Being an Introvert in an interview doesn’t put you at any sort of disadvantage, but there may be a few areas where you could focus, especially if you’re shy, find it difficult sparking conversation, or just find the interview process daunting. We’ve seen a lot of press lately around Introverts and how they should jump in more, get in with the crowd and generally try and act more ‘Extraverted’, but actually there’s an upside to being a natural ‘listener’ rather than a natural ‘talker’. So here are some key areas which we think highlight the value of being an Introvert in a job interview.
1) Remember, it’s a mutual meeting
People often get caught up over the concept of an interview, like they’re going to have the spotlight shone on them and ‘mess it up’, but actually an interview is nothing more than a meeting. True, they are checking you out and making sure you have what they’re looking for, but actually you’re probably doing them same thing. Approach the interview as a great opportunity to find out more. If you’re genuinely excited about the organisation, it’ll show through the questions you ask. Having a look through the organisation website is the same as them looking through your CV – questions will naturally present themselves. Note the areas which interest you the most and use the interview as an opportunity to dig deeper.
2) Make notes
Making notes in an interview is a great way of demonstrating that you’re interested, serious about the job and well prepared. Everyone takes notes in different ways, so only make notes if it’s going to be useful. You’ll find if you have a notepad there, you will naturally make notes, and if there are any points you want to get back to after the interview, they won’t be lost. Making notes also highlights your reflective side, and shows that you take information away to process in your head later. Silence can be dangerous, as people will fill it with an opinion (are they not interested? thinking about something else?), but if you’re making notes it shows through the silence that everything is ‘going in’ and being taken seriously.
3) Watch your posture
If you’re shy, you might naturally sit in a more reserved pose with closed body posture, such as arms folded or with your hands in your pockets. This doesn’t just send a message that you’re not feeling confident, but it will actually make you feel less confident as well. In the previous point we mentioned making notes and this will naturally sit you in a more confident, ‘interested’ position (you tend to sit forward when making notes). This isn’t a point to go overboard – sitting with your arms spread out will most likely send the wrong message – but just make sure you’re sitting up straight, head up, and you’ll send the right message and feel a lot better in the interview.
Asking questions is a great trick for quiet Introverts in many situations. If you’re worried about silence, ask a good open (those that don’t just lead to ‘yes’ or ‘no’) question and suddenly the other person is talking which takes some of the pressure off of you. Asking questions in an interview also shows you’re genuinely interested in the organisation and it’s a great way of demonstrating knowledge. Only ask questions to which you genuinely want to know the answer (as it’ll show if you ask questions for the sake of it) and develop a gauge for when is the right time to ask (after all, you don’t necessarily have to wait until the ‘are there any questions’ part at the end).
Find out as much as possible about the job and about the organisation. Have a look at their social media feed if they have any, read their blog. If it’s a large company, see if there’s any news about them on other news websites or blogs. The night before is a great time to do this, as the information will be up to date and any questions you may want to ask will still be fresh in your head.
Finally, don’t forget, through any worry or anxiety, to enjoy the interview too. If it’s the right job for you, you’ll gel with the people and time will fly.