates their job, they have that in common with you. Whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed or nervous, focus on what it is that excites you about the company. That will resonate with the interviewer and help keep the conversation flowing.

Ask questions to show your curiosity about the organization, as well as get a better idea of what it’d be like to work there. As long as it feels organic, ask your questions when they come to mind. You don’t need to hold all your inquiries until the end. Trying to keep them in the back of your mind will be distracting. After all, the best interviews are less like Q&As and more like genuine conversations.

When you get the opportunity to interview for a great job, it’s natural to feel nervous. But with these interview tips, even the biggest of introverts will be able to come out of their shell and show what they have to offer.

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What are some other interview tips for introverts? Share in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: Irish Times via irishtimes.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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