Introverts in interviews: What do I do?
Published: 18 Mar 2016 By Georgina Bloomfield
Usually people can be categorised into one of two personality camps: Introvert and extrovert. However, most of us know that this isn’t entirely true and we all have a bit of both of these qualities in our personalities. When it comes to interviews, one of these personality types will come through more than the other – and if you’re mainly an introvert, the thought of an interview can be really daunting. Small talk, discussing your personal achievements and trying to impress complete strangers can all make you feel fairly unsettled. Here are my top tips for dealing with interviews if you’re an introvert.
Everything is in the research the day before
The more you prepare for your interview, the better you’ll feel about it. if you can research absolutely everything you know about the company, where they are, how to get there, how long it takes and what sort of job you’ll be doing, you’ll be more prepared for the types of questions you’ll be asked.
Researching the interviewer on social media platforms and elsewhere online might also place you in good stead. If you find them on Twitter and discover their favourite football team, you have that little gem in your pocket for when you need to partake in the dreaded small talk. Make sure your outfit is suitably ironed and hung up the night before too. The last thing you want to do is burn your interview outfit half an hour before you’re due to leave (yes, I actually did this once – it was a horrible start to the interview). The more prepared you are, the better you’ll feel.
As mentioned, research the company in particular. If you don’t have time to do everything else, make sure you at least research the company as best you can. The more knowledge you can acquire about your possible future employer will give you some much-needed confidence when it comes to the interview. Start with any mentions of the company in the news, or any awards they may have recently won. Head to social media as a starting point and go from there.
Take a few minutes before you go into the building
If you’re still feeling nervous in the car park outside the building, just take a few minutes and take some deep breaths before going inside. If you have some spare time (and you should) take a quick walk around the area to familiarise yourself with the surroundings as well as getting some fresh air to calm your nerves.
Got a notepad? Use it
During the interview, it doesn’t hurt to take down notes – especially if you’re nervous. You might find that afterwards, you can’t remember anything the interviewer said about the job which will make you feel unprepared for any possible second interviews with the company. Take down some notes during the interview (not laboriously) – this will also act as a quick ‘mini-break’ from making eye-contact and speaking about yourself. Make sure on this notepad you’ve also got some quick notes about any questions you’ll want to ask at the end (you need to ask questions when invited to do so – it means you’re interested to know more about the job)
As well as a notepad, if you have a portfolio or any other examples of your work that’s relevant to the new job role, bring this along. It gives you something to talk about if you come across a ‘give me an example of…’ question and it also shows the employer as clear as day what you’re capable of. Your interviewer might want to keep some of these examples, so if possible make sure you have copies of your work.
Small talk happens – sorry, but it does
Even extroverts don’t always enjoy small talk. It’s awkward and feels forced and unnecessary. However, it’s almost completely unavoidable when it comes to interviews. Usually as you’re being led to the interview room or checking in with the receptionist, small talk is usually made. Think of some interesting titbits you can bring up casually – such as questions about the surrounding area. The whole point of small talk is to somehow break the ice and build rapport with your interviewer. If you come across as mumbling and uninterested, you’ll be off on the wrong foot before you’ve even sat down.
Introversion is a skill that extroverts can’t do as well as an introvert
Being an introvert in the workplace can be a fantastic skill, and it doesn’t matter what kind of job you’re applying for. It doesn’t mean you’re not confident – it means you think logically before making decisions and you listen well to instructions. You can also work perfectly well alone without having to rely on people to help you do your job. You’re also more likely to be extremely observant and intuitive.
Interviews are daunting for all types of personalities – but if you can take elements of your personality and make them work in your favour, you’re onto a winner.