by Amanda May, Head Editor, INALJ North Dakota
Interviewing Tips for Introverts
As an introvert, I dread the interview process. It feels awkward to sit in front of new people and talk about my accomplishments. Honestly, it feels like I am just bragging about myself. Many times, people would tell me to be more outgoing. That’s just not me. Now, I know that I cannot avoid interviews. As much as I like there to be one, the job fairy just doesn’t exist, you know? Anyway, after many good and many not-so-good interviews, I found these tips really helped me perform much better in an interview setting.
- Practice Your Answers: I typically search for “librarian interview questions” or “library interview questions” on the Internet. By taking the time to rehearse my answers to these potential questions, I feel much more prepared for the interview. I do not recommend memorizing the answers verbatim. You want your answers to be as conversational as possible.
- Film Yourself: Find a friend to help you practice your interview skills. I recommend filming yourself, so you can evaluate your body language. For example, eye contact used to be difficult for me. By filming myself, I saw that was one of the things that I do when I am nervous. I’ll be honest that eye contact can still be difficult for me, but by taking the time to film myself, I am much more aware that I may be doing it in an interview setting.
- Practice for the Unknown: Sometimes, an interviewer may ask you a question that you have not rehearsed prior to the interview. That’s okay! I usually say something like, “That’s a very good question. Let me think about it for a minute.”
- Prepare for Small Talk: I’ll be honest. I despise small talk, but it will happen during the interview. Make sure you mentally prepare yourself for it.
- Know Where You are Going: I often drive to the interview site a day before the scheduled interview. Since I know where I will be going for the interview, I’m not so scared of getting lost and can focus more on preparing for the interview.
- Learn About Your Potential Employer: I always find it helpful to learn about my potential employer before any interview. While your interviewers may be impressed that you took the time to learn about the workplace, it may help you decide if it really is a place that you want to work. I typically look at the potential employer’s website and newsletters.
- Buy a Padfolio or Portfolio: I purchased a portfolio that includes a pad of paper and space for other documents. During the interview, I write down keywords that help me remember different points that I want to get across to the interviewer. It helps keep my thoughts on track.
- Bring a List: I sometimes bring a list of accomplishments to the interview for my own use. I keep it in my portfolio. If I’m feeling nervous or inarticulate, I sometimes refer to the list to help me get back on track.
While I wish there really was a job fairy, I know that one does not exist. Whether or not you’re an introvert, preparation is really the most important part of succeeding in an interview. It helps minimize all of the unknowns that cause stress during the interview process. You’ll have more opportunities to let yourself really shine.