The other day we received a question from one of our readers, Chris, asking about tips for job interviews for introverts. While there are many types of interviews (phone interviews, face-to-face interviews, Skype interviews) if you’re an introvert they all seem challenging. Sometimes they feel insurmountably difficult, and the anxiety takes over. You freeze up, stammer, and lose out to a candidate less qualified, but more outgoing than you are. That’s not right! You don’t deserve to get shafted like that. You deserve enviable interview skills that build up your desirability as an employee. We’re here with ten of the handiest, most helpful job interview tips. Even if you’re not an introvert these will help you go above and beyond during your next meeting, coffee date, or networking opportunity!
1. Look the interviewer in their eyes.
This seems awfully scary at first, especially for introverts who might get overwhelmed easily, but it’s a tip that will make a difference in your interview persona. The more you can look into your interviewer’s eyes the more they’ll be able to trust you and see that you’re a confident, capable individual. Eyes are the things that tell us whether someone is being honest or scummy, and interviewers are always on the lookout for someone who can maintain eye contact with them.
2. Commit to professional speech patterns.
As introverts, we don’t always spend a ton of time interacting with people. Depending on how introverted we are, it might have been a while since we’ve had an interaction like an interview. Sometimes this means we’re out of practice in terms of our conversational skills. “Likes”, “uhms”, and “kind ofs” do not come off as very professional. While we respect the fact that people have their own style of speaking, we will say that it doesn’t serve to use a casual or diminishing style of speech in a professional setting. Clean up your speech and you’ll automatically be pushed to the top of the interview pack!
3. Dress to impress.
It might be shallow, but dressing yourself well shows a level of care and attention to detail that professional folks like to see. If you’re unsure of what the social context calls for (as sometimes introverts have better things to think about), feel free to reach out to someone and ask! No one wants to trust their business to a slob, which means you need to dress to impress. Invest in a nice, multi-purpose suit. Trust us… It’ll suit you!
4. Get to the point.
We mention this because sometimes in social settings nerves can take over, especially for introverts. Sometimes nerves means I’m-going-to-keep-rambling-until-something-stops-me. Sure, you want to impress your potential boss with how much experience you have, how personable you are, and how hilarious all your relevant anecdotes are. Unfortunately an interview is not the place to do this. At least not all at once! Share a few quick stories, but make sure you’re getting to the point of them; why they’re relevant and why you need to tell this tale.
5. Keep your posture aligned.
The phrase “sit up straight” is a misleading one. Parents everywhere have been fooling their kids into thinking that a straight back is a good back, when really the spine is naturally curved. The best posture to have is an aligned posture. Keep your chin slightly lifted, your shoulders relaxed back, and your chest up. This will not only show off your confidence, but you’ll also be able to sustain it much better than a “straight back”.
6. Stay relaxed.
Going off of our last point, another reason why the myth of the straight back is harmful is because it forces you to stay tense. The best way to go into an interview is relaxed, holding yourself with care and not worrying about anything and everything. This will also make you seem more personable and friendly, which will make the interviewer like you just that little bit more. It will also help improve your confidence, which can be important for interviewers.
7. Stay connected to your breath.
If you can’t feel yourself breathing, you can’t sense what your body is doing. When some introverts get nervous we have a tendency to get a little frantic with our breathing, panting or becoming light headed from not breathing enough. Give yourself a chance to ground yourself by making sure your breath is in your control.
8. Practice before you go in.
While there’s mixed reviews about the benefits of visualization, we believe there’s power in practice. There’s also the fact that for most introverts, it’s less scary going into a situation you’ve already experienced. Being able to see yourself doing well in an interview is almost as good as actually doing the interview, which makes the experience easier to get through. By going through the experience step by step, you’ll find yourself ultimately doing better than jumping in without any practice. Just be sure you’ll not getting sucked into imagining worst case scenarios… No one benefits from that!
9. Break down the steps involved.
It might seem scary to think of the whole process all at once. All of a sudden it turns into an event; the rest of your life depends on whether or not you impress someone who was pretty inconsequential to you before. The trick to not letting this get to you is taking the experience step by step. Start with the first thing: checking in with the receptionist, or finding the right room. Then move the next step: double checking your appearance and documents. Keep taking it moment by moment until you get through to the end… It’ll be so easy you won’t even realize it’s done!
10. Finally… Fake it!
Yes, you’ve probably heard the phrase before: Fake it ‘til you make it. The reason why this saying has stayed relevant for so long is because it really works! If you fake having the confidence of the next Meryl Streep you’ll eventually foster the confidence of being the next Meryl Streep, no matter how awkwardly introverted you might feel. You eventually trick your brain into thinking it actually is that confident and outgoing. The next step is to use it to your advantage. Walk in with confidence even if you’re not feeling it. No doubt you’ll walk out glowing, fooling them into thinking you’re a successful extrovert!