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4 Ways Introverts Nail Job Interviews Without Pretending To Be Extroverted

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If you’re an introvert like me, you probably find interviews nerve-wracking, frustrating, or even torturous. We truly know that we’re as capable as our extroverted peers. But the truth is that desirable job are taken by them. One after another.

This scenario may be familiar to you. You’re in the interview room with three other candidates to compete for your dream job. From the vibes and the body languages of your opponents, you can sense that they’re typical extroverts. They look confident without the slightest sign of anxiety, as if they were having a gathering with their old friends. But you just feel uncomfortable in this unfamiliar environment. Just the thought of interacting with a group of new people already makes you feel drained. You force yourself to wear a smile and convince yourself that you’re the best actor in the world. Pretending to be extroverted for the following hour is just a breeze for you. Right?

The group discussion starts. Candidate A takes the lead to throw out ideas. The pace of the interview is totally under his control. He dominates the setting like a leader. One-third of the interview has passed, then you finally contribute a great idea. The interviewers keep nodding their heads to show appreciation of your answer. Just a while later, candidate B interrupts and casts doubt on your idea. While you’re still thinking how to respond to her properly, she acts quickly and bombards you with another question. You notice that candidate C struggles a bit with the topic being discussed. But when he starts speaking, everyone just can’t keep their eyes off him. He smiles handsomely. His intonation and gestures are so engaging that everyone immediately likes him and even seems to want to be his friend after the interview has ended.

After you step out of the interview room, you can’t stop reflecting on the performance of your group. You can’t deny that your extroverted peers have their own edges you can learn from. But you’re sure that you’re the best candidate for the position. Not only does the quality of your ideas trump theirs, but also your introversion enables you to handle a job that involves a lot of independent work and attention to detail. A week later, you receive a rejection letter. You know that one of your extroverted peers gets the job you’ve longed for. At that moment, you feel like your confidence evaporates, and you question if today’s society knows how to appreciate the qualities possessed by introverts.

How to nail interviews even they’re not favorable to you

Yes, it can be frustrating to think that interviews are not a favorable setting for introverts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t perform well while interviewing. The first thing you need to do is abandoning the thought that you need to pretend to be extroverted to win the entrance ticket to your dream job. Actually, almost half of the population is introverted.[1] Your tribe is everywhere in the world. Even the interviewers you dread are probably introverts. They DO know the power of introversion. You just need to demonstrate it with these 4 tricks:

1. Make personal connections

Introverts easily make others think that they’re not participatory or engaged in interviews. The main reason is that they don’t feel comfortable to maintain constant eye contact with the people they first meet. And sometimes they unknowingly exhibit gestures that mislead others to think they’re not friendly or reluctant to social interactions.

To avoid sending the wrong messages, before entering the interview room, you can associate the interviewers you’re going to meet with your old friends and tell yourself that they’ll definitely like you. The mild adjustment of mindset can make you feel more connected to them. During the interview, you can demonstrate your strength of connecting with individuals by switching your eye contact between each interviewer from time to time. This can make you feel more calm without making any one of the interviewers feel left out.

2. Take your time answering questions

Another problem introverts commonly have in interviews is that they can’t respond to questions as quickly as extroverts. Science has proven that the brains of introverts and extroverts are wired differently.[2] Although introverts are better at thinking deeply, they need more time to organize their complex way of thinking.

If you really need some time to think before you speak, it’s definitely fine to tell interviewers you need a moment to formulate your ideas. It’s a common misconception that quick response means good answers. You can make up for the time you lose with high quality answers, which demonstrates you have a more detailed mind than your extroverted peers.

3. Take self-discussion as sharing, not bragging

Unlike extroverts, introverts are less fond of sharing their thoughts with others instantly. They like to examine whether their thoughts are valid or consistent with their values before they speak. If you’re the introvert who equates talking about your achievements with bragging, you may find promoting yourself in interviews embarrassing and try to avoid it. And so, interviewers can’t see how you’re a strong candidate.

Talking about your achievements does not have to become bragging. Instead of stressing how capable you are explicitly, you can tell interviewers what you have learned from your experiences and how you can make use of your knowledge to contribute to the position you’re applying for. You can also talk about how you would keep honing your existing skills after you get the job.

4. Dare to show your introverted side

I don’t know why many people hold the misconception that we must act in interviews to get through them. The more outgoing, talkative, and pleasant you are in interviews, the more likely you will be liked by interviewers and get the job. Of course, everyone likes working with someone with the qualities I just mentioned. But how long you can put on the persona? It would be a bad idea that you fake your way through the interview to land a job not suitable for you.

So just be yourself.[3] When you’re asked about your strengths and weaknesses, for example, you can acknowledge that, as an introvert, you find written communication more effective to you (of course, you’ll also tell interviewers how you will improve face-to-face communication with your colleagues). And then you can highlight the positive aspects of your introverted nature, like being a great listener and observer, something which your extroverted peers may lack. By showing who you genuinely are, you can behave more naturally and perform better in interviews.

Just as Susan Cains writes in her famous book “Quiet : The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”,[4] many introverts possess extraordinary talents and abilities that the world hasn’t discovered. That’s why you need to take a bold step forward to show your true colors to everyone, especially in settings you find dreadful. If I can do it, I believe you can do it as well!


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