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)


So, you're an introvert

I was in my mid 40's when I discovered my preference for introversion. Until then, I thought I was an extrovert, mainly because I could, and still can, talk with ease to complete strangers. Truth be told, I hoped that my preference was for extroversion, not introversion, simply because society favors extroverts in most aspects of life: school, work, social interaction, and the job search, to name a few. I doubted my acceptance and didn't speak proudly of my preference until I learned more about the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory.

Do you remember when you learned your preference for introversion? Were you in doubt like me? Did you have a sense of dread thinking of the stereotypes of introverts, such as shy, loner, standoffish, aloof, recluse, or rude? Furthermore, you may have believed that introverts couldn't make small talk or associate with important, outgoing people.

But if all of this were true, how were you capable of talking with complete strangers, even approaching them, or want to be with your peers and attend social gatherings? How was it that some of your friends accused you of talking too much? And how have you been able to rub elbows with authorities in your town or city, to make small talk with the best of them? You were behaving more like an extrovert, weren't you? No, you were behaving like an introvert, able to adapt to your setting, and doing all the things mentioned here was a result of your introversion.

Now being an introvert doesn't seem so bad, does it? In fact, being an introvert has its benefits. You are an intelligent conversationalist. You think before talking and, therefore, don't make as many faux pas as some of your extroverted friends and colleagues. You are an engaged listener who doesn't think about what you'll say next before totally hearing the other person out. Being alone doesn't upset you; rather, you enjoy going to the movies alone and eating alone. Your friends and family can't understand this. You love writing and do it well. There are many things about being an introvert that you appreciate, feel comfortable with, and wouldn't want to change.

There are truths, though, that set introverts apart from extroverts; truths that put introverts at a disadvantage in life and the job search, especially at the all-important interview. Some of the strengths introverts possess can be faults, particularly when it comes to verbal communications. Talking, small talk to be precise, is a challenge for introverts because they feel the need to think before speaking, whereas extroverts will speak before thinking. Because of their inclination to think before talking, introverts are often left out of conversations.

In the job search, talking is integral to one's success. You can't rightfully go to a networking event and an interview and expect not to talk in the manner people expect you to. In other words, there are unspoken rules about conversing at networking events and interviews. Organized networking events are attended by people who see them as an opportunity to sell themselves. Often there is small talk which leads to delivering an elevator pitch. If the two parties are interested in what the other is selling, the conversation can extend. Some networkers like to "work the room," which means meeting as many people as possible, collecting as many business cards as they can. This is considered a success for the extroverts.

Success for introverts at a networking event looks a little different. Small talk becomes more like "deep talk." Introverts are not interested in the competitive nature of networking events. One of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator questions goes something like this:

"When you are with a group of people, would you usually rather, A: Join in the talk of the group—or—B: Talk individually with people you know well?"

Can you guess how the introvert would answer? The second answer speaks to how introverts prefer to talk, not their ability to converse. Yet, this isn't how networking events work. Networking events are friendlier to extroverts.

At the interview, which is this book's ultimate focus, talking is paramount to success. Answering questions to the satisfaction of the interviewer(s) means the difference between winning the job or…going home the loser. This is not what you want. You want to succeed with flying colors at the interview, to hear the interviewer(s) say, "We'd like to offer you the job." You'll only hear these words if you're prepared for the all-important interview. Being prepared is also what this book is about. (I'll give you a hint; introverts are strong in the preparation department, more so than their counterpart, the extrovert.) On face value, the interview may favor the extrovert; but don't give up the battle just yet.

Introverts have a good sense of the job search in general; but we know that what matters is getting to the interview. You'll have to rely on your ability to analyze the steps it takes to get there, including your strong written communication skills, that is, CVs, cover letters, approach letters, and LinkedIn profile—along with your exerted efforts to talk. Some would argue you need to behave more like an extrovert, or utilize your extroverted traits. But there are characteristics of the introvert that are endearing to employers. You will learn what these are.

If introverts are labeled as quiet, having few friends, and private, then how does that propel them to succeed in networking and interviews? The answer to this question is thorough effort. This is what we'll look at when explaining how introverts can succeed in winning the position, leaving some extroverts out of the picture.

What does it mean to be an introvert? As I was explaining to my daughter, whom I suspect of being an introvert, introversion and extroversion are preferences; neither being better than the other. What I didn't explain to her are the challenges she'll most likely face. As an introvert, I face challenges every day, especially those surrounding talking. Which is ironic, especially since my occupation as a workshop facilitator at an urban career center requires me to talk all day. I chose my occupation because I'm good at disseminating information in a way people understand, but it does take a toll on my energy. I adapt.

So, your ability to talk will be challenged, and it's up to you to adapt to challenging situations—networking events, telephone interviews, and face-to-face meetings.

In this book, you'll learn how to conduct the job search that gets you to the interview. You'll also learn about questions from hiring authorities that may be a challenge. For example, one that would be a challenge for me would be, "Give us an example of when working as part of a team had a positive impact on the company, and what you learned about your ability to be a team player." You see, introverts don't prefer being on a team; rather, they like to solve problems on their own or with one or two other people. Then there's brainstorming and open work environments. Oh boy.

Let's begin our journey to the interview.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Before the Interview, will demonstrate and outline the ways in which you can utilize the skills and typical work styles of an introvert to most effectively search for a job that will work for you. You will learn how to build your personal brand and present yourself successfully to prospective employers.

Chapter 2, You've Landed the Interview, Now What?, will talk about the best ways to prepare yourself once you have been invited to an interview. From researching the company and acquainting yourself with the role to preparing yourself and building your confidence for the moment you step in the interview room, you will see exactly how to keep your composure and impress.

Chapter 3, Some Difficult Questions You'll Face at the Interview, explores the different types of questions you might face in an interview and equips you with strategies to answer them that underline your strengths without taking you outside of your comfort zone as an introvert. You will see how to present your introversion with confidence and aplomb, demonstrating the skills and knowledge you can bring to the role.

Who this book is for

If you are looking for your dream job or to move your career forward but feel anxious and slightly daunted at the thought of networking and self-promotion, this book will demonstrate how you can successfully find and get the job you want—and deserve—by harnessing rather than hiding your introversion.


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