A few small changes can make all the difference!
Does it feel like the world is tailor-made for extroverts? You can spot them everywhere, from the kindergarten pickup line to a networking event. Give them a crowd, and they will dazzle with powerful first impressions, easy jokes, and a big personality.
It's no wonder that introverts can feel like they are at a disadvantage — especially when it comes to important social interactions. Take the job-search process, for example. It's so common for introverts to do a superb job at researching the position and polishing their resume. However, put them face-to-face with an interviewer — and suddenly they come across as unsure, timid, or even disinterested.
Is there a way to fix that?
Absolutely! Here are five practical tips to not only work around your introversion — but also make it shine.
Fight pre-interview anxiety with prep
Bad news: There is no way to completely eliminate pre-interview anxiety. Good news: Some jitters are actually good for your performance! They can jolt you awake, sharpen your focus, and give you a boost of energy.
However, you must keep that dose of nerves in check, and the best way to accomplish that is by preparing for the interview. Keep in mind that your prep should cover the company, the position you're interested in, and the technical questions you expect to be asked.
Finally, don't forget small talk. Many introverts miss this important step — then feel awkward as they frantically try to come up with natural-sounding icebreakers under pressure. Think of a few questions ahead of time, like asking about the interviewer's favorite hidden gems in the neighborhood.
Plan your interview day strategically
As an introvert, you do have some bandwidth for intense face-to-face interactions. However, you probably don't get energized by them.
So, build your day in a way that conserves your energy and allows you to muster and channel everything you've got into that one all-important interaction: your interview. Here are some tactical ideas to consider:
If you are energized by solo time, carve out a quiet block in the morning before the interview.
Fill that time with a simple activity that will put you in a state of flow — and get your mind off what's coming next. Go for a walk, wash the dishes, or work on a puzzle.
Allow yourself a block of time after the interview to decompress and recover. The job-search process often includes multiple interviews, and you can't afford to burn out before you get to that final offer.
Know your weak spots so you can meet the interviewer's expectations
This may require some mock interviews, practice time in front of a camera, feedback from other professionals you trust, and private reflection. For example, you might admit that your first impression isn't naturally impactful. Or maybe you aren't great at finding quick answers on the spot.
Naming your weak spots is an important first step toward developing workarounds for them. If you know that you can sometimes appear timid when you first meet someone new, you can intentionally amp up your energy to walk in with a louder-than-usual-for-you “Hi! It's so nice to meet you!” to offset your natural shyness.
Know your strengths so they can shine
Many introverts are powerful listeners, thoughtful strategists, and natural observers. Tap into those strengths during the interview.
Also, bring them up when you answer behavioral interview questions. Perhaps you naturally observe other people's pain points and come up with simple solutions. Maybe it's easy for you to take in everyone's ideas and create a vision that combines them all. Share examples of times when you've put those skills to great use — and your interviewer will see your introversion as a superpower.
Hire an interview coach
Preparing on your own or role-playing an interview with a friend is a great start. But if you are looking to up your game, consider hiring an interview coach. Your interview coach can help with mock interviews, interview strategies, salary negotiation, and much more.
Who can benefit from interview coaching? Most professionals would, but there are some situations when an interview coach can be especially helpful.
If you tend to get very anxious before an interview
If you get plenty of interviews — but no job offers
If it's been several years since you've last interviewed for a job
If there is a trouble spot in your history (like getting fired or changing jobs too frequently)
If you are heading into an interview for your dream job
An interview coach can be your secret weapon to receiving more, better offers and going the distance with less stress.
If you are thinking about hiring an interview coach, head over to TopInterview to learn more. You will get expert advice and real-time feedback — everything you need to feel confident and excited about your next interview!
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on our sister site, TopResume.