Sometimes it seems that most of the business world—and much of our lives for that matter—are designed for the extraverts among us. Our extraverted friends seem to have an inherent advantage when it comes to hosting and attending events, meeting new people and networking, and… interviewing. Consider the following:
- Introverts prefer to listen, but a successful interview is when you are doing most of the talking.
- The face-to-face nature of the interview demands quick responses. Extraverts will have an answer for almost any question. Introverts like to think before they speak, and may come off as slow, indecisive, deceitful, or unaware of their strengths and abilities.
- Extraverts become energized with people around, while introverts just become exhausted. This can affect both mental energy and enthusiasm, especially in longer multi-round interviews.
But Consider the Advantages Too!
Though it seems extraverts would have an advantage in an interview, there are certain aspects of the process that benefit introverts. In fact, some of the same things that are a disadvantage can also become an advantage. For example:
- Introverts think (a lot) before they speak. This is an opportunity to present yourself well.
- You are better at being concise therefore you are much less likely to ramble on and on off topic.
- Introverts will have an easier time focusing the conversation to go in a desired direction. If you know what information you want to share ahead of time, you will likely remember it and bring it up.
Tips for Performing Your Best at Your Next Interview
1. Schedule a day of introspection. Think about your career, your goals, and your past experiences. Organize your achievements, accolades, and work samples. Consider drawing a diagram, writing an article about your career, or simply putting together a portfolio. Even if you never show it to anyone, it can help you organize your thoughts in a way that can be communicated quickly and easily.
2. Take advantage of your preference for written communication. Go one step further and actually present that diagram, work sample, portfolio, or website to the person interviewing you. You never know, they might be an introvert as well.
3. Memorize the things you want to say, but stay conversational. This can often be the introvert’s biggest weakness in an interview—an awkward conversation will leave a negative impression. One way to make it less so is to practice telling stories. Another is instead of asking your questions toward the end of the interview, ask them throughout as you give your answers.
4. Don’t forget about body language. Extraverts tend to be naturally expressive which often comes across as enthusiastic. Find a way to show you are excited about the position—smile, lean forward, laugh. Don’t try to hide nervousness by distancing your emotions. Do reframe your nervousness as excitement—same physical signs, but a different mental outlook.