Don't forget about introverts

Career Advice
09 May 2017 | Career Advice | Guest Author

It sometimes seems like introverts have the odds stacked against them during job interviews. Because of their reserved nature, they don't usually make as big an impact as an extrovert on first impression and are sometimes unable to answer questions as quickly as their more outgoing counterparts. Job candidates need not worry though. Just because interviews are a challenge, it doesn't mean they'll never be a success. Here Claire Leigh, managing director of Staffordshire and Cheshire recruitment agency, Brampton Recruitment provides five tips that will help introverts nail their next job interview.

The definition of an introvert is someone that is shy and contemplative. However, it might surprise you to know that one third of the population, and 70 per cent of chief information officers (CIOs), have introverted personality traits. Famous introverts include Barack Obama, Steve Wozniak and J.K Rowling, proving that being reserved doesn't mean you're doomed for failure. When preparing for your next job interview, follow these five simple steps to impress your potential employer, no matter which characteristics you possess.

Take a breath

When asked a question during a job interview, don't feel like you have to give an immediate answer. Take your time, digest the question and formulate your response well.

If you're struggling to answer, have a drink of water while you think. Typically, we stammer when we are trying to find the right words, but this will prevent you from feeling the need to fill the silence.

Set yourself up for success

Knowing what questions you are likely to face in an interview puts you in a more confident position. Prepare examples of work related to the skills and experience required for the role and share these with your interviewer. This way, you can expect to lead the conversation for a large chunk of your interview.

Most introverts find that they possess a creative flair. If you do, make sure that this shows in your examples. If you can express your personality through your portfolio, you won't feel under as much pressure when chatting to the interviewer.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

No matter what personality traits you have, it's wise to research the company you're hoping to work for and anticipate what they're likely to ask before heading to the job interview.

This is especially important for introverts, who generally prefer to think before they speak. Use the days before the interview to do most of your thinking, write down the questions you anticipate your interviewer to ask, then rehearse what you would like to say. You can rehearse in the mirror, in the shower, or with a family member or friend that you feel comfortable working with.

You might dislike asking questions, but it's important to have a few prepared to show your interest in the role. If you're really struggling, ask what a typical day at work would involve. This is a good starting point for a more in-depth discussion about the role you're applying for.

Smile

Pay attention to your body language throughout the interview. Leaning forward shows that you are paying attention and interested, while crossing your arms sends out the message that you are closed off and unapproachable. Most importantly, remember to smile. When you're under pressure, it's sometimes hard to pay attention to these things. They are important though, so make a mental note to become a master of body language.

It's okay to be introverted

In the interview, you should highlight your strengths as an introvert. This doesn't mean blurting out that you find meetings too stimulating, or you don't like being interrupted while working. Just be sure to share the qualities that make you an asset in the workplace, like excellent written communication skills, independence and creativity.

Discussing your strengths is also more convincing when you relate them to specific examples, so mention the project that your manager trusted you to handle alone, how well you worked in a team of people or a similar task you have handled well.

Remember, the interviewer could be an introvert herself, and might well understand that you find that type of situation difficult. The most important tip is to go into the interview believing that you can succeed.

If there is a definitive a role model for introverts, it's Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein, who once said, "The monotony and solitude of a quiet life simulates the creative mind."

What you may lack in confidence, you'll almost certainly make up for in other skills and qualities as Einstein did in with passion for physics. When walking into your next interview, remember that you have plenty to sell about yourself and that being an introvert doesn't make you unemployable, but gives you valuable skills that many others don't have. You are standing on the shoulders of giants, from Barack Obama, Steve Wozniak and J.K Rowling and Albert Einstein.

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