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Job Interview Strategies for Introverts

by Bronwyn Timmons

Introverts get their energy from solitary situations and typically feel drained by lots of social activity. This is in direct contrast with extroverts, who feel energized by social situations and drained by solitary environments. Introverts are often described as people who live inside their own minds, but it's important to note that introverts are not necessarily shy. Interviews are often stressful for introverts who may worry that their introverted nature hurts their chances of getting a job. However, by preparing carefully and utilizing your strengths as an introvert, you can ace your upcoming interview.

Practice

Many introverts struggle with the fast pace of job interviews. Introverts need time to collect their thoughts and formulate answers before responding, and worry that hiring managers expect an answer right away. If you struggle with thinking on your feet, you'll benefit from practicing before your interview. Have a friend or family member role play with you, and practice answering a variety of common interview questions. This will help you think of well-formulated responses for questions you'll likely be asked during the interview, and become more comfortable answering questions quickly.

Plan Ahead

CNN Money reports that introverts are typically avid and detailed researchers, so use this to your advantage. Learn about the company's history, mission and goals, and use the information as prompts to keep the conversation moving forward. Employers are typically impressed by candidates who have done their research, so it will give you an advantage over candidates who didn't bother to research. Make a list of any questions you have about the company or position. Asking questions is highly encouraged during interviews, and employers enjoy seeing candidates who are strongly interested in their companies. Print a copy of your resume for your personal reference to help you remember important points you want to bring to the interviewer's attention, such as specific skills you possess or your career-related accomplishments. Being well-prepared with your research, questions and resume in hand will keep your mind on track and prevent you from getting side-tracked by your own thoughts during the interview.

Play Up Your Strengths

Introverts are naturally good listeners, and you can use your active listening skills to your benefit. According to U.S. News Money, introverts usually come across as likable people because of their ability to listen. Show you're interested in what the interviewer is saying by making eye contact and acknowledging what he says. Listen for key words and phrases offered by the interviewer and work them into your responses when it's your turn to speak. Introverts are generally not ones for small talk, and this can be used to your advantage as well. By keeping the conversation focused on the job and your qualifications, you'll demonstrate that you're a driven and career-minded person. This could give you an advantage over extroverted candidates who may dominate their interviews with small talk.

Take Control

As an introvert, it's easy to allow the interviewer to control the pace and direction of the interview. But, it's essential that you're an active participant from start to finish, and that you retain partial control as you would in any other conversation. Take control by allowing yourself adequate -- but reasonable -- time to formulate answers for curve-ball questions you weren't expecting. Rather than rushing yourself to throw out an answer off the top of your head, CNN Money advises that it's OK to tell the interviewer you need a moment to think about it. This could appeal to the interviewer, as it shows you're one to think before you act and you'd be unlikely to make impulsive -- and possibly costly -- decisions as an employee.

Tips

Introverts often struggle with feeling like they're bragging when talking about themselves. Let go of this perception before the interview, and realize that sharing your qualifications is simply a way of reporting facts. This will prevent you from holding back and failing to mention important accomplishments or skills you possess that could increase your chances of hire. Smile when you speak, as it will make your voice sound friendlier and will help you feel more confident. If you tend to come across as shy during conversations, think about things that excite you in your career and bring them up. Talking about skills you're proud of or tasks you enjoy doing will showcase your enthusiasm and help you open up.

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