Book Image

Job Interview Success for Introverts

By : Robert McIntosh
Book Image

Job Interview Success for Introverts

By: Robert McIntosh

Overview of this book

Table of Contents (8 chapters)

Verbal communications

We've looked the written communications side of your job-search marketing campaign, which can consist of the CV, cover letter, approach letter, and LinkedIn profile. But these components are only half of the equation. The other half is your verbal communications which, as mentioned earlier, can be challenging for introverts if they're not properly prepared. This part of the chapter will examine the various ways to network, including events, day-to-day, and informational meetings.


You've learned that introverts feel more comfortable communicating through writing and do it quite well. Introverts are also capable of succeeding at personal networking; they simply go about it differently than their more outgoing counterparts, the extrovert. Generally put, introverts prefer smaller groups and deeper conversations, whereas extroverts prefer larger groups and broader conversation. Introverts are also said to be better listeners than extrovert, who are said to be better at making small talk. In case you're wondering, pundits estimate that networking can account for 60 percent of a jobseeker's success as the only method used to find a job. There are various ways to network.

Various types of networking

Networking events

When we think of networking, we picture networking events where jobseekers gather in a large room or hall to converse with each other. They deliver their stiff elevator pitch, talk about their accomplishments, and wander from person to person working the room. This is one way to view networking; however, it is an unfavorable way to envision networking. Even most extroverts will agree that this idea of networking is uncomfortable, if not downright intimidating. In fact, networking conducted this way is counterintuitive for introverts and extrovert alike. It is contrived and allows very little room to develop long-lasting relationships. Nonetheless, this type of networking is common in every city and most towns, and it will most likely continue to exist till the end of time. Should you refrain from this type of networking? Certainly not. Just keep in mind that you will need to have clear goals before you enter the networking event.

One goal is determining how many people with whom you will speak. The number may be three, two, or even just one. Remember that introverts prefer to speak with fewer people, yet engage in deeper conversations. Don't feel as if you have to emulate extroverts who enjoy meeting many people and having briefer conversations. This is not your style.

Another goal is trying to help some of the individuals at the event by offering a lead to a possible position, or informing the folks of other people with whom they may like to meet. Understanding the needs of your fellow networkers can only be accomplished through—one of the introverts' many strengths—active listening. Go to the event with the attitude that you're there to help first and receive help second.

The third goal is simply "Do It."

Remember to bring personal business cards, which are cards similar to the ones you had when working, but are more about you as a jobseeker or a business owner. Let's say you've worked in Marketing. Naturally, you'll have your contact information listed on your cards—perhaps including your LinkedIn URL. But people will need to know what your areas of strength are. Are you strong in public relations, web content, social media, and vendor relations? Clearly state this on your personal business card. To arrive without a business card will be quite embarrassing, so make up a personal business card right away.

Day-to-day networking

Think about what you do when you need a good babysitter, a trustworthy mechanic, advice on what movie to see, someone to shovel your walkway after a snow storm, and other needs you may have. You ask people whom you trust. Or, if like me, you asked a complete stranger where she had her Honda serviced—which incidentally turned out to be the best advice I ever received. This is how we network on a daily basis without giving it much thought. And this is how networking for work should be done. This method is so easy to do, yet many jobseekers fail to do it.

But there is etiquette introverts must follow when networking day-to-day. It involves two rules. First, tell everyone you know that you're looking for a new job, and be clear about your experience and needs. Second, resist the urge to make all your conversations about your job search, and resist the urge to ask people if they know of any jobs. The second rule may seem counterproductive, but you don't want to drive every friend, neighbor, and relative away by violating this rule.

"It's not what you know, it's who you know." You've heard this phrase before. Remember that introverts feel most comfortable in small groups that allow for deeper conversation. From your networking events, you may meet people who would like to meet for coffee or tea one time a week, where you can discuss your job search, offer advice, ideas, and leads.

Don't be afraid to make phone calls or send an e-mail to your connections, who essentially are everyone you know. Call them to simply check-in, congratulate them on their birthday, ask how their son's football game went, and so on. But don't alienate them by always asking if they've heard about a job suitable for you. They know your employment situation because they'll ask you how you're doing. At this point it's proper to say something like, "I'm still looking for a job as an accountant manager." These simple "pings" will keep you in their mind. One of my former customers constantly sent me e-mails to update me on his job search. He always remained positive. So when I learned of opportunities, I alerted him to them, simply because he remained in my mind.

Here's how Nancy Ancowitz, Self-Promotion for Introverts, encourages introverts to look at networking:

"As an introvert, you'd probably rather listen than talk most of the time. You're adept at building deep and lasting relationships. You're trusted, accountable, and a core contributor. However, you're not a schmoozer. You value your space and quiet time. Regardless, you have distinct advantages that enable you to create a strong network that can provide you with continuous support."

Informational interviews

One of the most underused ways to network is the informational interview, or what I prefer to call, informational meetings. The distinction is small and the process is the same, but "informational interview" implies to the person who's giving you advice that it's an interview, when it's really a meeting that should be relaxed, yet informative. Nonetheless, this is a meeting you ask someone at a company you're interested in working for if you can sit with them to gather information on a position and the company. You bring the questions, so make them intelligent questions. This meeting should create a relaxed environment—after all, you're not being interviewed, and the person granting you the informational meeting is under no pressure to hire you. The ultimate outcome of a meeting like this would be you being recommended to the hiring manager if a position is developing in the company, or being kept in mind for positions in the future. At the very least, you should leave with two or three other people with whom you could speak. This type of meeting is a great way to penetrate the Hidden Job Market.

Follow up

You've attended networking events, networked daily with everyone you know, and conducted some informational meetings. Now it's time to follow up with the people with whom you've spoken. Your correspondence with these connections can be delivered in the form of e-mails first, followed by a phone conversation where you'll set up a face-to-face meeting. Following up is incredibly important because it solidifies the connections you've made. Some believe that as many as seven correspondences are necessary to solidify a connection. No matter what the number, be sure to send that e-mail or make the call. If there proves to be no substantial commonality between you and the person you met, there's no need to follow through with a personal meeting.