We are all different. Some people strike conversations with total strangers like they have known each other all their lives while others would rather retreat into their shells, totally avoiding crowds and strangers. The first group is known as extroverts while the second is comprised of people known as introverts. Extroverted people seem to enjoy having company around them and they gel well with everyone and anyone. They can easily strike conversations and social gatherings are their forte.
On the extreme end, we have introverts; people who find small talk and meaningless conversations exhausting. They are totally uncomfortable in the presence of strangers and they take the time to develop conversations. Introverts avoid crowds and if they are stuck in a room full of people, they would rather retreat to a corner and sit quietly. Such people crave deep, meaningful conversations, especially with familiar people.
Interviews are an extrovert’s paradise but an introvert’s nightmare. However, there are certain practical interview tips for both introverts and extroverts, that can help both groups conquer interviews well.
Interview tips for Introverts
As an introvert, interviews are bound to be exhausting as they involve such mundane routines as questions and answers, conversations with total strangers and seemingly fake smiles, phony pleasantries and greetings. As much as they are a nightmare and you would rather avoid them, they are a necessary evil as they stand between you and your next job.
Prepare for small talk
Yes, you hate small talk and discussing on the mundane, like the weather, but the initial stages of a typical interview involve small talk as the panel tries to know you and vice versa.
As much as you would rather skip this part, you will have to go through it. Prepare by researching on typical interview questions so that you have your answers at hand. This helps you have suitable answers in mind.
As an added advantage, practice this with a friend and have at your fingertips a few introductory niceties. This will help you navigate the initial stages of the interview smoothly and boost your confidence.
Organize your day well
Introverts actually enjoy human company but not for too long as it drains them. They thus like to have a few minutes to hours with people after which they retreat to replenish their energy.
As such, make sure you know the time that the interview is scheduled and then take some personal time off. This will give you the mental energy you need to survive through the interview. After the interview, take some time off to also recharge. This will help to keep your energy levels stable.
Having some alone time before the interview helps you to store up enough energy to tackle the interview successfully.
Bring on board your listening skills
One strong trait that introverts have is the ability to listen and understand as they are not eager to answer but to understand what is being said. This can come in handy for you during the interview as you have time to organise your thoughts and answer the questions accurately with the minimum number of words.
Good listening skills allow you to understand exactly what the interviewer is looking for and you are thus able to give short, accurate answers, which ensures that you don’t talk a lot but you get to ace the interview.
Bring out your strengths
Being an introvert in a world that glorifies extroverts does not mean that you cannot thrive. Talk about your strengths and ensure that they match to the skills required for the job.
For example, introverts tend to be creative and intuitive so give examples of instances when your creativity brought about great results and show how you can continue with this trend.
Linking your skills to specific examples also makes it easy for you to bring out the best of you during the interview as it gives you a chance to actually get into a deep conversation about facts, something that introverts enjoy as it makes for stimulating conversation.
Apply for those jobs that are suited for introverts
As much as you would rather avoid human interaction, you will always need to work because bills must get paid. But, while at it, choose those jobs that will not require you to go out there often and have long interactions. Find some of these jobs here.
Jobs such as design work, social media management, accounting, and data entry are great for people who do not like to hold conversations on a regular basis. They allow you to work in silence as opposed to jobs such as teaching that need you to go out and have regular face-to-face interactions or jobs such as sales.
Jobs suitable for introverts allow you to have enough time and energy to be creative and you have a great chance to excel.
Change the interview into a conversation
The most unsettling thing for an introvert is being questioned. Most interviews take the form of interrogation and this can be draining. Instead of letting it turn into a question and answer session, how about turning it into a conversation that is deep and meaningful so that you get to bring out your strengths.
You can do this by highlighting specific projects that you have excelled in and linking your experience to the job on offer. The important thing is to show what you can bring to the table and as much as introverts do not like ‘gloating’, highlighting your skills and accomplishments is simply proving that you are the right fit for the job.
Interview tips for extroverts
Conversely, we have extroverts. People who can fit in any crowd and easily become the life of the party. They announce their presence loudly and they command attention. They just can’t seem to stop talking and they have a constant burst of energy. If not careful, extroverts can go overboard and this can get them disqualified. Here is how you can handle the interview successfully:
Understand the interviewer
Most extroverts are poor listeners and they tend to go on talking long after people have stopped listening to them.
During an interview, it is best to pay attention to what the interviewer is looking for and then try and match your skills to the job.
There is always the temptation to oversell yourself and go on talking until the interviewer interrupts. To avoid such an awkward situation, pay attention to how the interviewer structures the questions. For example, if they ask short, direct questions, keep your answers short and direct. If they ask long question complete with case scenarios, you can delve deeper with your answers but don’t go too far.
This helps you create a rapport with the interviewer while selling yourself appropriately.
Structure your responses into a few key points
It is always tempting to create a narrative just to prove how good you are at your job. This can, however, overshadow your main points and ultimately show no value to the interviewer.
Instead of going on and on about your accomplishments, narrow them down to a few key points that show your strengths and link them to the job at hand. Practice these points so that you do not get carried away during the interview, and this also helps you to organise your thoughts.
Keep personal information personal
The initial stages of an interview are marked with small talk that can invite an extrovert to go on and on about themselves, with the temptation of revealing too much.
Bear in mind that this is an interview and not a friendly chat. Focus on the interview question and try to keep your answers short and precise. This will help you to remain professional and not divulge information that can cost you the job. Even if it is during the initial stages of the interview that are more about small talk, try not to get carried away, by keeping your answers short.
Give the interviewer the chance to take the lead
As an extrovert, you may be used to taking the lead in conversation and being the natural storyteller in conversations. This may work out well when you are trying to create a rapport with strangers but no so during an interview.
Additionally, you want to let the interviewer set the tone for the interview so that you can know exactly what they are looking for so, always let the interviewer steer the conversation. When the interviewer takes the lead during the interview, they are likely to divulge information which can be helpful for you during the interview.
Do not interrupt the interviewer while they are talking
A conversation happens when you patiently listen to what another person is saying and then responding appropriately. However, an extrovert may be tempted to dive into the conversation when a bulb pops in their head.
Pause and listen to the interviewer, digest the question and then answer. Interrupting the interviewer indicates that you are impatient and that you do not let others express themselves, which is simply undesirable especially in team settings.
Apply for jobs that are best suited for extroverts
Nothing will drain you like having to spend a day seated alone in some office while just ‘talking’ to your computer’s screen. Extroverts derive energy from interactions and they get mental stimulation from conversations.
As such, they are best suited for jobs that require regular interaction such as sales, customer service and any job that has high human contact. If you are an extrovert and you want to aim for success, you can start by applying for those jobs that suit your personality type as it will be easy to bring out your personality in an interview.
In conclusion, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you can always find success by being self-aware and bringing out the best in you during an interview. The trick is to customise your personality type to the interview and then bring out your skills during your interview.