Nearly everyone finds interviews stressful, but they can be particularly tough for introverts. People with this personality trait struggle when put on the spot, and also can have difficulty with small talk and self-promotion.
Interviews, where interviewers can make quick judgments of candidates, tend to favor extroverts, who often are very charismatic, are skilled at thinking on their feet, and make a solid first impression. If you're one of the roughly 50% of people who identify as an introvert, don't despair. You can still ace the interview.
How to Prepare for an Interview as an Introvert
For introverts, it's particularly essential to prepare for interviews thoroughly. Below, find techniques and advice to help even the most reserved and self-effacing introvert shine during the interview.
Schedule Your Time Wisely
Since social situations and meeting new people can be taxing for introverts, avoid interviewing at several companies on one day. You want to have all your energy available to devote to a single company and interview.
If you're currently employed, consider calling out sick from your job so you can focus on the interview. Or, schedule your interview for the morning, so it doesn't come at the end of a workday, when being social can feel more taxing.
Often, you will need to interview with several people for a job. If that happens, don't be shy about requesting a quick break between conversations. Use this time get a drink of water, take some deep breaths, and give yourself a pep talk.
Do Your Research
Before the interview, spend time researching the company. You can look at their website, as well as search online for recent news and press releases about the company. On the job site Glassdoor.com, you'll find reviews of companies, as well as insider tips on interviewing. If you have a recruiter, ask them for tips on what to expect during the interview.
It's also acceptable to ask the person scheduling the interview how long conversations usually take, and for the names and titles of the people you will meet with. Use this information to find their profiles on LinkedIn. All this research will help you visualize the interview. You will feel less stressed if you have a sense of what to expect.
Prepare for Typical Questions
Do you need a lot of time to digest and formulate an answer? For introverts, being put on the spot and forced to answer on the fly can be deeply uncomfortable. While some interview questions may be curve balls, many are easy to anticipate.
Review a list of common interview questions. Stand in front of a mirror and practice your answers. While it may make you cringe, this practice can help you improve your answers.
As well as having answers in mind for expected interview questions, you can also plan ahead for what you'll say if the interviewer asks if you have any questions.
Have Stalling Techniques at Hand
Even with a lot of practice, it's possible interviewers will ask you an unexpected question. Plan ahead for this situation by practicing stalling techniques. You can buy yourself time by saying something like "Great question. Can we circle back to that one?" Find out more tips on how to respond to unexpected interview questions.
Prepare for Small Talk
Between introductions and formal interview questions, there is sometimes small talk. Remember, first impressions during interviews are very important. Come prepared with a line or two about the weather, or some praise or commentary on the office. Be upbeat, positive, and engaged during these conversations.
Sell Your Introvert Qualities
Many of the qualities that introverts tend to possess are absolutely essential to having a successful company. Introverts are typically detail-oriented, creative, thoughtful, and work well both independently and collaboratively. Given time to prepare, introverts can shine in meetings and presentations.
Before the interview, make a list of your accomplishments. Consider ways your introversion may have been helpful. Did you doggedly finish a project that others abandoned after the launch? Solve a thorny problem after reflecting on it? Quietly mentor and support fellow employees? Bring up these instances during your interview.
Follow these tips, and you'll be sure to knock the socks off your interviewer! Once you land the job, make sure to review our tips for introvert-focused tips for starting a new position.