Interviewing for Introverts
Even the most extroverted person is unlikely to go into an interview knowing exactly what the interviewer is looking for in their next recruit, so like most of us, they’ll have some nerves to cope with. Being nervous for an interview is natural and generally a good sign that you care about securing the role.
Suffering from nerves is one thing, but coping with being an introvert in an interview setting is quite another. It needn’t be though.
Like most things in life, extroversion and introversion come in many shades of grey rather than being black or white. Various studies estimate that introverts make up between 40% and 50% of the general population so if you believe you are one, you’re not alone. And you may not be aware of the strengths that you DO possess which can separate you from the over-confident extroverts – as long as you become more self-aware and make the most of these strengths.
The focus of this blog, therefore, is on those who have a more dominant introverted personality, those who are more likely to need help before and during an interview. This blog is for those of us who may reflect a lot and that reflection acts to stop them ‘going for it’ or encourages them to ‘put it off’ for another day. That reflection may also prevent them from performing at the interview itself
So here are some interview tips for introverts!
- Research the company – is it the right one for you? A busy, frenetic and very sociable managing agent may not be the right fit for an introvert – a more restrained company may be and the interviewer will quickly pick up on that. You are more likely to want a role that is meaningful and you’ll be less concerned about developing camaraderie with colleagues. The right company will recognise the value in more introverted staff and the interviewer will be more inclined to view a softly-spoken applicant positively.
- Prepare plenty of ‘material’ before the interview. Whilst an unprepared extrovert may wing it at interview, this won’t work for you. Study the job description, understand what the employer is looking for. Speak to your recruiter and get the inside track – for instance, if you are to be interviewed by one person or more than one, as a group may be more daunting for you and require more prep. More than one person interviewing can pose challenges for introverts when it comes to making eye contact. Make notes of how YOU can fulfil their needs. Think about YOUR strengths and how they will apply to the company in question. Remember that talking about yourself is not bragging – it’s sharing! If you struggle with self-promotion, talk about what you know and what you’re passionate about. Your careful and methodical personality traits stand you in good stead in terms of prep so gain an advantage over the extroverts by being super prepared!
- Be conscious of your energy levels. For property manager roles in particular, the employer is usually looking for the right level of ‘get-up-and -go’ in their recruits, not least as block management is a people-facing service sector. At the interview, the employer will want to see your true personality. They will want to see an agreeable level of energy and enthusiasm. They will want to ascertain that you have the drive and vitality to cope with a busy working day, dealing efficiently and effectively with the conveyor belt of property management issues. An ‘agreeable’ level of energy and enthusiasm doesn’t mean they are looking for a super-social party animal, so rest assured. It’s true that some interviewers wouldn’t necessarily look favourably on a church mouse. You can talk to us about getting the energy and enthusiasm levels just right.
- Take your time, particularly when answering questions and don’t hesitate to ask for the question to be repeated (especially if you were dwelling on the preceding answer). And do ask for thinking time if you need it. Introverts are known to have a more complex way of processing thoughts, in contrast to extroverts who need to be talking to get the synapses firing! As an introvert who takes their time to answer, you are more likely to give a meaningful response and certainly one that isn’t fully of waffle!
- Longer-term outlook. The block management industry has been, in our opinion, a little too obsessed with outgoing, gregarious people. ‘Introvert’ was seen as a negative word and ‘extrovert’ was included in the personality traits sought. Not anymore. Employers these days are looking for candidates who show signs that they will make the right decision earlier because they’ve thought the issue through. Introverts are perhaps less likely to make rash decisions that are tricky to recover from, and by virtue of their controlled approach, introverts are more inclined to enjoy their role and show long term loyalty. Reinforce your loyal approach by talking about your longer-term ambitions.
- Always have a list of questions up your sleeve. Interviewers are often disappointed if the interviewee fails to ask any questions. We would suggest you prepare a list rather than just one or two, as some of your questions may be covered during the course of the interview and you still want to have at least one (hopefully insightful) question. Think about industry changes that will have an impact on that managing agent. For instance, ask for the interviewer’s opinion on the upcoming regulation of managing agents or how they are tackling the cladding crisis. Our blogs are a helpful source of discussion points – have a read through and jot down some questions as you go along.
And don’t forget …
- Remaining in a role in which you’re unhappy and unfulfilled is not healthy for you and ultimately not great for the company you’re working for. Being aware that your introversion may be preventing you from taking the plunge is the first step toward finding the right role for you. We’re a very friendly bunch at BBL – call us for a chat in total confidence and let’s see what we can do for you, even if you’re not 100% convinced it’s the right thing for you.
- Given about one in two of us are more introverted than extroverted, there is a good chance your interviewer will also be an introvert! A fellow introvert will know how diligent, focussed, productive and self-sufficient you can be.
- Prepare well. Recognise what your core skills are and if you’re unsure, ask a close friend as they’ll know. Be proud to talk about your achievements, even if you feel uncomfortable ‘sharing’.
- Be yourself, be genuine. Use your unique personality to your advantage. Be conscious of injecting a little more energy in your answers, if you can.
- Relax! Interviewers aren’t looking to catch you out. Especially in today’s market, when they see a great fit, they may well make an offer fast.
- Make eye contact with the person you are talking to – it’s really important to show the right body language to give conviction to your words.
At BBL, we have many friends in the property management industry who are more than happy to speak (confidentially) to our candidates. As interviewers themselves, they can give you hints and tips ahead of your meeting – and an insight into the company you’re meeting, if that’s what you need. That will undoubtedly boost your confidence!