We say it over and over. The best way to find a job is from talking to other people who can introduce you to other people. Eventually this process of constant conversation and introductions puts you in site of opportunities. It is a question of numbers. The more people you meet the more likely you are to uncover opportunities.
Same is true with interviews. The best interviews turn into conversations between two professionals. This only happens when both parties are calm and interested.
This constant interaction is great fun for some people. My partner, Dan, thinks it is great fun. What happens when that process of constant conversation and introductions is at the bottom of your “things I love to do” list?
I think in my head. The words that come out of my mouth have been rolling around in my head for a while. Sometimes the words refuse to come out at all or come out kind of jumbled, not like it sounded in my head at all. I am an introvert.
Meeting new people and going on interviews is both exhilarating and terrifying to me at the same time. I love to learn about new people and I love to talk about The Interview Doctor. But, when the conversation turns away from those topics, I get flummoxed. I often tell people I would love to pick up dog poop in my front yard than walk into a room full of people I don’t know yet. Most times the terror overwhelms any potential exhilaration. I have actually gotten back into the car and driven away rather than going into a large networking meeting.
How then does an introvert like me handle networking and interviewing without stumbling all over her tongue? With some care and a lot of advance work. Introverts cannot wing these things. Here are some tips for introverts preparing to network or interview:
- Know what you want to say. What are the main points you want the other person to know or you want to know about the other person? Make a list.
- Find the most frequently asked questions and prepare your responses in advance. Write your answers down and edit them until the answers you give will support the information you want the other person to know.
- Practice your responses to frequently asked questions until the words come out of your mouth smoothly. This takes some time. Think of it like an actor preparing to share a speech with the audience.
- Do your homework. What do you want to know about the other person? What is his or her background? If you are going to a large networking meeting, think of three or four topics you can prepare to discuss as small talk. Read the Wall Street Journal or LinkedIn news to find current events topics you can discuss fluently. This is not cheating.
- Lay out your materials the night before. Pack your portfolio. Lay out your clothes. Allow enough travel time. Being late or unprepared just increases the stress.
The key to great job interviews and meeting new people is preparation. Words flow better when you are prepared. So be prepared next time and notice the improvement!