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Interview tips for introverts

June 28, 2018

By Chisom Alaoma

I am an introvert. My room is my coven, I work best when I am alone, and meeting new people freaks me out. Interviews can be hard if you’re like me. I find that you have to act extroverted so that people will think you’re personable. Interviews can be so nerve-wracking and both physically and emotionally painful because interviewers want me to talk and that’s not something I’m usually good at doing.

I remember this one time I went for a call centre interview in Whitby, Ontario. This was indeed the worst interview that I had ever gone to. I was told that I would be interviewed by one person and I was ecstatic because when it’s a one on one interview, I’ll have the opportunity to try and be myself a little. I remember walking into the interview room and seeing 3 people just staring at me and waiting for me sit so they can start. I also remember being so shocked that I left the room and went straight home. I was disappointed in myself and absolutely crushed that I had lost that opportunity just because I was afraid of answering questions.

Now, I have a job and I want to give you some tips on how to handle the dreaded face to face without totally blowing it.  

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Use a relaxation technique to calm your nerves

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There is no proven way to treat nervousness but I will tell you what worked for me: I took a deep breath and focused on the present. I also held a stress ball under my chair during the interview and that made me calm.

Practice makes perfect

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The day before my interview I went to the Career Centre in Student Life. I met with one of the staff members who told me to practice in front of the mirror. I think this is a must to prepare for any interview.

Make eye contact - but not too much

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I know - this is hard. I hate looking into people’s eyes. However, it’s crucial because body language is one of the most important things during an interview. Now, don't make eye contact like you want to seduce your interviewer. Making the right amount of eye contact in an interview can make the difference in whether you successfully get the job.

Do your research

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Prior to the meeting, invest your time in inquiring about the organization. Look online for ongoing news and public statements about the organization. At work site Glassdoor, you'll discover surveys of organizations and additional talking points. Doing your research first will help you feel more confident in answering questions.

Stalling techniques

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This is so important; sometimes interviewers throw in the wildest questions. I was once asked, “What was the last gift you gave someone?” I was so surprised and I needed time to think so the first thing I said was “can you expand on that” obviously they were stunned because that was a straightforward question. I find that the best things to say when you need to stall are “Great question” or “Can you repeat that?” so you have enough time to think.

Believe in yourself. I got a job, and you can too.