The Introvert’s Guide to Interviews
Your dream job is waiting for you… after completing a handful of lengthy interviews, charming future colleagues at a casual meet-and-greet, and sharing your accomplishments and accolades over (and over) again.
When you consider the hiring process, do you feel revved up and ready to go?
Or does the mere thought of it all leave you ready to curl up for a nap?
If you fall into the latter category, you’re likely an introvert. But you probably already know that…
Rigorous interview processes can be exhausting. But it’s enormously rewarding when you finally land your dream role with an employer you respect and culture that clicks. Being introverted is an asset that can (and likely has) serve you well in the workforce. And there are ways to use your strengths to ensure you have a comfortable interview experience, too.
Ready, set, go!
Find a list of common interview questions and prepare your answers in advance. Make a list of specific examples to highlight your skills and strengths. (And, if you’re scheduled for an online chat, take time to post them around your screen!)
Consider your proudest work accomplishment, your biggest failure (and lessons learned), and how you handled a difficult colleague or situation. Try a practice run with a trusted friend or record yourself and rewatch the video. Both give you an opportunity to say the words aloud and gain feedback on your content and delivery.
Think about your proudest work accomplishment, your most significant failure (and the lessons learned), and how you’ve handled difficult colleagues or situations in the past. Preparing concrete examples for these scenarios will help you respond confidently and effectively during the interview.
To further hone your interview skills, try a practice run with a trusted friend or record yourself and review the video. Both methods provide opportunities to articulate your thoughts, receive feedback on your content and delivery, and enhance your overall interview performance. Preparation and practice are key to standing out and making a lasting impression on potential employers.
Tell me about yourself…
An interview isn’t the time to be modest. Talking about yourself can feel uncomfortable, especially when there’s a focus on accomplishments and big career wins. But prospective employers want to get to know you. It’s necessary to share enough information to let the interviewer learn about you as a person, professional, and potential hire.
When discussing your achievements and experiences, remember that you’re not bragging; you’re demonstrating your value and suitability for the role. Be confident in highlighting your skills, accomplishments, and the impact you’ve made in your previous positions. Providing specific examples and quantifiable results can help paint a vivid picture of your capabilities and leave a strong impression on the interviewer. In an interview, showcasing your strengths and experiences is not only acceptable but essential in making a compelling case for why you’re the right candidate for the job.
Don’t just answer the question
As any good media trainer will tell you, don’t simply answer a question with “yes” or no.” Look for opportunities to elaborate and share stories that demonstrate the answer. For instance, when asked about your greatest strengths, say: “I am good at analysis. When I worked for… <insert specific example about analysis>.”
Expanding on your responses with concrete examples not only provides a more comprehensive answer but also engages the interviewer and allows them to better understand how your skills and experiences are relevant to the position. Stories and examples create a vivid and memorable picture of your qualifications, leaving a lasting impression that can set you apart from other candidates. So, seize the opportunity to showcase your abilities through storytelling during interviews.
Be an introvert
While some may argue that we live in an extrovert-friendly world, there is room for both the I’s and E’s at the table—evidenced by the 40% of CEOs who lean towards introversion. Own your introverted nature and share your attributes such as strong listening skills, reflective thinking, and keen ability to connect at an individual level across organizations.
Introverts bring unique strengths to the workplace, including their ability to listen thoughtfully, think deeply, and forge meaningful connections with colleagues and clients. These qualities can be invaluable in team dynamics, problem-solving, and fostering genuine relationships. Embracing your introverted nature and highlighting these strengths during interviews can demonstrate your self-awareness and your ability to contribute positively to the organization, ultimately setting you up for success in your career.
Embrace the pause
Ten seconds might feel like an eternity in a silent room, but it’s only ten seconds. When your usual style is to reflect deeply and reply to people later, rapid-fire questioning can overwhelm and frustrate you. Use the following techniques to give yourself time to gather your thoughts.
- Repeat the question thoughtfully (Use this one sparingly!)
- Say “That’s a great question. Let me think of a good example to share with you.”
- Let the interviewer know you’re reflecting and need a few moments to answer.
Fuel up for the occasion
Prepare ahead and figure out where you’re going, where to park/get off transit, and how much travel time is required to arrive early so you can conserve your day of energy. To calm your waiting room nerves, consider mindfully sipping water and practicing deep breathing techniques. Be ready to meet your interviewers eye-to-eye with a smile and a firm handshake.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Above all else, be yourself—the very self that got you this interview in the first place. Plan ahead to recharge your energy afterward and use your ability to reflect and persuade on an impressive thank you note!
Smart, Savvy + Associates is a recruitment agency that specializes in finding talent for marketing, communications, and creative roles. Since 2008, their team of marketers-turned-recruiters have successfully placed hundreds of qualified professionals into companies throughout Vancouver and the surrounding areas. Learn more about the company’s services or apply for one of the open roles on their job board.