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How to Navigate the Interview Process as an Introvert

How to Navigate the Interview Process as an Introvert

If you’re an introverted attorney interested in exploring the legal job market for new opportunities, whether in the Biglaw or in-house space, then you may be feeling somewhat anxious about the possibility of another set of high-stakes interviews.

Interviews often feel inauthentic and artificial to introverts, who do not necessarily have the same capacity for socially “presenting” as extroverts.  This can have a negative impact on their ability to secure positions for which they’re well-qualified.

Fortunately, introverts can learn and implement a few simple tips that will help them improve the way they come across in an interview, and thus maximize their ability to secure the ideal position.

Consider the following.

Make Sure to Save Your Mental Energy

Introverts are not necessarily lacking social graces.  Many psychologists define introversion as a trait wherein the person is simply drained of mental energy through socializing.  Thus, the more an introverted person socializes, the more drained they feel and the more likely they are to fall into negative social patterns (i.e., demonstrating disinterest, lacking dynamic conversation, etc.).

To maximize your chances, rest well before your interview and try to avoid unnecessary socializing before the interview.  It may be worthwhile to simply wait by oneself and review your preparations for the interview, or even just listen to music.  Anything that minimizes social interaction and relaxes you will almost certainly lead to a better result in the interview.

Consider Tone and Non-Verbal Communication

Many introverts fail to recognize that they can say all the right words, but if the way that they are speaking is disinterested or even upset (at having to socially interact), then their tone will often subconsciously reflect that underlying emotion.

Interviewers will almost certainly pick up on negative tonality, so introverts should take steps to ensure that they are expressing themselves in a way that exhibits a more positive and interested tone — this can be accomplished by simply being aware of your tone as you’re speaking.  Introverts can also practice in mock interviews with their legal recruiter to better identify when their tone is changing to a more disinterested one.

Non-verbal communication is another area that is frequently underutilized by introverted people.  Instead of keeping your body tight and only communicating with your words, it can help to loosen up and use your hands to help communicate your thoughts.  This sort of communication style is often perceived as amiable, friendly, and outgoing — which can help a great deal in the interview process.

First Impressions Do Matter

First impressions are critical.  In many cases, the first impression that you leave will be the strongest.  As such, try to emphasize your interest and energy in the beginning, when you are first being introduced.  Though you can lower your energy levels to a more reasonable and sustainable amount after introductions, it will pay dividends to put forth your “best self” early on in the interview.

Be Ready to Small Talk

Though small talk is generally not something that most introverted people like to engage in, it is fundamental part of the interview process.  Small talk may include basic introductions and questions about the other person’s day, as well as simple follow-up questions to initial informational reveals.

For example, if an interviewer mentions that they attended their daughter’s event over the weekend, “effective” small talk might involve asking the interviewer about their daughter’s event.  If there is a connection to be found (i.e., perhaps it was a piano recital and you play piano, too), then you can use that to establish rapport with the interviewer.

Small talk can be difficult for those who find that it is awkward and who are not necessarily comfortable with pushing conversations in a more dynamic direction.  Introverts can minimize these issues by preparing for the interview with some pre-formulated small talk questions and answers.  The script does not have to be followed exactly, but will at least lower anxiety by giving a framework for potential small talk.

Contact Garb Jaffe & Associates for Legal Job Market Assistance

Here at Garb Jaffe & Associates, we work closely with attorney-candidates to secure ideal placements in prestigious Biglaw firms and in-house legal departments throughout the state of California.  We have an extensive professional network through which we assist candidates in identifying and evaluating opportunities, and in successfully obtaining the “best fit” position for them.

Our team is committed to helping candidates at every stage of the hiring process, including the interview.  We understand that the interview can be particularly nerve-wracking for those attorneys who are more “introverted” by nature — to that end, we coach candidates and provide helpful tips (some specific to the particular firm or in-house department with which they’re interviewing) to familiarize and make them comfortable with this critical step in the hiring process.

If you’d like to speak to an experienced Los Angeles legal recruiter here at Garb Jaffe, we encourage you to contact us at your earliest convenience.  We look forward to discussing your candidacy further.

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