4 Ways to Ace a Job Interview as an Introvert
Our fave celebrities such as SZA, Zendaya, and even the notoriously silly Jennifer Lawrence identify as introverts, and if they can become wildly successful in their respective lines of work, then you can too. Introverts actually have a number of characteristics that can be leveraged in the workplace, but the first step is getting hired by way of an interview. Interviews, by nature, possess three things introverts tend to avoid: small talk, bragging, and quick thinking. Kat Cohen, founder and CEO of IvyWise, a company that provides tutoring and admissions counseling for students, assures us that these hurdles can be easily handled with the right preparation (something introverts are good at!).
1. Do above-and-beyond research. The recommended research for extroverts usually just entails reading the company’s website and recent press releases, scouring its social media accounts, and scrolling through reviews on platforms such as Glassdoor. But introverts should take it a step further: Cohen suggests they find out who they’ll be meeting with at the interview and review that specific employee’s background and role. Because introverts usually have an aversion to pleasantries, this could provide them with some solid talking points (“Oh, you grew up in a small town too?”). Moreover, this prior knowledge could lend itself to a more meaningful, memorable conversation once it progresses. “Having an understanding of each person’s background and role within the company will help candidates prepare for more specialized questions and brainstorm nuanced points to discuss with each contact,” Cohen explains.
2. Reflect on prior experiences and achievements. Usually, introverts’ modesty is something to admire, but not in the office of a potential employer. “Self-promoting and discussing prior achievements is an essential component to virtually every job interview,” says Cohen. “Job applicants should reflect on projects they have excelled in, competencies they have acquired, and the concrete impact they have had on their current organization.” If you’re having a hard time coming up with any accomplishments, use your resume as a reference and go from there. As silly as it seems, Cohen actually urges introverts to write down their most noteworthy achievements on what she calls a “brag sheet” and then bring that piece of paper to the interview to peek at right beforehand.
3. Practice, practice, practice. Yes, we mean with another person. “This step may not be necessary for more extroverted candidates who feel comfortable coming up with responses on the fly,” Cohen says, “but most introverts will benefit from practice interviews.” Brainstorm a list of common interview questions, craft thoughtful responses to each, and then say them out loud. If you’re feeling particularly nervous, there’s no shame in practicing the small-talk portion of the process either. Cohen recommends preparing answers about what you did that weekend or day as well as your hobbies and background. “Avoid one-word answers and instead strive to share a little bit of your personality with a hiring manager,” she advises.
4. Own your introversion. Interviewing as an introvert isn’t all bad. In fact, introverts have tons of tendencies that make them perhaps even better equipped for certain roles and responsibilities than extroverts. Capitalize on these traits. “The best thing introverts can do during an interview is be true to themselves,” Cohen says. “Introverts are generally good listeners, creative thinkers, skilled problem solvers, and keen observers, all of which can be incredibly beneficial in the professional world.” So do what you do best and listen to Cohen — you’ve got this!
Introverts, how do you win over your interviewers? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)