Interviews are nerve-wrecking for everyone, but they are especially hard if you’re an introvert. Shaking hands, talking about yourself, and being the center of attention can be super draining — so much so that you might actually do more harm than good while trying to impress a VIP.
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Though you can’t avoid interviews, you can learn how to handle them effectively, which will help you land your dream school/job/internship while staying true to yourself. Follow the below tips to help you shine in your next interview.
1. Know Your Strengths
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Sometimes introverts have a difficult time identifying their strengths. In a loud world, it can be a challenge to determine what makes your quiet nature so valuable. But, trust us, you have a special skill set that is definitely needed. Start by making a list of what you think are your biggest strengths, and then ask your family or friends for their opinion.
We all know practice makes perfect. Prepare your answers to questions that are commonly asked in interviews (i.e. “What are your greatest strengths?”) and practice answering them out loud with a trusted family member or friend in a mock interview. Practice until the convo flows naturally and you feel confident with your answers.
3. Prepare for Small Talk
You might hate it, but you can’t skip out on small talk during an interview. It’s what helps break the ice, and also gives the interviewer an opportunity to get to know you better. Come up with a couple questions in advance that you can throw in as needed, like “What’s your favorite activity to do on the weekends?” or “Where’s your favorite place to eat for lunch in the neighborhood?” You’ll be glad you did.
4. Give Yourself Lots of Time
Pre-interview, determine where you’re going exactly so you can give yourself lots of time to prepare and know how you’re getting there and how long it’s going to take you without feeling rushed (which you hate). Before you leave your house, give yourself 30 minutes of “alone” time to ensure you’re giving yourself tons of energy to make the best impression.
5. Bring Your Notes
Remember: this isn’t an exam. You can bring your notes and/or a portfolio for those times when you get nervous and tongue-tied. Bring either your resume or a binder full of documents of your key skills and achievements, so you have something to refer to when you get stuck.
6. Make Sure You’re a Good Fit for Each Other
Interviews are two-way streets. While you may have initially thought working at a certain company is your dream job, you could learn during the interview that it might not be after all. Maybe you need to interact frequently with the public or maybe you need to work with a group of people on a regular basis (not fun, right?). Keeping in mind that you are also determining whether the job is the best fit for you will help lessen your jitters and make the convo flow super smooth.
Remember: What makes you special and worth hiring has EVERYTHING to do with you being an introvert. Celebrate your strengths, and you WILL find the right job/school/internship that suits you perfectly.