Sparkle. Sizzle. Personality-Plus. Employers are looking for people who stand out from the crowd. Who have enthusiasm and confidence usually found in extroverts. Extroverts aren’t afraid to meet new people and make small talk at networking events or professional meetings. They are great salespeople, managers and team leaders. They are the ones an interviewer remembers from a sea of candidates. But are they the best for the job?
HR Magazine featured Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” which promotes the value of introverts in the world and the workplace. For a quiet person, she has made quite an impact with her book, which has won awards and translate into over 30 languages. While extroverts are making a lot of noise and attracting a lot of attention, introverts are quietly thinking, enjoying the solitude away from the noise and excitement.
Introverts are often labeled as shy, unsure of themselves and lacking ideas. The reality is, introverts listen first. They are willing to listen to others’ ideas. They take more time to consider information, plan strategies and seek counsel before acting. While extroverts can spring to action, introverts take time to consider options first.
Introverts can lose out in an interview by trying to be extroverts. No matter how hard a person tries, is coached or just wishes it so, they can’t change their basic personality. It may be possible for a short time, but the longer an interview goes on the real person will come out. If you are an introvert, use it to your advantage. Here are some tips to impress at your next interview.
1. Prepare. Introverts need to think things through before responding. Taking too much time to respond or pausing before answering every question can give the wrong impression. Instead of being thoughtful, you can come across as unsure, timid or lacking the ability to respond confidently. Familiarize yourself with the job requirements and how they relate to your experience and skills. Try to anticipate questions an interviewer might ask, and prepare a response for each one. If you are stumped, respond with, “That’s an interesting question,” and then take a minute to formulate your answer.
2. Give specific situations or examples when asked behavioral interview questions. Extroverts may be able to snap off a quick answer with lots of flash, but specific situations well-spoken that demonstrate your abilities are impressive.
3. Interviewers are impressed with a candidate who comes prepared with a list of their own questions. Introverts take the time to think about the job and what they need to be successful. Research the company and the job and come prepared to interview the company. Turn the tables and show how you can do your homework and confidently take charge.
Many highly successful people, like Angie Hicks (founder of Angie’s List), Candace Bergen, and Warren Buffet admit to being introverts. They learned the skills needed to express themselves confidently when necessary, and in their cases, quite successfully. Anyone taking a job has to learn how to operate in a new environment, and introverts can use their thoughtful analytical skills and listening skills to size up an interviewer and confidently navigate a tough interview with calm confidence.
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