The Introverted Interview: Making It a Success
Can you imagine showing up at an interview and not saying a word?
Sure, a lot may be going on in your head, but not sharing any of it because you want to ensure you only share your best thoughts would be a disaster during an interview.
For those of us with a preference for introversion, this is our natural inclination: keep what is going on inside our heads to ourselves. However, most who tend toward introversion also understand that certain situations — like, say, a job interview — call for different behavior.
Succeeding in a job interview can be a bit of a struggle for the more introverted among us.
I prefer introversion myself, and I’ve shared my own interview story previously. While I certainly had feelings of “Help — I don’t know what to say!” during that interview, I was able to take a deep breath and work through them. Succeeding in that interview has led to incredible opportunities in my life.
Even just getting that interview required me to flex beyond my comfort zone much more than I naturally would. But in the end, the payoff was huge. I still look back at that moment in time and wonder how different my life would have been had I not made that move.
Tips for a Great Interview for Those Who Prefer Introversion
As someone who prefers introversion, what can you do to increase your chances of getting that interview? And once you get it, how do you present yourself in the best possible light when you show up? Here are three tips you might try:
1. Build Your Energy a Few Days in Advance
Extroversion and introversion are about energy. Those of us who prefer introversion need time in our own internal spaces to build energy that we can then use in both our internal and external worlds.
So, if the interview is on a Monday, spend time by yourself over the weekend. Write down the ideas you want to communicate to the interviewer, and reflect on why you are the best person for the job. Practice your interview answers with a trusted friend so you can hear yourself speaking the words that will work best for you in the upcoming interview. Do what you need to rest up and build energy so that you have enough to use come Monday.
2. Honor the Person You Are
Your preference for introversion can be very calming and reassuring to others during the interview process. Your introverted style can help you come across as a thoughtful and self-aware candidate. Remind yourself you’re worth the hire.
While you do want to honor your preference for introversion, remember it is also crucial to show you can flex over to the world of extroversion. Being too thoughtful can make it appear as if you don’t have anything to say — or worse, that you don’t care enough to say anything.
3. Balance Is Golden
If you want to put your best foot forward during a job interview, add another foot.
What I mean is this: Instead of just using one side of your personality type in a job interview, try applying both your introverted and extroverted sides. Use both feet, if you will.
My introverted side makes decisions based on an inner core of values that guide me and drive me (introverted feeling, or “Fi”). Because my overall preference is for introversion, introverted feeling is what I rely on most in life. However, if I only rely on this decision-making preference, I end up making decisions without first gathering and considering enough information. So, I need to bring in the extroverted side of my personality, which is how I take in information about big-picture future possibilities (extroverted intuition, or “Ne”).
Putting my best foot forward in a job interview, and in most situations, requires both taking in information and making decisions. In an interview, that means sharing my ideas about how I can make a positive short-term impact on the role I’m applying for (Ne) while also internally holding firm to the values that are most important to me (Fi). While I want to be the person who gets hired, I most want to make sure I honor the person I am.
The above tips should help those who prefer introversion approach their interviews with more confidence. If you want to explore further how these ideas apply to you and your personality type more specifically, you may want to check out Introduction to Type Dynamics and Development by Katherine D. Myers and Linda Kirby.
Michael Segovia is the lead trainer for CPP, Inc.’s MBTI Certification Programs. He recently presented a TED talk reflecting on how type theory has informed his understanding of his own life story.