Reserved Personality? How to Shine when Interviewing

October 7th, 2015

So, you’re shy, introverted or anxiety prone. It happens to the best of job hunters … but it doesn’t make the situation any less challenging.

About 25 percent of the population are considered introverts. And while introversion varies in style and intensity, they often feel alone in their desire to be alone.

The job search process, by its very nature, is generally stacked in favor of the extroverted. During an interview, it’s up to you to convey information to an employer and to make yourself stand out among the competition. Reticence, long pauses or silence may hurt your chances. Prospective employers want to see and hear enthusiasm – and that can be hard for an introvert to convey.

The good news is: Social skills essential to interviewing success can be taught. They may never feel 100 percent natural, but you can learn them – and successfully execute them.

Tips to Overcoming Introversion

Think of your job interview as an acting job. Introverts tend to be astute observers of human behavior – so just knowing how to play the game is helpful.

  • Stop apologizing for being who you are. Find your strengths and get to know them so well that they are all you think of. You may never be comfortable in certain settings, but you can learn to function successfully in them.
  • Go easy on yourself. Don’t defeat yourself or argue for your limitations. Introverts tend to analyze every moment and be overly sensitive to any possible mistakes they may have made. You’re not a mind reader, so don’t try to guess what interviewers are thinking or presume how a situation will turn out. In the word of author Anais Nin, “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we
  • Focus on your successes. The more you know about your strengths, the less you’ll be inclined to focus on your challenges. When asked the classic, “What is your greatest weakness?” question, say something like, “I tend to have an understated style. So I’ve learned to give my feedback explicitly when needed, and I encourage others to ask me if I haven’t been perfectly clear.” Mention that you don’t tend to over-talk, but are a good listener, which is a solid strength.
  • Practice before interviews, in front of a mirror, with a good friend, on video or using your computer webcam. The more you do something, the less foreign and nerve-wracking it becomes.
  • In a group interview, concentrate on one person at a time. Pay attention to the individual asking the question. But make sure you make eye contact with everyone in the room when answering. Resist the temptation to always look at the primary person while ignoring the others. Find the friendly faces – there are almost always one or two.

If you struggle with shyness or introversion, you can benefit by partnering with a professional career coach from Select Group, Inc. We know how important it is to make the right career move, and we can provide the guidance and expertise you need to ace your interviews – by just being you. Contact us today to search our job bank, submit your resume, or learn more about what we can offer.

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