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.
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.
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.
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.
What are some other interview tips for introverts? Share in the comments below!
Featured photo credit: Irish Times via irishtimes.com