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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

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Ricky Tang

Editor. Movie Lover. Amateur Singer.

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

Learning how to succeed in business used to be a case of being really good at one skill or area and milking it for all its value. Today, we are fast becoming a “skills economy”[1], driving trends in employment and even the way we approach entrepreneurship.

To succeed in today’s business landscape, business owners and executives need to possess a mix of skills that enable them to stay ahead and adapt to change.

1. Digital Savviness

As the adage goes: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Today’s entrepreneurs need to take to the internet to increase their presence and to remain relevant in an evolving business landscape.

Companies like Amazon, Netflix, Airbnb and more are a testament to the disruptive impact of technology and the new image of what it means to be a skilled, successful professional. Think about today’s Mark Zuckerberg versus a banker from the 90s.

Being able to quickly adapt to new technology, like cloud applications and collaborating remotely across the internet, is fast becoming the expected norm for executives.

For businesses, discoverability on the web is becoming a quick litmus test for credibility. Potential customers and investors bank on the first page of Google to make up half their minds about making further transactions with a business. GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying[2].

How to Develop This Skill

For a start, begin by hosting your website and reserving all of your brand’s handles across social media platforms. While hiring a web developer might sound like the next step, consider first hosting your company’s site on more user and budget-friendly options like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.

From here, you can start on some simple search engine optimization techniques that will increase your discoverability over time. Through keyword research, organic content creation, and external back-links, your site will, eventually, slowly but surely garner more traffic.

Note, however, that an increase in search traffic does not immediately imply an increase in revenue. But it’s a start for delving into customer conversion rates in the future.

2. Financial Forecasting

Let’s face it, many business owners feel that time could be better spent on developing and running the business instead of planning for it financially. However, a financial forecast serves as a roadmap for shaping any kind of business and is not just reserved for the likes of listed companies providing financial guidance to shareholders.

Largely, forecasting and planning your financial goals will give you a clearer idea of resources required and ways to measure success. It can also provide assurance to investors as a testament to the thorough research and planning you have done when included in business plans.

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However, inaccurate forecasts can lead to livid investors and mismanagement of expenses, which could potentially result in financial teething problems. When creating a detailed financial forecast, a rule of thumb is to always start with your expenses.

How to Develop This Skill

Generally, it is easier to calculate and predict your expenses compared to your revenue, so noting down your expenses is a starting point to benchmark how much you might need to generate in sales to turn a profit. It is a good habit to regularly update and evaluate how adjacent your operations are to what you have forecasted.

Building a precise set of growth forecasting will take time, but, remember, you are an investor in your own business. You must have confidence in the validity of your business concept.

3. Video Production Skills

The rise of visual mediums and the dopamine boosts it gives to users has long been researched and proven as providing an unfair advantage to businesses that leverage it[3].

If you’re a heavy user of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to stop once you get started on a binge-watching session.

In fact, video marketing is seeing a non-stop rise in popularity and effectiveness when used in conjunction with social media to drive traffic and boost conversions[4]. According to research, by 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content[5]. With video marketing becoming more ubiquitous, businesses that fail to leverage the power of video are almost certain to lose out.

How to Develop This Skill

Some ways to get started with using videos for your business would be:

  • Creating a series of educational videos that cover useful information for your audiences
  • Live videos interacting with your community at large (these can be shot on your smart phone)
  • Using videos on landing pages to boost your customer conversions

4. Benchmarking Personal Goals to Business Performance

As far as you get into achieving endeavours on your business bucket list, it’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur is just one facet of your identity. Don’t forget why you started in the first place.

Ambition usually stems from some lifestyle goals you’ve always wanted for yourself and the people you might be providing for today or in the future. Working 24/7 is a surefire route to burnout and may manifest in an unhealthy interaction between partners and employees as well.

How to Develop This Skill

Money can’t be your only motivation, but look into the positives of how having more financial freedom and time can impact your life. In the short term, involving your interests in your businesses can make everyday tasks feel less like mundane errands. In the long run, your business may also bring you fruitful rewards, including personal fulfilment.

Set realistic income goals to manage expectations for your performance and your company’s revenue, especially during its earlier stages. See how projected growth can align with your personal goals and make adjustments accordingly to maintain a balance between growth and your personal values.

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5. Leveraging Healthy Competition

Some of the best athletes who have spent their careers neck-and-neck with each other have changed the standards in their respective sports. The notion of healthy competition applies to the business world more than it may seem on the surface.

Innovation has always been a key driver in free markets, which were intended to boost economies and provide customers with more choices. Just like the biggest sporting rivals that build on each others’ game, you can use your biggest competitors to hone your strategies.

How to Develop This Skill

Turn a competitive market landscape into an advantageous one by leveraging on long-established systems your business proposes an alternative to. Learn from the mistakes of predecessors once you discover their product or service loopholes.

For example, the Dollar Shave Club’s viral video[6] became a big hit because it hit the right buttons of consumers being tired of purchasing expensive but low quality shavers from incumbent retail giants. Going in second meant they could fill a gap competitors might not even have been aware of.

Apart from lifting off from what could have been your second-mover advantage, solidify your place with your business’ own first-mover advantage — whether you’re tapping into a new geographical region, unexplored market sector, or introducing a business model that proves more viable than others. There’s always room for improvement in business from mature markets to newly emerging ones.

6. Honing Pitches to Investors

Stand out in a broad mix of budding entrepreneurs by mastering the art and science behind a solid investor pitch that can determine the acceleration of growth for your business. Get comfortable talking about your ideas and receiving feedback or questions from peers, partners, and advisors before setting out to make a good impression on potential customers and eventually investors.

The phrase “If you can’t convince them, confuse them,” will certainly never get your business funded, especially in front of seasoned venture capitalists who have seen thousands of startup pitches. You should be able to deliver a quick elevator pitch that summarizes your unique proposition and its market viability for casual meet-ups[7] because you sometimes only have a few minutes to make a good impression and move on to another meeting.

How to Develop This Skill

Develop your investor pitch deck by highlighting your business’ strongest points, which will vary for every funding round. Create your deck with the investors’ interests in mind, balancing technical jargon and buzzwords.

You can also introduce your diverse team of experts, some proven traction, or the current state of the market to demonstrate profitability and the attractiveness of the opportunity to investors.

Ensure each slide flows into the other to develop a persuasive narrative, utilizing consistent and intelligent design principles to support your content.

7. Developing a Strong Brand Identity

In a world of saturated content and numerous emerging businesses that offer similar service lines, developing a unique brand identity will help you cut through the noise and stand out from your competition. From aesthetics to the body of clients you’re associated with, these contribute to how you’re perceived by prospects looking to buy.

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Evaluating your brand identity is linked to identifying your target customers, your business goals, a proposed promised land your solution achieves, and identifying values that are aligned to these components. Brand identity serves as a guide to maintaining consistency and creating an image you want your business to be associated with.

How to Develop This Skill

Efforts to strengthen your brand identity are closely tied to giving marketing strategies a direction. By knowing what makes your target customers tick, their values, ideals, and behavior, you will be able to elevate your business from simply being a service or product to be utilized into a projected brand customers and partners would be happy to identify with.

8. Automating to Your Advantage

The need for efficiency is often the general problem new businesses aim to resolve across all markets and industries. Assure that your proposed solution is more efficient than what’s readily available in the market to instill the need for it.

Efficiency is often achieved nowadays through digitalization and new technologies. While your product or service may not necessarily be the most innovative out there, you can apply the same automation concept across your business’ daily operations.

How to Develop This Skill

Shorten turnaround times and conversion rates by investing in small tools for automation where you deem fit. While it may come out of your pocket in the early stages, evaluate the holistic advantages and benefits of automating certain processes. At our office, we’ve tried using collaborative apps like Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Asana and a few other popular apps to reduce human error and friction.

9. Managing Millennials

Your team plays an integral part in whether your business will accelerate at breakneck speeds or be dragged down by dead weight. Hence, it is imperative to be selective and strategic when choosing your team.

In leaner small business teams, the addition of every new teammate can impact how your organization culture evolves.

Today, learning to manage millennials has become an increasingly sought after skill as well due to the increasing proportion of them in the workforce[8]. Some brand them as strawberries that are easily bruised and others loath their need for “meaning” and wearing t-shirts to work.

How to Develop This Skill

Naturally, there are many misconceptions surrounding millennials, and various businesses would do well to leverage their unique skills.

A couple of ways to manage a millennial team include:

Encourage a Flat Team Structure With Open Communication

Maintain clear professional lines between supervisors and subordinates but keep communication channels open to ensure no negativity festers.

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Offer Constructive Feedback

Baby boomers are well known for their straightforward approach to delivering feedback. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t always take feedback in a form that could be construed as deep criticism.

Being constructive with feedback ensures that we don’t coddle millennial workers but also tell them the things they need to hear.

10. Maintaining a Network of Connectivity

Instead of proposing a business that’s ambitiously and entirely disruptive to the supply or process chain in a respective industry, foster connections with other companies that cater to the same target customers as long as they provide a different service.

By creating partnerships, both you and other businesses thrive simultaneously through creative avenues for customers to utilize your products and services for a holistically improved user experience.

Sole market disruption isn’t always the best strategy to take. Not everybody has the opportunity, bandwidth, or financial capacity to dominate and monopolize a marketplace. See your potential for integration into other businesses and services as a good opportunity for co-collaborative marketing efforts with shared campaigns, split costs, and a strengthened customer database for everyone to tap into.

How to Develop This Skill

Regardless of the stage your business is in, never stop looking for ways to expand your network. Keep in contact with mentors you can look to for valuable industry advice that can help you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes. Strengthen brand awareness by attending cross-industry events and casual meet-ups to open your business to reinvention and innovation.

As the African proverb goes:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Collaborating will get you where you want to go quicker and gear you up for further growth.

More Tips on How to Succeed in Business

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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