Introverts and Job Interviews | INFJ Forum

Introverts and Job Interviews

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by Quinlan, Aug 13, 2008.

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  1. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    Isn't it funny how job interviews seem to be designed and used to weed out pesky introverts from the job application process.

    I mean, what does an interview tell you about a potential employee?

    -The ability to make a good first impression under pressure

    -The ability to speak/brag confidently about yourself under pressure

    -The ability to think on the spot and verbally express ideas clearly under pressure

    -The ability to project warmth and trust immediately under pressure

    None of these things seem particularly easy for an introverted person to do?

    Are we really such terrible employees? Are we really of no value to these organisations? I've become terrified of these interviews and it's really holding me back.


    annnd yes I'm bitter :D
    and yes I'm making excuses for myself :D
     
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  2. flux

    flux Community Member

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    Allow me to tell you about my latest round of job interviews. I become a bit long-winded again, but if any of this helps you -- just to see some of yourself/yourselves in it -- then I'll be pleased. I realize that potentially none of what I write here pertains to you specifically, and for that, I apologize. But maybe a lot of it does. If you have further questions, please keep asking, and I shall be more specific with my help. :)

    Interviews have been some of the most horrible things I've ever gone through. The latest round felt like a series of successive deaths, but at least I have a pretty good job now as a result. I realize I only had six of them between Dec. '07 and Apr. '08, but because it was for an internship, I had the simultaneous pressures of full-time school to contend with, it felt like I had hundreds of people saying no to me. I'm not good with the word no, or the uncertainty that goes with it. Introverted feeling is a terrible thing to have too much of during this process, but it was all I could draw upon until just a few days before I got hired.

    The first interviewee seemed to go out of his way to make me comfortable, and therefore I gave easy, flowing answers. The downside was that we spent half the interview talking about tennis. I didn't get that job, and it took him eleven weeks to notify me of that by e-mail. After about three weeks I just gave up, because I don't like asking for a job twice.

    # 2 was for a firm with which I was already employed, lol, so I was feeling rather confident. The interview was only fifteen minutes long, and they never liked me, nor did they ever tell me why. They also told me a rather extravagant lie to explain why I wasn't hired (they "meant to hire me, but accidentally hired someone in my place", which bumped me to the wrong side of the waiting list, so I had to wait for the six candidates to say no.) They could have at least had the balls to say that they weren't interested in me. These settings are too important to mince words. The two interviewers were also a brand of 'fake nice', which I can rarely get an accurate read on in these situations.

    # 3 asked me if I could drive. What he actually meant by this was 'do you own a car?'. I failed to read between the lines, and this fleeting awkwardness became the sole reason for not getting the job.

    # 4 was honest enough to say she couldn't hire me for about 18 months -- or until after I graduated -- but she seemed very stoic and said things like "that's very interesting" as though she were watching paint dry. And this is when I was coming up with some of my all-time best intuitive/feeling-heavy interview material, which I don't use all the time, even though it was entirely appropriate for the occasion.

    # 5, I later discovered, would only hire me if I were over 35 and declared a specifically Christian devotion to God in my interview. I consider myself a spiritual student at best. I can't just pick a faith willy-nilly. I wanted that one so badly, but job # 1 would have been just as good.

    By this point, I was showing less of my face at school. My best friend and I both went out for job # 5, and both being NFPs, we each wanted the other to get the job. Eventually he did. The day it was announced, I was truly happy for him, and because he knew what a struggle interviews were for me, he felt devastated. Two days later, the news had sunken in for both of us, and we each did an emotional 180-degree turn. I was in that horrible, convulsive sobbing mode, and couldn't look at him. He must have been relieved to find the job, but was determined not to let me see it. I apologized for not being able to be happy for him at that moment. Everyone knew how much I wanted the job, and he just told me I had nothing to be sorry for.

    I didn't book an interview for two months, and instead arranged three mock-interview sessions for myself with the unnaturally perky woman from my college's career centre, my counsellor (i.e.: shrink), and finally with one of my teachers, who was also the department head. During the first two, I couldn't even look up or play the role of the applicant, not even for a second. Those became pure therapy sessions. I managed to wear my pokerface for most of the third, but my answers became increasingly shaky, particularly for the scenario-based 'what do you do when...' type questions.

    Now, my department head's a great guy. I entrusted him with a lot of stuff last year, just so that I could make it through the program. He asked if he could be brutally honest with me. I said of course, and then he pointed out my habit of affirming my own answers by following them with "mm hmm", the same way Billy Bob Thornton's character did in "Sling Blade". He said while it was charming, it was a bit bizarre for an interview setting. Of course, it did nothing to help my self-consciousness in the moment, but three days later, I had interview # 6, and after another three days, I had the job. My mind was much more still this time, and the thing I focused on in the moment was not the quality of the answer. It was just trying to hear my own voice.

    I had to get out of my own way in the interview process and just trust the answers I was giving without my own child-like affirmations to back them up. My main regret is that I was so emo-kid about the whole process that I failed to return a couple of e-mails from managers who said no to me this time around, those for whom I would still very much like to work in the future. I hope to undo that mistake in the coming weeks.
     
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  3. Kwistalline

    Kwistalline Permanent Fixture

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    You are so right!! I always felt that everyone else had an unfair advantage over me b/c I'm so shy and reserved, therefore not as prone to light and causual chatty discussions, let alone about myself!

    Urg. Sensitive point. The initial interview for the job I have right now occurred over the phone. There was so little pressure I was sure I'd never get it. thank God for nurse recruiters!
     
  4. OP
    Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    Personally, I think we scare/worry extroverts. When an extrovert is quiet and withdrawn then usually something is very wrong (they're upset, angry or emotionally unstable) so they assume that because we act like that, there is something wrong with us and therefore not a good potential employee. The thing they don't realise is we are perfectly happy, stable and healthy when we act reserved or quiet.

    They associate quietness/being reserved with negativity.
     
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  5. Obstinate

    Obstinate Regular Poster

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    I think the best thing ever to use is the quirky attitude. I'm very quiet and reserved around new people, yet once I get into a discussion about things I'm really passionate and am able to connect with people, I open up like a butterfly :D. Whether it's music, activism, bicycling, or college, get me into that and I immediately enter into a state of euphoria!

    All you other INFJs, try to swing the conversation your way? That's how I got the job I'm at now. And always try to work for a place a friend or a confidant is at; they can always put that 2nd word in for ya.
     
  6. GemINy

    GemINy Newbie

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    good god, even more proof that i'm in the right place on this Forum (just joined yesterday). i have an interview in an hour and a half, and i am ABSOLUTELY DREADING it. i absolutely hate (& have always hated) the concept of selling myself, as i try very hard to make my work prove my intellect, commitment, blech, but these days i'm far more weary/disillusioned because i've been on what seems to be the worst, most inexplicably downward spiral as far as jobs go: i think i was a bit spoiled because i got my first "big people" job before i'd even officially graduated from undergrad, with an amazing salary (especially for a 20yr old), bonuses, free dinner cruises & lunches, the works. things went okay for a while there, but the moment i decided to quit a subsequent job (i was a Paralegal for a Personal Injury/Workman's Comp firm!!! can you say "ANTI-INFJ"?!!!), it seemed like i was doomed. since then, 2004, despite now having 2 degrees, an excellent work history, and the whole crapload of competencies you're supposed to have, i just keep hearing the broken record: "you're too qualified." ?????? especially frustrating as i just completed a degree to enter Counseling (no shock there, huh), so now i get to hear a mix-tape: "you're too qualified" with the new addition of "you're under-qualified: you'd need 3-5 years post-grad counseling experience." SO frustrating! trying to keep my head up, working at 2 jobs currently, neither in the Mental Health field, tired of having to explain to interviewers that while i know that this or that job only pays XX amount and is more suited to someone with a HS diploma, i still need to eat and pay bills. {sighh.... :cry: }

    so, please wish me luck INFJs. the job pays horribly, but it offers benefits, which i hear are these magical things that allow for such options as what are called "doctors visits"! :)
     
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  7. CokeNut

    CokeNut Community Member

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    As an ESYTP and a hiring manager, I have to admit that this holds some truth. However, I like to have a healthy mix of people make up my staff. If I have too many introverts already I will want to hire an extrovert to deal with the 'people' issues, and vice versa ... too many extroverts will make for a nightmare so if I see the opportunity to bring on an introvert I try to so.
     
  8. OP
    Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    That sounds very sensible, I wish there were more recruiters like you out there!
     
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  9. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    tips from an extrovert with almost no experience applying for and GETTING jobs:

    Figure out the style of fashion that the interviewer tends to go for, and emulate.
    Wear cologne (not cheap crappy stuff, and not deodorant), you want to turn heads.
    Slick up your shoes, ensure that your hands are very clean, spray breath freshener.

    Everyone says ask some questions, but by the time I've been to the interview I've done so much research on the company that asking any questions is unnecessary.
    Perhaps cokenut could explain what sort of questions they expect.

    I find all of their questions cliche "have you ever been in an environment where blah blah blah, and what did you do to blah blah blah"... answer these questions as well as you can, but once they've finished, start talking about why you think you and that job are a good mix. not why YOU are the person for the job, or why you want the job, but what is it that makes you and the job perfect for each other, or if it is just as a stepping stone, explain that, and then talk about your ambitions, and how the job fits in as a stepping stone.

    Talk about your intuitions, how you've got excellent professionalism and don't gossip about everything and blah blah blah.

    I generally find in an interview that I'm talking about *NTP, without bringing up Myers Briggs.

    Talk about your interest in topics that may support the job, what studies you've done.
     
  10. CokeNut

    CokeNut Community Member

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    * I agree that you should let the interviewer set the tone and then follow it.

    * I have to disagree with wearing good cologne and no deodorant, I would say skip the cologne and always wear deodorant. I want to remeber you and what you are saying, not the fragrance you wore, or worse .. that you stank of sweat.

    * It is a great idea to research the company before interviewing, and yes sometimes you may have answered all of your own questions, but by not asking any questions you cut your interview short, and you deny the interviewer the opportunity to get to know you. Here are some suggestions ...

    1. Find an interesting point and formulate a question ... I read online that ABC was voted 'best place to work' for the past two years; Can you tell me a bit about how that has affected employee and management expectations?

    2. Ask about what they are not telling the public ... I was very impressed with your web site; it was very informative and I was able to gather a lot about the workings of ABC. Can you tell me something about ABC that I would not know from just searching your site?

    3. Don't just let them bully you, ask them what they expect ... As this position's supervisor, what are your expectations of the ideal candidate? [NOTE: this is a great question because you can save yourself the heartache of taking a position you may not be comfortable with in the long run]

    4. Find out how you will fit into the scheme of things ... As a hiring manager and current employee, can you tell me how my postion fits into the overall operation at ABC?

    5. And finally, don't sell yourself short ask about the benefits ... What are some of the benefits offered at ABC? [NOTE: this question is also important because if you get lucky enough to land two offers you want to be able to make a pros and cons list.

    * This is actually good advice from Shai ...
    I find all of their questions cliche "have you ever been in an environment where blah blah blah, and what did you do to blah blah blah"... answer these questions as well as you can, but once they've finished, start talking about why you think you and that job are a good mix. not why YOU are the person for the job, or why you want the job, but what is it that makes you and the job perfect for each other, or if it is just as a stepping stone, explain that, and then talk about your ambitions, and how the job fits in as a stepping stone.

    However, do be careful on how you reference the stepping stone issue if applicable. I would hire someone that is willing to give me at least 18 to 24 months, but if I know they are leaving in six months I won't bother.

    * I will disagree as well with talking about intuition, if you are interviewing with a hard core ESTP like myself ... you've just lost the job. However, I agree with talking about your professionalism and your interest in topics that may support the job, and if you lack experience talk about your talents and what studies you've done. And yes - DO NOT gossip or talk bad about previous employers. I don't care how bad it was at the last place of employment, no interviewer wants to hear "they were all crazy over there" or "My boss just didn't like me".

    * I will give one more piece of advice .... Dress a notch above the position you are applying for at the time. For example, if you are applying for a store clerk, guys should wear slacks and a tie, but no jacket is needed. Girls will wear slacks or a skirt with a nice professional top (no spandex) and little makeup or jewelry. If you are applying for an office position, always wear a jacket and tie, and women should always look sharp and wear hose if wearing a skirt.
     
  11. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Over here, at the moment you don't sweat. Most people use deodorant in lieu of cologne here as well so I mentioned that.

    In a month or so however it's going to be the go that you ordinarily spray yourself with 24/7 maximum protection brut deodorant, and then you'd put the clothes on after, and do that many times a day. (Tropical seasons rather than Traditional European seasons)

    Definitely. If you're not going to give a job very much loyalty, there's no use in even applying for it.



    If you're after a good suit, get your measurements taken, and send away for something tailor made for you from http://www.startailorphuket.com they're cheap, and they make GREAT stuff. You'd probably end up in a cashmere suit better than the boss for less than an off the shelf suit.
     
  12. OP
    Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    Your advice is all very interesting but I still can't help but feel like a job interview is more of an acting competition. "Selling yourself" just seems like an awful experience, and so disingenuous.

    Asking questions you already know the answer to = being fake
    Pretending you are going to love their social club = being fake
    Hiding intuition = being fake
    Trying to recall details of experiences I've had in the past = difficult

    I think doing all those things I would come out looking like a crappy version of an ESTJ.

    I realise interviews are necessary and that there aren't really any other easy ways to assess job applicants but the process sure doesn't seem to suit me. Like it or not, there is no way you're going to "get to know" an INFJ in a hour long interview, you would have barely scratched the surface of how they would be as an employee.
     
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  13. CokeNut

    CokeNut Community Member

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    Stone you are correct in that its an acting gig, but no more than a first date or some other such thing. However there are fields where one's portfolio is all that matters and I think that INFJs may be good at some of them.

    Writers
    Photographers
    Cameramen
    Painters
    Designers
    Can anyone else think of some others?
     
  14. Shaz

    Shaz Community Member

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    Maybe that's why I only like those kinds of job :mrgreen: *dreads job interviews*
     
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  15. OP
    Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    Don't even get me started on those! :twisted:

    Great fields but all of them are notoriously hard to break into and difficult to make a steady living out of unfortunately.
     
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  16. OP
    Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    ...also if they are acting gigs, what's the point of doing them unless you are hiring an actor? You are bound to make bad decisions due to lack of/deceiving information.
     
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  17. CokeNut

    CokeNut Community Member

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    There is really no alternative ...
     
  18. OP
    Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    That's not good enough for an idealist! :p ;)
     
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  19. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    There's always an alternative, just hope for a GOOD interviewer
     
  20. OP
    Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    But it's not just me I'm worried about, I reckon there is a lot of talent out there being wasted. Human Resources is a sham.
     
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