Finding for a new job can be a challenge, even for the most gregarious person. But what if you’re an introvert seeking a new career opportunity? "How to interview" becomes a daunting prospect, if not a vivid nightmare. If you’re used to spending time alone or with trusted friends — and you typically find social activities to be exhausting — you’ll want to do some extra prep work so you can play to your strengths while making a stellar first impression. Here are 4 powerful strategies to help introverts succeed during the job interview process:
Think carefully when it comes time to schedule your interview. If you’re a morning person, try to arrange the majority of your appointments for early in the day; if you tend to feel best as the sun goes down, consider a late-afternoon meet-up or a post-work dinner. Either way, make sure to plan your day so that you aren’t socially depleted by other obligations before interview time. You can even take a vacation day from your current position if necessary.
Try to arrive with some extra time before you’re expected for the interview. Find a quiet space to collect your thoughts or listen to soothing music, or take a quick walk around the block—whatever will keep your energy level up. Plan for some quiet time after the interview, too, to help you recharge.
Not everyone you meet during your interview will be an extrovert: Ad firms have outgoing client account managers but also thoughtful creatives who write copy and design graphics. Either way, use your finely-honed listening skills to draw your interviewers out. Prepare some questions designed to elicit thoughtful responses, and be sure to show genuine interest in the answers. Asking questions and follow-ups will endear you to fellow introverts and will get extroverts to give you valuable information about the job.
Introverts tend to dislike small talk and get nervous in situations that demand it, but small talk is essential when people are meeting for the first time and helps pave the way for more substantive discussions. Ask a good friend to role-play with you so you can practice introductory chit-chat.
With a little practice and preparation, you’ll be ready to ace the interview — in your own unique and reflective way.