Job interviews are nerve-wracking.
You must prove that you are the right candidate given your work history. You need to demonstrate that you will be easy to work with by being calm and collected. Maybe you even want to show some of your personality by sharing a personal story.
Juggling is difficult for anyone, but especially for introverts who may be more shy or a little more reserved, it can be especially difficult.
“One of the most common questions we get from job seekers who self-identify as ‘introverts’ is how to confidently talk about themselves, their skills and career achievements during an interview,” says Tony Frana, a leading career expert at job listing site FlexJobs.
Here are four interview tips for introverts.
One tactic that can help calm nerves as you prepare for and go into the interview is to reframe the conversation.
“Think of it as a get-to-know-you session,” says Yolanda Owens, career expert at job search site The Muse, for example. She adds that “a lot of people are used to doing this every day and it feels comfortable. They can do it in their sleep.”
She also suggests pretending, at least to yourself, that you already have the job and that the meeting is more about interviewing you about a possible upcoming project.
Whatever your approach, the idea is that reframing the situation can help reduce some of the tension.
“It’s not like an interrogation,” she says. “Feels more like a conversation.”
As with anything, preparation is key.
To start, “prepare what you’re going to say at the beginning of the interview and how you’re going to say it, keeping your tone confident, friendly, and professional,” says Frana. You don’t need to write an introduction and memorize it word for word, but write down a few ideas of how to get started and memorize them to give you some direction.
Think about the questions that often come up in job interviews and what the role entails. “Be as prepared as possible before your interview,” says Frana, “including conversations that can trip up unprepared candidates and make them second-guess or feel overwhelmed.”
Are there tools that would make the interview process easier for you?
Some people like to use visuals during presentations, for example, whether it’s slideshows or physical examples of their work. “I like to think out loud. I’ll carry a sketch pad with me and draw things as I talk,” Owens says.
“Approach in a way that feels more natural to you,” she says, and bring any necessary items that would make sense for an interview.
The benefit of this is not only that it can make you more comfortable in the interview, but that it can also give you an idea of the culture you may be entering.
“If they look down on you, you probably won’t feel comfortable working with them,” Owens says. “But if it’s something that’s embraced, then you know you’re going to be able to be your authentic self at work.”
There are also traits that come with being an introvert that are extremely useful for job interviews.
“Introverts are generally careful listeners who often have to think carefully about what they’re going to say before they speak,” says Frana. “If you’re faced with a challenging question or just need some extra time to find an answer, lean into your introverted nature.”
If a question comes up that you’re not sure how to answer right away, it’s a good idea to take some time to think about what you want to say. This can lead to a stronger response than saying whatever comes to mind right away. Try saying something like, “That’s interesting, let me take a second to think about it,” suggests Frana.
After all, Owens emphasizes that “there are no right or wrong answers in an interview.” Your only real responsibilities in this setting are to talk about your experience and assess whether this workplace will be the right environment for you.
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