Interviews can be scary for any job seeker, but mix in an introverted personality type and they’re sure to warrant an inexplicable amount of stress and anxiety. In the current competitive job climate, a successful interview is essential to getting hired.
For many introverts, the thought of being compared to an extrovert can be daunting — especially in such a highly social exchange. Due to their personable and forward nature, extroverts are often the candidates of choice for many employers. But with the right kind of personal branding, any introvert can utilize their unique personality traits to make themselves stand out to potential employers.
Here are a few steps for introverts looking to showcase their personality and skills to employers, without changing who they are:
Strong research and preparation efforts can do wonders in easing your nerves prior to an interview. Focus on familiarizing yourself with everything there is to know about the company and the position, as well as memorizing your resume and talking points. The day before your interview, put together your interview attire, practice answering general questions, and organize any materials you’ll be bringing to your interview. Taking the initiative to prepare in advance will cut down on some of your stress.
Spend time exploring your qualifications, skills, and personality traits to define what you want to express to potential employers. As an introvert, this activity is especially important due to employers potentially making assumptions about your innate personality traits. If you know that your quietness could be seen as being shy or aloof, look for ways to address this during the interview.
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Sell Your Strengths
Many introverts struggle when it comes time to effectively sell themselves to employers. After your self-assessment, you’ll be able to piece together a variety of strengths to help you better market yourself to hiring managers during an interview. For example, explain how your exceptional listening skills have helped you in previous projects or with customer service successes.
Speak About What You’ve Been Praised For
Since it isn’t in an introvert’s nature to brag about their successes, introverted candidates should reiterate the praise they’ve received in previous positions. Interviewees will be more apt to show confidence when reporting factual statements, rather than speaking off the cuff about their personal successes.
Focus On Your Body Language
An interview is a time for hiring managers to get a feel for a candidate in a variety of different elements. Body language is one make or break area of an interview that introverts might find themselves struggling with. For better interview body language, develop a firm handshake, maintain strong eye contact, and focus on looking pleasant.
Have Confidence In Your Interview Style
Instead of focusing on what you could be doing better and over-analyzing before, during, and after your interview, show confidence in your interview approach. Take a step back and realize that your attentive style will set you apart from extroverted candidates who may be too chatty and lack the ability to make a connection.
Don’t let your introverted personality hold you back in interviews. Focus on branding yourself in a way that will leave employers wondering how they ever managed without you.
Are you an introverted job seeker? Share your interview tips below!
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.