How Introverts Can Ace Interviews by Leading With Their Strengths
Many a time during phone calls with both new clients and ones I've been working with a bit longer, I've heard job seekers present a type of truthful admission to me. It sounds something like this: "Scott, I have a really difficult time with interviewing for jobs. I'm not the most naturally 'extroverted' person, and I've found it to be very difficult to put my best foot forward during my interview. I'm really not quite sure how to overcome this."
Fortunately for these clients, in most cases, they don't need to overcome this so-called problem whatsoever. What they need to do is figure out how to enter the job interview from a place of natural talent and strength instead. And in the cases I'm referencing, it's so much easier to do than many think it would be.
Whether this is a conversation I'm having with a web developer or some type of designer, artist, engineer, analyst, or scientist, the solution is the same: I tell them to showcase and present their previous work during the interview.
I remind them that the company is considering hiring them primarily for their behind the scenes contributions. Almost instantly, I can sense that a heavy weight has been lifted off their shoulders.
They aren't expected to be the face of the company. They aren't expected to be the most gregarious and popular person in the company – the person who is constantly winning over all the customers and staff members with their charm and charisma.
These job seekers are being pursued by companies for the amazing things they have created, developed, or implemented throughout their careers. So it's that simple: All they need to do is show and explain to the company the type of work they have done in the past, are currently working on, or are planning on doing in the future that would communicate how they would excel in the position and contribute to the success of the company.
From this place, moving forward with confidence is easy. In every instance when I've worked with someone on this issue, they have had relevant work that they could showcase during the interview.
The beauty and power behind this avenue makes total sense once you think about it some more. Consider a "quirky" inventor or designer you have crossed paths with over the years, or maybe someone you watched giving a presentation to an audience or on television.
This person may not have been the best conversationalist or communicator you ever spoke with or heard speaking. However, once they began presenting their invention or product, you witnessed a miraculous shift take place. No longer did you experience them as the shy, reserved, and possibly socially awkward person from earlier. Instead, you saw them as a brilliant, confident, and powerful person passionately describing their creation. You felt captivated and charmed as they explained the purpose behind their work and how they went about creating it. Without effort, they described their creation in further detail, and effectively demonstrated to you how it functions and what problem it solves.
This is an example of someone shifting over to the "higher aspect" of themselves, expressing their talents and gifts in their own unique and powerful way. They didn't have to pretend to be someone they weren't or struggle to be the best person in an interview. They simply led with their natural strengths, versus trying to overcome their weaknesses (or "areas of more challenge," if you prefer).
And that is how the introvert utilizes their own strengths to their advantage and aces the interview.
Scott Engler is the author of The Job Inner-View and Legends of the Recruiting and Career World. Read his latest, The Problem and the Solution, on his website.