During an interview, an employer is looking for three things in a candidate: do they have the skills for the job, can they work well with others and are they driven to make the company better. According to John B. Molidor, Ph.D., co-author of Crazy Good Interviewing and Professor of Psychiatry at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, the best way to touch on each of these points is by being genuine and using your personality to your advantage whether you are an extrovert or introvert. Refer to the following tips to evaluate your personality and refine your answers for your next interview.
We have all grown up to associate “extrovert” with sociable and “introvert” with shyness, but this meaning isn’t quite accurate. These words actually refer to where a person goes to get their energy, explains Molidor. An extrovert looks to their environment to get recharged, enjoying the company of people who exhilarate them, which in turn encourages more stimulus. Introverts also may enjoy engaging with people, but they prefer to unwind alone after a large event. These tendencies give both groups advantages and disadvantages in an interview that can be enhanced or overcome with a little practice.
Which are you? If you are not quite sure which designation applies to you, use the following story, provided by Dr. Molidor, as a guide:
An extrovert and introvert attend the same party. They both enjoy themselves immensely. The extrovert says, “I really enjoyed this party because I met so many interesting people.” Once the party is over, the extrovert is looking forward to the next event. On the other hand, the introvert may say, “I had a great time at the party because I got to know one person on a deeper level.” At the end of the night, the introvert is content, feeling satisfied the evening has come to an end.
As you can see, these categories focus on describing how a person interacts with others and how they choose to reward themselves afterwards. Knowing which one applies to you is crucial to acing the interview. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind:
Extroverts: Be strategic. Extroverts look to their surroundings for inspiration, and “they speak in order to think,” states Molidor. This can become problematic when the person continues to ramble on without clearly answering the interview question. To avoid a “Chatty Cathy” moment, Molidor recommends narrowing your remarks to a few key points. By practicing your answers beforehand, your responses will still communicate your enthusiasm but without all the unnecessary elaboration.
Introverts: Take it to the next level. If you fall into this category, you “think in order to speak,” explains Molidor. In most cases, you will rehearse your delivery so much your final response may not provide the interviewer with enough information. To remedy this situation, Molidor suggests adding a little bit more explanation and energy to your responses. By concentrating on increasing your energy level, your enthusiasm will translate not only into your delivery but your gestures as well.
Extroverts & Introverts: Read the interviewer. There isn’t a magic number when it comes to how long you should talk during an interview. The key is to watch the interviewer and mirror their communication habits. Figure out what their energy level is and do everything you can to match it. For instance, an interviewer who is an introvert probably needs time to reflect on your responses. If you decide to interrupt by adding to your previous answer, you may not win any brownie points. Once you have gotten a feel for the interviewer, Molidor recommends, “Pitch your energy level slightly higher than theirs” to create a natural flow he likens to a sine wave.
Going in for an interview can be overwhelming. Don’t add undue pressure by saying, “I have to get this job.” Instead, focus on being yourself. Highlight your skills, use your personality to your advantage and match the interviewer’s energy level – all of which require you to be who you are.
The bottom line: prepare thoroughly and do your best, keeping in mind your personal strengths.
You may also find Interview Tips: The Hands Have It helpful. For more of Diane’s business etiquette tips, subscribe to her articles on Huffington Post, “like’” Diane’s Facebook page and follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.