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Interviewing and networking for introverts
November 24, 2013, 11:39 am

Being an introvert can harm your career and job prospects. But many people who are basically introverts often fail to recognize their innate shortcomings. Self-awareness is the first step to overcoming those traits that limit your career opportunities, here are a few indicators of introverts and also how they can overcome hurdles they face during interviews or while networking.

Meet people one-on-one: The thought of networking in a big crowd is scary, repulsive, intimidating to an introvert. It is not like they cannot network; it is just that they are more comfortable meeting individuals one on one. Introverts sometimes become sidetracked in their own thoughts so a pre-planned list of questions will help you feel more confident in a crowd.

Share your ideas: Introverts are strong in the creative process of generating, developing and communicating new ideas. They just need time to think. In an interview situation, you may not have as much time to process your ideas and answers and formulate a confident response. With a little planning an introvert can anticipate likely scenarios and prepare for in advance.

Avoid back-to-back scheduling: When possible, build time into your day to recharge. That means scheduling an interview or meeting and allowing yourself time after the event to be alone and recharge.     

Think on your feet: There will be times when you are asked an unexpected question or put in an unanticipated situation. The more practice and experience you have interviewing and networking, the more comfortable you will be in crafting your response.
The phone is your friend: Introverts prefer to text or email rather than speak on the phone. But you can take advantage of the fact that you are masked behind the phone and can have your notes, script and research in front of you to reference. Remember to smile while you talk and add more inflection to your voice than you may normally do in person. You want to make sure the caller can hear your interest and enthusiasm. If caught off guard by a phone call, be sure to ask for a minute so you can gather your materials.

Seek first to understand:  Exploring the employer’s needs and expected performance outcomes is another strength of introverts. Again, it is important to conduct research on the company so you can formulate thoughts and translate them into questions. The interview should be a mutual exchange of information and fact finding. Tap into your introverted tendency to seek answers and develop creative solutions.

Mind over matter: Introverts can network by overcoming the dreaded “they’re just not into me” message by extending yourself. Most people are not that comfortable networking, but when you make the effort to introduce yourself to someone, in almost every instance, you are warmly received.

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