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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 October 9, 2018

19 Ways to Improve Creative Thinking Skills in the Workplace

19 Ways to Improve Creative Thinking Skills in the Workplace

Our world is changing at faster pace than ever. In order to keep up, we are continually adapting to new technology and the changing industries.

Employers are looking for employees who can solve problems, think creatively and be a leader in every situation.

These 19 tips will help you find ways to improve creative thinking skills. You can also use these skills to gain credibility as a leader in the workplace:

1. Set limitations

In order to increase your own creative thinking, it helps to set limits for yourself, so you have to think outside the box to come up with solutions.

Set deadlines, budgets or any other type of limitation to increase your creative problem solving. This will build your credibility as a creative problem solver as you come up with innovative solutions.

2. Change things up

If you find yourself falling into a rut and doing the same thing every single day, then you will likely struggle to come up with new ideas. This is why it is important to change things up in your routine and break out of your rut.

Get your creative juices flowing by exercising at a different time, or trying something new for lunch. Move your desk to a different position or change your personal workspace.

Any of these changes will help spark your mind and get the new ideas pumping again.

3. Listen and care about others

When you show that you care about others and listen to their ideas and thoughts, they will trust you more.

“Leaders who listen are able to create trustworthy relationships that are transparent and breed loyalty. You know the leaders who have their employees’ best interests at heart because they truly listen to them.” — Glenn Llopis

Listening to your coworkers allows them to be more open with you and feel that they can take risks and be creative.

Discussing ideas with your coworkers will not only help you improve creative thinking techniques, but also set the environment for a more creative office.

4. Find good mentors/critics

If you want your creative work to improve, then you need to find a good mentor or critic who can give you positive feedback and help you to keep moving forward.

As your work improves over time because of your dedication and your mentor, people will hold you in greater respect.

Every type of creative work takes several drafts before it is ready to go. With your mentors, you can find ways to continually improve your work. Ed Catmull, president of Pixar said:[1]

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“Early on, all of our movies suck. That’s a blunt assessment, I know, but I… choose that phrasing because saying it in a softer way fails to convey how bad the first versions of our films really are. I’m not trying to be modest or self-effacing by saying this. Pixar films are not good at first, and our job is to make them go… from suck to non-suck. We are true believers in the iterative process – reworking, reworking and reworking again, until a flawed story finds its throughline or a hollow character finds its soul.”

Use your mentor’s knowledge to bring your first drafts to life.

5. Try and fail, a lot

The best way to get better at things is to keep trying and failing until you improve. This enhances your creative thinking and shows your coworkers that you don’t give up easily and are willing to improve.

The ability to take failure and turn it around is one of the best qualities of any leader.

The Harvard Business Review reported:[2]

“Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy has shown through her research about how expert entrepreneurs make decisions, they must make lots of mistakes to discover new approaches, opportunities, or business models. She frequently references Howard Schultz who, when he started Il Giornale in Seattle, the company that Schultz used to later buy the original Starbucks brand and assets, the store had nonstop opera music playing, menus written in Italian, and no chairs. As Schultz has often said, “We had to make a lot of mistakes” before discovering a model that worked.”

6. Be consistent (no tortured artists here)

When you think of creativity, an image of a broken-hearted artist or alcoholic writer may come to mind. Many people today associate creativity with isolation, despair, alcohol and inconsistency.

Just picture Jay Gatsby.

While that is good for drama, that’s not really how creativity works. Creativity is fostered through consistent effort. Put in the work everyday and you will find your creative muscles and credibility will grow.

As a leader in your workplace, you need to show consistency in everything you do, not just your own work, but throughout the company to build your business’s credibility.

7. Be honest to yourself and others

Acting dishonestly is one of the fastest ways for you to lose your credibility. Always be honest to the people around you and to yourself.

If your coworkers feel that they can trust you, then they rely on you more and work with you better. Honesty is what builds a solid foundation for a successful workplace.[3]

During the creative process, it is important to be honest to yourself. It’s easy to get carried away with fantastic ideas but you will need to learn to be honest with yourself about what is and is not possible.

8. Collaborate

The best work usually comes from teamwork. Katherine W. Phillips said,[4]

“The fact is that if you want to build teams or organizations capable of innovating, you need diversity. Diversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving.”

Show your coworkers that you value their efforts and perspective. By working together, you can create new ideas and make something better than you ever have before.

Collaborating will not only improve your own creative thinking but will create a bond between you and your team.

9. Use humor

As a leader, you want your coworkers to feel comfortable to be creative and open-minded.

Humor has been proven to help people to relax and feel more willing to try something new and helps foster creativity.[5]

To improve your own credibility and help others gain confidence in their own creative thinking, use an appropriate sense of humor to lighten the mood when needed and to get those creative juices flowing.

10. Be vulnerable

This goes along with being honest with yourself and others. To be a creative thinker, then you have to be willing to fail, admit your failures and be open to receiving critique.

This can be difficult especially in a workplace where you want to show your strengths instead of weaknesses, but by admitting yo ur weaknesses and being open to others, your credibility will grow as your coworkers know that you listen and are adaptable.

Take a look at this article to find out Why Showing Vulnerability Actually Proves Your Strength.

11. Have meaningful conversations

Creative people love to have meaningful conversations. This is the best way to gain a new perspective.

You have had a certain amount of experiences that have shaped the way that you see the world. But everyone around you may have different perspectives. By engaging with these people, you can learn more about their views. Try to walk in their shoes and understand their perspectives, especially if you disagree.

Steer clear of shallow small talk and discuss bigger and more meaningful topics with those around you. Ask about their experiences, their hopes, their opinions and you will gain new perspectives that will assist your creative thinking.

12. Be constantly learning new things

Some of the greatest minds in the world (Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerburg) have said they dedicate at least five hours every week to learning new things.

They are passionate about growing their minds and learn about everything from nuclear physics to politics. As they learn about different topics, they look for ways to apply what they have learned to their own industry.

Start your own educational journey today by finding some books you would like to read or finding high-quality articles online about each topic.

Keep in mind your own industry and how you can apply what you learn to your job. You never know all the different ways astronomy can help your marketing efforts.

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13. Experience it all

Steve Jobs once said that creativity comes from experience.[6] The more experiences you have, the better connections you will be able to make to find solutions.

Try to experience as many things as possible. You don’t have to go on some huge trip around the world to have more experience; simply meeting new people and trying new things will give you more experience that will build your creative skills.

14. Give yourself some love

When I was younger, I was given the advice to take the time everyday before I went out for the day to ensure I felt good about myself and fully confident. Sometimes this took the shape of wearing a new pair of shoes or writing in my journal that morning.

I was told if I could take the time to prepare myself for the day, then I could focus all of my energy on the people around me. This is something that great leaders do today.

Take the time to rest and prepare for the next day, so you can throw yourself into your creative work and help those around you.

Self-care can be whatever it is that you need: a hot bath, going to the gym, walking your dog, reading, the list goes on and on. Figure out what energizes you, and do it as often as needed.

15. Take ownership

Accountability fosters your creative thinking because you know that others will see your work and know whether you did it well or not.

Creativity works best under some pressure, so take your projects seriously by taking responsibility for them.

Your coworkers will have greater respect for you as you take ownership for your work projects, even if you are disappointed in the results.

16. Be reflective

Hindsight is 20-20, so by looking back at past successes and failures, you can get new ideas for your work.

Reflecting is a part of the creative process and will help you as you continue to create and work. Learning from the past sets an example for your coworkers and will improve your credibility among your colleagues.[7]

“Creativity requires us to be confident in our areas of practice, whatever they may be. And reflection is an indispensable part of observing, developing, digesting and being in dialogue with our creative ’self’.”

17. Communicate

Communication is key to any good relationship and this includes the relationships between you and your coworkers.

Notice how your coworkers handle critique and find the best way to give them constructive criticism. Notice how your coworkers handle conflict, and find a positive way to help each of them through it.[8]

“Effective communication is one of the key prerequisites for a thriving workplace. It drives fast, clear and precise flow of information between individuals and groups. A lack of proper communication can greatly decrease productivity.”

Communication is a skill that is vastly underestimated and incredibly useful in the workplace. As you develop this skill, you can become an impressive creative leader.

18. Meet deadlines

We have all experienced those coworkers who can’t meet a deadline with their projects. It can be frustrating and throw off everyone else’s work.

To be a credible leader, don’t be that person.

I’ve already mentioned that creativity works best with a little bit of pressure. When you try to meet deadlines, you force yourself to come up with creative ideas.

Use your creative thinking to finish your projects on time, so you can meet your deadlines.

Your coworkers will know that they can count on you to get the job done on time, which will likely lead to you getting more projects.

19. Respect others

No matter how brilliant you are, if you don’t show respect for the people around you, your credibility in your workplace will suffer.

The opposite is true as well, if you show respect to each of your coworkers, your credibility as a leader will grow.

Michigan Ross Professor Jane Dutton who has conducted research on the impact that mutual respect has on creativity said:[9]

“Across our studies, we demonstrate that respectful engagement is more than simply a nice way to interact, but is a catalyst and cultivator of creativity.”

By creating a friendly workplace, not only your creative thinking will improve but also everyone around you. With a work environment of mutual respect, ideas can develop into something incredible.

The bottom line

Creative thinking and leadership abilities are some of the top skills that employers are looking for. Start applying these 19 tips to your work, and you will see great results in your own work and with your coworkers’ work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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