The job search process can be nerve-wracking at any stage: Prepping a stand-out resume and cover letter, taking tests, or acing a series of interviews. The interviews can be the biggest hurdle if you're an introvert.
"The big secret in interviews is people don't actually hire the most qualified person," says Lindsay Mustain, a career coach and former Amazon recruiter. "They hire who they like the most."
For a reserved and quiet person who might take time to open up, making that favorable interview impression could present some challenges. With that in mind, the key job interview tip career experts have for introverts is to prepare.
"If you have any sort of social anxiety or discomfort," says Angelina Darrisaw, a career coach and founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach, "one of the things that can help is just being very prepared" for whatever talk comes up.
Interviews often start with more relaxed conversation or small talk. To prepare, research both the company you're interviewing with and, more specifically, the people who will be interviewing you. Darrisaw recommends LinkedIn as a tool to learn about them.
"Maybe you both went to state schools," she says. "Maybe you both were in a similar kind of sorority or organization. But those are the sorts of things that can be conversation starters."
Think about the sorts of social questions you want to ask, and any relevant stories you might want to share.
Ultimately, you want to show interviewers you'll be great for the role, "but you also want to show what it would be like working with you and give them a little bit of insight to your personality," she says.
The first part of your answer is what Mustain calls the "I am" statement. This would include your title, how many years of experience you have, and the kinds of tasks you've been taking on in that role. "Get very specific about the scope and impact" of your work, she says, including details like how many people you're overseeing.
Then share two examples of accomplishments within that role. If you're an HR executive, for example, one might be, "I was able to hire 200 people in six weeks," she says.
Video by Courtney Stith
After that, give a quick summary of your career trajectory, including where you started and how you got to where you are today, and tell them what you're looking for in your next job. Name elements that would make you feel like, "I would go to work excited, energized, motivated, and passionate," says Mustain.
Your elevator pitch should take about 90 seconds total, she says. Rehearse it with a friend so you're confident when it comes up.
Finally, as you prepare for your interview, and especially if you have a series of interviews coming up, plan some time for rest ahead of and in between those commitments.
"If you are an introvert, social engagement can be very draining," says Darrisaw. "If you have a lot of interviews coming up in a row, you want to make sure that you plan [some self care] so that you can recoup."
Take naps between interviews, watch your favorite TV shows, read a book — make sure your schedule includes some time every day when you can be alone and do something that energizes you.
More from Grow: