The Quiet Assassin: How to Ace that Job Interview – as an Introvert
Job interviews tend to hold a special place in hell for introverts. Small talk, self-promotion, over-stimulation. . . the list of challenges is long. Can quiet folk triumph against the odds? Liz Willoughby-Martin says yes.
Introversion has undergone a HUGE makeover since Susan Cain’s Quiet came
crashing tiptoeing onto the non-fiction scene in 2012. But despite massive changes in public perception around this personality trait, many biases remain.
One of the final frontiers? Job Interviews.
Succeeding at a job interview depends on creating rapport quickly, talking the talk and self-promoting like a skilled politician, skills introverts tend to find a little challenging.
So, can you ace a job interview as an introvert? The answer is a
resounding muffled yes. Here are nine tips to make your interview a success, accompanied by photos of our favourite fictional introverts. We’ve got this, quiet folk!
#1 Carve out space in your mind palace
We introverts do best with fully charged batteries. That’s why you should book in time out for yourself: both before and after your interview. How can you carve out space in your ‘mind palace’?
- Ask your Mum to drive the kids to school.
- Take the afternoon off work.
- Worse case scenario? Spend five minutes meditating in a bathroom cubicle.
#2 Do your research
Introvert stereotypes include books, cats, internet, tea, coffee, cancelling friend dates and hiding in our apartments all weekend.
Use your Hermione-like inclinations and get seriously clued up on the company you’re wooing.
The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll feel. Accio, job!
#3 Win at first impressions
Create a strong first impression by sorting the basics:
- Eye contact. Tick!
- Friendly greeting. Tick!
- Warm smile. Tick!
- Firm handshake. Tick!
When you’ve smashed these four steps, it’s time to wow them with your superpowers.
#4 Use your superpowers
The flip-side to thriving on alone-time? Introverts have natural superpowers like attention to detail, deep connection, perception, creativity and focus. Use these powers for your own good. Share:
- Your in-depth knowledge of the software you’ll be using.
- Questions that show how deeply you’ve been listening.
- A creative solution to an issue they’re having.
#5 Re-frame small talk as social ritual
Small talk is an essential part of job interviews. We can’t change it, so let’s re-frame it as social ritual.
Instead of thinking ‘let’s get through this,’ try ‘I’m human, and you’re human. Let’s be humans together.’ Hold this in mind to transform painful interview small talk into meaningful social ceremony.
This tip is taken from Sarah Jones at Quiet Revolution.
#6 Not a smooth talker? Use real life examples
Do you find self-promotion as difficult as killing deadly aliens? Instead, focus on sharing specific details of previous tasks, roles and projects.
Tell them how:
- You gained 300 ‘Save the Slaters’ supporters in January.
- You completed 34 funding applications in 2017.
- You taught yourself HTML in 5 days.
#7 Not enthusiastic? Show your commitment
Interviewers are looking for enthusiasm. They want to know that you are excited about the role and have the drive to do the necessary work long-term.
If you’re not naturally emotionally expressive, tell them how this job aligns with your:
- Long-terms goals – “I‘ll gain the skills I needs to become a pro racer.”
- Daily routines – “I’ve worked out my commute.”
#8 Don’t say the word ‘introvert’
While I wholeheartedly embrace introversion, some people still think introverts are total recluses, anti-social or just plain weird. “But… you’re so friendly!” say new acquaintances, as if introversion and friendliness were incompatible.
Just in case, don’t use the ‘I’ word in a job interview. You can provide Introvert 101 lessons as needed – once you’ve got the job!
#9 Write a thank you email
Channel everyone’s favourite gentleman, and write a thank you email after your interview:
- Stand out from the crowd.
- Show your enthusiasm for the role.
- Show how amazing you are in writing, if face-to-face ain’t your forte.
Pretty soon they’ll be saying how ardently they admire and love you and ‘hey, you got the job!’