Introverts, rejoice! This guide will help to boost your confidence and enter your next interview with ease. [TWEET]
As anyone seeking full time employment can attest, job searching is a job in and of itself, and like any job, some parts are easier and more enjoyable than others. There are the administrative aspects of researching jobs, polishing up and tailoring your resume, crafting a well-written cover letter and actually applying for the job. Then there are the social activities such as attending networking events, job fairs and of course, the interview. Extroverts tend to find the administrative aspects draining and overwhelming, but shine when it comes the social aspects. Give an extrovert an audience and they are on! If you are an introvert, you will gravitate towards and likely excel at the administrative tasks, but may find yourself fear struck when all your hard work pays off with an interview. The problem with fear and stress is that they stimulate a reaction in your brain where you are actually physically incapable of thinking as quickly or responding as effectively. The reality is, you will need to interview at some point in your job search so then the trick is to help yourself not be terrified, and thus be able to present your best self. Here are some tips:
Play to your strengths
Just because you are an introvert does not necessarily mean you are not good in social situations. Most introverts are observant, thoughtful and extremely good listeners. Embrace these traits and use them to your advantage! During the interview, you will be able to focus on the interviewer and get an understanding of what he/she is looking for and sometimes what they are not saying, that will give you insight into what the organization’s needs are and how you can fill them.
If you have ever frozen up in an interview (and who hasn’t) the fear of it happening again can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. A very effective tool to get past this is role-playing with someone. I have done this extensively with my clients because it not only helps them clarify their strengths but it also creates a mini-history of success in answering those tough questions (even if it is just with me and not the ‘real deal’) which can relax the stress reflex when it is show time.
Study the job posting
Another excellent way to prepare yourself is to study the job posting and write down two to three examples in your past of things you have accomplished that align with the organization’s needs. You may or may not be asked to provide an example for each, but going through the exercise will ensure you are prepared and also relax your anxiety.
Re-frame your perspective
It is very common for people attending interviews to feel like they are on display, being judged, and to fear that they will be found wanting. This is especially true if one has interviewed in the past and been turned down. This perspective can perpetuate anxiety, and that fear will not likely produce your best performance. Instead, try to re-frame your perspective. The organization has a vision, a mission and a particular need for this position. The hiring manager needs to fill a role and her/his life will be much easier once they fill it with a star performer. Try to think of yourself in more of a partnership role. You have skills, experience and knowledge that can be of service to this company. If hired, you can help them achieve their goals. The point is to determine whether this company’s needs aligns with your skills and whether it is a culture in which you will thrive. This is a much more powerful perspective and is almost guaranteed to put you at ease.
Think of good questions
There will be a time in almost every interview when you will be asked if you have any questions. Just as in your resume and cover letter you are focused on what you can do for your employer, your questions in an interview should usually be of this kind. The initial interview is not the time to ask about pay, time off or other benefits. Instead, ask questions about either the company culture or about how you can thrive. For example, a good question might be “If I were hired, what would the major deliverables be in the first three months?” or, “From your perspective, what is the biggest challenge I’d face in this position and what do you think are the biggest drivers in overcoming it?” You could also ask what the interviewer likes most about the company, if it seems appropriate. Do not inundate the interview with questions; try to keep it to or three, but make sure to ask at least one as it demonstrates interest.
So introverts, do not despair! With thoughtful preparation, you too can approach interviews with confidence that you are one step closer to finding the job of your dreams.