An Introvert’s Guide to Surviving Job Interviews
Introverts and job interview are words that shouldn’t be combined in the same sentence. But alas, the real world shows us that in order to find a job or to move up the career ladder, we have to go through the scrutinizing process of sitting down for an interview.
As much as we want to stay in our beds all day cuddling a book or marathoning TV shows, we need to go out and make a living. But first, we have to survive a job interview or two.
After going through tons of articles sharing tips on how I can ace it, I realized that it’s easier said than done. Functioning flawlessly in social situations is not exactly your forte, so carrying a conversation with new people freaks you out way more than it should.
There are tons of interview tips floating online, but they often fly over your head. Sell yourself, they say. Be confident, they say. But how exactly are you going to do that especially when you are an introvert?
Learn everything you can about the company and the position.
Before going to your appointment, educate yourself about the company you plan to join. A number of interview questions can revolve around your knowledge of the company and the field it belongs to. It’s best to come prepared instead of not knowing what to answer.
Think of it as going to war with a battle plan. You need to know your enemies, or in this case—your employer. It gives you an overview of what they expect from you and what exactly can you do to give them exactly that.
Though being candid has its points, for an introvert coming up with a prepared set of answers can be a life-saver.
Leave your inhibitions at home.
How in the world are you supposed to do this? For starters, stop thinking that you’ll make a mess of yourself in the interview. Instead of thinking that you’ll say all the wrong things, focus on what you need to convey to your interviewer.
However, stop worrying and start killing it. If you don’t worry too much, you won’t fret over the little details that will kill your self-esteem and make you too nervous to properly converse with the interviewer. Basically, stop over-thinking.
Speak loudly and calmly.
When nervous, it’s easy to crawl back inside your shell and mince on your words. But in order for you to be understood, speak properly. If I tell you to not stutter, you’ll probably look at me silly. It’s in situations like this that stuttering is the most normal thing that can occur. But it shouldn’t be like that.
Allow yourself to consider the question carefully before giving your answer. Say what you have to say in simple words. You’re not writing an essay, so you don’t really have to impress them with your wide vocabulary. Just like in writing, avoid using flowery words and just go straight to the point.
Don’t be pressured to be all chummy with the interviewer.
Right after college, I went for an interview for one of the national dailies. Aside from being scared to death of facing the big names of the publications, I was pressured to do well in the interview after hearing previous applicants laugh merrily with the interviewer. The thought that I couldn’t be as engaging in conversations affected my confidence. Suffice to say, I failed the interview.
Though winning over the interviewers with your charm is ideal, being best friends with them shouldn’t be the end goal. It’s enough that you answer the questions fully in a composed manner. You can be witty, but it shouldn’t be your only concern. Forcing yourself to say something to make the interviewer laugh can only result in embarrassing situations.
Introverts take a while to warm up to new people. But don’t worry, you’re not expected to do so in your interview.
Expand your knowledge and skills necessary in your field.
As much as it’s important to know your strengths, you must also have a clear idea about your weaknesses. You will always be asked about this two, and it’s often the most difficult to answer. What if your weakness is a crucial requirement in the position?
Once you know your weakness you can find a way to turn it into your strength. For example, you know that your field has many dimensions and you don’t have enough practice in the skills required to excel in it. Instead of settling for the practice you have in your previous work or the knowledge taught to you in school, have the courage to explore on your own.
Don’t settle with what’s given to you, but find a way to build on your foundations to further hone your talents even without anyone’s guidance.
While you can stick to what you’re confident in, and it’s also necessary to see how you can work around where you’re lacking. Yes, you have a weakness. Now, what are you going to do about it?