The job application process is not something most people really enjoy going through. Most people prefer to skip the whole job application process and just start a new job. For introverts the job application process is often even more uncomfortable. They don’t like to put themselves in the center of attention. Answering direct and personal questions in a job interview can feel like an interrogation. The job application process is, however a necessary process to link skills, experience and personality to the right job. How can introverts improve their job applications? Here are some tips to get you started!
Look for a job that fits your personality
Being an introvert does not make you unsuitable for a job. There are plenty of jobs that will suit your skills and your personality. And there is nothing wrong with challenging yourself, it is a good thing to try out new things even if they make you feel a bit uncomfortable. But some jobs might require just completely the opposite of your skill set and your personality. For some jobs networking, speaking in public and small talk are the key ingredients for success. Look for a job that matches your personality and your skill set.
Do not pretend to be an extrovert
With some practice you may be able to fake extroversion for short period of time. But at some point you want to be able to be yourself again, without getting a surprised reaction from the recruiter or your future colleagues. Write your cover letter and your resume in a style that suits your personality. You don’t have to start every job interview telling you are an introvert, but when it comes up along the job interview there is no need to hide your personality.
Focus on your strengths
Just because the job interview with all sorts of personal question makes you feel uncomfortable, does not mean you are unsuitable for the job you are applying to. Keep in mind that job interviews are uncomfortable for most people, even for extroverts. Don’t try to excuse yourself for your personality. Don’t focus on your discomfort but focus on your strengths, your skills and your experience.
Practice makes perfect.
Without practicing for a job a job interview, it can easily become an awkward interrogation. Especially when you find it difficult to answer personal questions without hesitation. Preparation for a job interview is necessary for everyone, even for the most outgoing candidates.
- Practice the introduction and the small talk before a job interview
How you introduce yourself and those first minutes of small talk before the job interview starts, are very important. The first impression you make in those first minutes can give you a great head start. Practice your handshake, stand or sit upright and speak with a clear voice when introducing yourself. Prepare some small talk topics, even if you hate small talk. Doing some research about the company you are applying to is always necessary, but it can also provide some good topics for small talk.
- Practice the most common (personal) interview questions
It’s impossible to avoid getting personal questions during a job interview. The best way to deal with questions that make you feel uncomfortable is to practice them, a lot. Prepare for questions about your accomplishments, your failures, your strengths, your weaknesses, your social skills and how you perform in a team. You might get questions about previous jobs, avoid talking negative about former employers or colleagues. Also prepare for direct questions like; “Why do you want this job?”, “What makes you the best candidate?”, “Why should we hire you?”, “Why are you leaving your current job?”.
- Prepare questions to ask during a job interview
If you don’t have any questions to ask during the job interview yourself, the job interview can turn into a conversation that feels like an interrogation. By preparing questions to ask and making it a two way conversation you can avoid this. If you don’t prepare any questions the recruiter may think you are not really interested. Try to prepare some open-ended questions instead of questions that can simply be answered with a “Yes” or “No”.
For most jobs an introvert is just as good a candidate as an extrovert (and for some jobs a better candidate). Good preparation for a job application is important for every candidate, but it is even more important for introverts. Thorough preparation for a job application can take away any uncomfortable feelings for a job interview. Don’t apologize for being an introvert, focus on your skills and on what you can do for the company.