As an introvert, you interact differently with the world. If you're like most introverts, you're easily drained by stressful social situations, and you fear rejection. So naturally, job interviews are going to be taxing.
Job interviews are stressful for even the most extroverted individual. So instead of letting your interview anxiety get the better of you, spend some time preparing for success. Here are five ways you can prepare to have a successful interview:
1. Practice speaking about yourself out loud.
If you're on the shy side, you probably fear speaking in front of a group of people. You're not alone. With more than a quarter of Americans admitting to a fear of public speaking, it's considered America's biggest phobia, according to a Chapman University study.
Although you probably won't have to answer interview questions in front of a huge group of people, you may have two or more people interviewing you at the same time.
To prepare for this, become comfortable with speaking about yourself out loud. Recite your responses to questions about your professional background while you're in the car, cooking dinner and even in the shower. Basically, do it any time you have a few minutes alone.
2. Create meaningful stories that illustrate your experience.
As an introvert, small talk might not be your forte. In fact, as Sophia Dembling explains in her book, "The Introvert's Way: Living A Quiet Life In A Noisy World," introverts can easily feel bored, exhausted or even intimidated by meaningless chit chat. Yet, they thrive during deeper one-on-one conversations because they verbally process and reflect during those times. This is similar to the way in which they would recharge on their own.
Your job is to turn interview chat into a deeper, more meaningful conversation with the hiring manager. Take some time to reflect, and develop stories about your previous experiences or the meaningful events that have shaped your beliefs and values. You can use these stories as examples to engage the hiring manager, instead of providing typical, cookie-cutter answers.
3. Do a test visit.
You never know what you'll run into while visiting a company for the first time: Traffic, impossible parking or unclear directions can all cause huge issues. Easily quell your fears by taking a test visit to the office a few days before the interview.
Try to leave around the same time you would leave for your actual interview, so that you can take note of any traffic that may delay your arrival time. Note the best place to park, and how long it takes to walk from your car to the office. You can factor this extra time into your plans the day of your interview to ensure that you won't be late.
4. Say "no" to caffeine.
In the book, "Me, Myself And Us: The Science Of Personality And The Art Of Well-Being," psychologist Brian Little explains how introverts differ from extroverts when it comes to responsiveness in certain environments. Unlike extroverts, introverts are more easily stimulated because their brains are already at an optimal level of arousal. Caffeine can overstimulate introverts, causing them to feel overwhelmed or exhausted.
Though their extroverted counterparts perform better after a cup of coffee, the theory suggests that caffeine could do real damage to a sensitive introvert in a highly stimulating environment like a job interview. So skip the caffeine.
Instead, get plenty of sleep before your interview, and stay well-hydrated. Start your day with an energizing workout, and then rock out to your favorite music as you drive to your interview.
5. Wear something that makes you feel powerful (but not red).
When you feel good about what you're wearing, you'll naturally feel more confident. Choose a professional outfit for your interview: one that makes you feel like you can conquer anything. But you might want to steer clear of red, according to a new study published by Royal Society.
In the study, participants were asked to rate images of men wearing different colors. They found that when men wore red, they were perceived to be more aggressive, dominant and angry.
That's probably not the impression you want to give off in your interview. Instead, stick to eye-catching (yet peaceful) colors like blue or green.
The more you prepare, the less likely you'll fall victim to feelings of stress and overwhelm as you visit these exciting new companies and meet with the hiring managers. So practice your answers, prepare your stories, pick a great outfit and avoid coffee. You'll master the art of interviewing in no time.
Introverts, what are some of your biggest struggles when it comes to job interviews? Share your thoughts in the comments below.