The American culture is a bit contradictory about its approach to introverts and extroverts. A recent book, Quiet, discusses how we’re trained from an early age to be extroverts, the one who gets noticed. However, we’re also admonished not to brag about ourselves because that makes us appear arrogant. Most parents have told their children that nobody likes a braggart or a know-it-all. From that, we might take away that being an introvert is also prized.
Not really. Especially if you’re looking for a job.
Competing Against Others Takes Assurance
A job interview is not the place to be shy, to stumble over your answers, or claim that you’re nothing special. You need to present yourself as the most capable candidate for the position – a perfect fit.
Even though your resume may prove that, hiring managers want to be convinced face to face. If the thought of an interview makes your palms sweat, you still need to come off as assured. To do what’s necessary to get what you want. A great example of that is Rosa Parks. According to the book description of Quiet on Amazon, she, Dr. Seuss and Steve Wozniak (he co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs) were all introverts. That didn’t stop Ms. Parks from making a stand or Steve from reaching his dream.
It can’t stop you from performing well in an interview.
You Can’t Just Wing It
Too many candidates mistakenly believe that their enthusiasm and skills/knowledge/abilities will be obvious during an interview. That may be, if they don’t stammer or say something inappropriate because they’re so nervous, which generally comes with being an introvert. The only way to overcome this is through practice and knowing what to expect.
There are Scores of Interview Scenarios
Do you know the different kinds? Here’s a brief list:
- Behavioral interview: What is it? According to about.com “Behavioral interviews are based on the premise that a person’s past performance on the job is the best predictor of future performance. When a company uses behavioral interviewing they want to know how you act and react in certain circumstances. They also want you to give specific ‘real life’ examples of how you behaved in situations relating to the question.” That doesn’t sound too difficult, except it can be when you’re feeling pressured and searching for the ‘perfect’ answer under a time constraint.
- Lunch interview: Now that really sounds easy, doesn’t it? Until you consider what you should eat, whether you should order an alcoholic beverage, how you’ll be able to answer questions while you’re still chewing your food, and so on. This can be one of the most difficult interview scenarios to pull off well.
- Group interviews: That can mean that you’re either meeting a group of company representatives who will all interview you at the same time, or that you’re one of many candidates who is being interviewed simultaneously by the hiring manager. Both of these are highly stressful even for an extrovert. Introverts tend to freeze up and not present themselves well.
What’s Your Best Move?
- Practice with someone you know.
- Hire an expert interview coaching service.
Practicing with someone you know requires discipline. If it’s a loved one, that individual may be reluctant to tell you that you pause too long before your answers or that you have an annoying habit of cracking your knuckles when you’re anxious. Few outside of HR (Human Resources) know the exact questions to ask and what your responses should be, those that will benefit you most.
If you decide on a professional interview coaching service, keep these expectations in mind:
- The service should team you with someone who is either certified as a coach or has years of experience in helping job seekers prepare for interviews.
- These experts should be knowledgeable of your industry as many of the questions asked may pertain to the nuances of it.
Whatever you decide to do – using a friend, relative or an expert – you do need to practice prior to an interview. This holds true for extroverts and particularly for introverts.
ResumeEdge offers interview coaching services through JobInterviewEdge. Our coaches are either certified or have decades of experience in the field. They represent the 40+ industries we offer. In addition to interview coaching, ResumeEdge provides resume writing, resume editing, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles.