How to Self-Promote in an Interview if You are an Introvert

Introvert Interview

For some people, self-promotion comes easy. When put on the spot, it’s almost second nature for these outgoing types to start rattling off their accomplishments, name dropping people of influence they know, and getting other people to do whatever it is they want.

For other people, myself included, it’s just not that easy. We’re a little more on the introverted side, which means we don’t see every chance encounter as an opportunity for networking, we don’t make it a point to try to stand out in a crowd, and it’s a genuine effort to promote ourselves, our work, and our accomplishments.

That doesn’t mean introverts have to slave away forever in the background. Author Susan Cain, an introvert herself and New York Times bestselling author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, points out the many highly successful people who just happen to be introverts. Internet entrepreneur and co-founder of Facebook-Mark Zuckerberg, comedian Steve Martin, actor Tom Hanks, news icon Barbara Walters, U.S. President Barack Obama-all introverts.

Just because you’re on the quiet side, it doesn’t mean you can’t outshine the other candidates in a job interview. There are ways for introverts to promote themselves and their talents, without compromising or radically changing their entire outlook and personality. Here are 5 steps to help you ace the interview and get the job:

1. Consciously Run Through Your Past Accomplishments Before The Interview

Prepare for the interview by reviewing your past successes. Jobs you were commended for, awards or honors you received and difficult tasks you handled well - bring as many of these to your mind as possible. It will increase your confidence, and you’ll be better prepared to overcome your tendency to downplay yourself in favor of promoting your accomplishments.

2. Let Others Speak For You

Not good at promoting your strengths? Let previous employers do it for you. Revise your resume, so that beside each position you’ve held, there’s a quote about your performance from an employer. If this is your first job, or you don’t have much prior experience, get quotes from teachers or advisors, anyone in a position of authority who can vouch for your talents and skills. Bring your resume to the interview, and commit these quotes to memory so when the interviewer asks about your good qualities, you can refer to it and say, “I’ve been commended in the past for (fill in the blank).”  

3. Show Personal Warmth By Smiling and Maintaining Eye Contact

Maybe you’re not the type of person who oozes charisma. No problem. By using good posture, maintaining eye contact, and having a pleasant expression on your face, you can make a favorable first impression on anyone. Radiate warmth by preparing before the interview. Focus on how you are looking forward to meeting the interviewer, and learning more about the company and position they are offering. Let those good feelings and your positive attitude come across on your face.

4. Don’t Describe Yourself As Being Shy

Shyness has the connotation of being immature, even somewhat backward. You’re an introvert-meaning you’re a bit more thoughtful, quiet and do your best thinking alone. There’s nothing backward about that! Are you a term player? Of course you are, you’ll just want to pause here and there and collect your thoughts. Instead of discussing the fact that you are an introvert, tell the interviewers how you are good at paying attention to detail and staying on task-something all employers love to hear.

5. Ask Questions

While extroverts may be better suited to talk and promote themselves during an interview, you can make a lasting impression at the end by asking intelligent, thoughtful questions. There’s always that point towards the end of an interview where you are asked if you have any questions. Many people end up stammering through this part of the interview, but here’s where your introverted thoughtfulness pays off. Pick 3 or 4 intelligent questions in advance so you’re ready. It will show your sincerity, your seriousness about the job, and leave a good impression with your interviewer.

By learning to embrace your introverted qualities, you can use them to your advantage. In many ways, being a quiet, thoughtful introvert is a plus in today’s world, where everyone is scrambling to promote themselves and their ideas.

Do you think being an introvert is a disadvantage or an advantage in an interview? Your thoughts and comments below please...