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4 Ways Introverts Nail Job Interviews Without Pretending To Be Extroverted

4 Ways Introverts Nail Job Interviews Without Pretending To Be Extroverted

If you’re an introvert like me, you probably find interviews nerve-wracking, frustrating, or even torturous. We truly know that we’re as capable as our extroverted peers. But the truth is that desirable jobs are taken by them. One after another.

This scenario may be familiar to you. You’re in the interview room with three other candidates to compete for your dream job. From the vibes and the body language of your opponents, you can sense that they’re typical extroverts. They look confident without the slightest sign of anxiety, as if they were having a gathering with their old friends. But you just feel uncomfortable in this unfamiliar environment. Just the thought of interacting with a group of new people already makes you feel drained. You force yourself to wear a smile and convince yourself that you’re the best actor in the world. Pretending to be extroverted for the following hour is just a breeze for you. Right?

The group discussion starts. Candidate A takes the lead to throw out ideas. The pace of the interview is totally under his control. He dominates the setting like a leader. One-third of the interview has passed, then you finally contribute a great idea. The interviewers keep nodding their heads to show appreciation of your answer. Just a while later, candidate B interrupts and casts doubt on your idea. While you’re still thinking how to respond to her properly, she acts quickly and bombards you with another question. You notice that candidate C struggles a bit with the topic being discussed. But when he starts speaking, everyone just can’t keep their eyes off him. He smiles handsomely. His intonation and gestures are so engaging that everyone immediately likes him and even seems to want to be his friend after the interview has ended.

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After you step out of the interview room, you can’t stop reflecting on the performance of your group. You can’t deny that your extroverted peers have their own edges you can learn from. But you’re sure that you’re the best candidate for the position. Not only does the quality of your ideas trump theirs, but also your introversion enables you to handle a job that involves a lot of independent work and attention to detail. A week later, you receive a rejection letter. You know that one of your extroverted peers gets the job you’ve longed for. At that moment, you feel like your confidence evaporates, and you question if today’s society knows how to appreciate the qualities possessed by introverts.

How to nail interviews even if they’re not favorable to you

Yes, it can be frustrating to think that interviews are not a favorable setting for introverts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t perform well while interviewing. The first thing you need to do is abandoning the thought that you need to pretend to be extroverted to win the entrance ticket to your dream job. Actually, almost half of the population is introverted.[1] Your tribe is everywhere in the world. Even the interviewers you dread are probably introverts. They DO know the power of introversion. You just need to demonstrate it with these 4 tricks:

1. Make personal connections

Introverts easily make others think that they’re not participatory or engaged in interviews. The main reason is that they don’t feel comfortable to maintain constant eye contact with the people they first meet. And sometimes they unknowingly exhibit gestures that mislead others to think they’re not friendly or reluctant to social interactions.

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To avoid sending the wrong messages, before entering the interview room, you can associate the interviewers you’re going to meet with your old friends and tell yourself that they’ll definitely like you. The mild adjustment of mindset can make you feel more connected to them. During the interview, you can demonstrate your strength of connecting with individuals by switching your eye contact between each interviewer from time to time. This can make you feel more calm without making any one of the interviewers feel left out.

2. Take your time answering questions

Another problem introverts commonly have in interviews is that they can’t respond to questions as quickly as extroverts. Science has proven that the brains of introverts and extroverts are wired differently.[2] Although introverts are better at thinking deeply, they need more time to organize their complex way of thinking.

If you really need some time to think before you speak, it’s definitely fine to tell interviewers you need a moment to formulate your ideas. It’s a common misconception that quick response means good answers. You can make up for the time you lose with high quality answers, which demonstrates you have a more detailed mind than your extroverted peers.

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3. Take self-discussion as sharing, not bragging

Unlike extroverts, introverts are less fond of sharing their thoughts with others instantly. They like to examine whether their thoughts are valid or consistent with their values before they speak. If you’re the introvert who equates talking about your achievements with bragging, you may find promoting yourself in interviews embarrassing and try to avoid it. And so, interviewers can’t see how you’re a strong candidate.

Talking about your achievements does not have to become bragging. Instead of stressing how capable you are explicitly, you can tell interviewers what you have learned from your experiences and how you can make use of your knowledge to contribute to the position you’re applying for. You can also talk about how you would keep honing your existing skills after you get the job.

4. Dare to show your introverted side

I don’t know why many people hold the misconception that we must act in interviews to get through them. The more outgoing, talkative, and pleasant you are in interviews, the more likely you will be liked by interviewers and get the job. Of course, everyone likes working with someone with the qualities I just mentioned. But how long you can put on the persona? It would be a bad idea that you fake your way through the interview to land a job not suitable for you.

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So just be yourself.[3] When you’re asked about your strengths and weaknesses, for example, you can acknowledge that, as an introvert, you find written communication more effective to you (of course, you’ll also tell interviewers how you will improve face-to-face communication with your colleagues). And then you can highlight the positive aspects of your introverted nature, like being a great listener and observer, something which your extroverted peers may lack. By showing who you genuinely are, you can behave more naturally and perform better in interviews.

Just as Susan Cains writes in her famous book “Quiet : The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”,[4] many introverts possess extraordinary talents and abilities that the world hasn’t discovered. That’s why you need to take a bold step forward to show your true colors to everyone, especially in settings you find dreadful. If I can do it, I believe you can do it as well!

Reference

More by this author

Ricky Tang

Editor. Movie Lover. Amateur Singer.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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