Ten Tips for the Extroverted Job Seeker
Extroverted job seekers tend to be more outgoing than their introverted counterparts. They thrive around people, and their high-energy personalities often shine through during an interview. Some employers love that.
“Typically, extroverts are outgoing and comfortable making connections with new people, so being friendly, asking questions, and showing their personalities can come naturally to them,” says Jayne Mattson, senior vice president of Keystone Associates, a Boston-based career management firm.
It’s easy for extroverts to develop rapport with people they meet during the interview process, says Mattson. From the receptionist, to the hiring manager, to other interviewers, the extrovert easily highlights an extension of themselves without being asked any questions. “They will initiate the conversation,” says Mattson.
But these traits don’t always mean that an extrovert will secure the job over the introverted applicant—someone who is perhaps shy, more reserved, or guarded.
“While I don’t believe that being extroverted is any better than being introverted, I do believe that if you are extroverted there are specific ways you can leverage your natural outgoing personality for passion and profit,” says Lois Barth, a human development expert, motivational speaker, and author of the book, Courage to Sparkle: The Audacious Girls’ Guide to Creating a Life That Lights You Up.
Here are 10 strategies an extroverted job seeker can use to rock the interview and rule the workplace—even in a land of introverts:
1. Remember that enthusiasm is contagious.
Extroverts are naturally more outgoing and high energy and want to engage. So use your bigger-than-life personality to be excited about everything—the job, the mission of the company, what your job will entail, and most importantly, how you can contribute, says Barth.
But remember, in the interview, it’s all about them (the employer) and how you can help them solve their problems.
Case in point: Barth recently worked with a woman who was approached by a company that she adores for some contract work. As soon as she called back they commented on her quick response time. Instead of getting all serious and buttoned up (she knew the culture) she responded, “Are you kidding? I’m still pinching myself. Your company is at the top of my wish list of cool places to work.” The person on the other line let out a huge laugh and said, “Great, when can you start?” What started as a small project ended up being a low five-figure contract. When she asked what shifted (they hadn’t even seen their work yet), the employer said, “Enthusiasm—we love team players who are brand ambassadors.”
2. Break the ice.
It’s common that the interviewer may be a little nervous starting an interview, so using your skills to connect, build rapport, and actively listen will make both parties feel more relaxed and engaged.
“If your interviewer is more relaxed, they’ll be able to evaluate your candidacy in a more thoughtful way by focusing on the discussion, not on any potential awkwardness,” says Laura Mazzullo, an HR recruiter and the founder of New York City-based East Side Staffing.
3. Showcase soft skills.
Hiring managers are really evaluating candidates for soft skills in today’s market, and extroverts tend to have a natural ability to show their personality, which can be a great advantage during interviews, says Mazzullo. But the key is to be aware when ego/arrogance creeps into the interview. Extroverts have a tendency to “go into selling mode, which can be a turnoff to many employers,” says Mazzullo.
Instead, speak about your accomplishments in an authentic and positive way, without bragging. “Most employers prefer humility to arrogance, so be aware of how you are telling your story,” adds Mazzullo.
4. Share your story.
Extroverts tend to be wonderful storytellers, which is a fabulous skill when interviewing. The most successful interviewees are able to talk through their career journey in an engaging, dynamic way. The downside is that some storytellers can ramble and go off on tangents when speaking, says Mazzullo.
Think of listening without the sole intention of responding. Don’t interrupt your interviewer, or jump ahead in thought. Stay present in the moment. Remain an active listener. “Tell your story more concisely and it will likely have a more positive impact on your interviewing success,” says Mazzullo.
5. Adjust as needed to the interviewer.
Every interviewer has different personality and approach. If you are an extreme extrovert being interviewed by an introvert, it’s important you adjust your style accordingly. “You always want to be yourself, but emotional intelligence shows us we can adapt our approaches to make the other party feel more at ease,” says Mazzullo. “Don’t be overbearing or too verbose if the other party is more soft-spoken and reserved. In other words, evaluate your audience to help you determine how you may need to adjust your style to accommodate their approach.”
6. Align with company culture—but be yourself.
Even those working virtual jobs must align with the company culture, while also being authentic. “Tempering parts of your personality is not about suppression, but rather a strategy to feel connected and on the same page,” says Barth.
Learn about the culture by studying the company social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn). Watch videos about the company, and look for hints. Are they more reserved? More flashy? Understand the company culture and align with that culture during the interview.
7. Focus on being interested versus interesting.
Outgoing people can easily be accused of being “on,” which sounds like “we’re being fake and disingenuous,” says Barth. “We’re often unfairly labeled that, so bring the joie de vivre to the party by being wildly curious about them. By in large, outgoing people are wildly curious about meeting and learning about people; use that to your benefit.”
8. Learn how to connect.
Use your gift to connect with people and connect people to others, says Barth. “Extroverts, by nature, can start conversations with total strangers and really bond,” says Barth. “Use that same gift to connect people with each other.” For example, if you’re having a team meeting or are at a networking group for your company and you meet an interesting or introverted person who can utilize the services of the company, feel free to connect them with someone in your company who might really benefit. Connectors are naturally exceedingly valuable people in a work culture.
9. Know when to shift gears.
Sometimes we are in cultures or with people where we just have to take it down a few notches, says Barth. “Temporarily tempering our extroverted natures is not suppression, it’s a strategy to create a safe connection with another less extroverted person so they don’t feel overwhelmed or slammed by our personality,” says Barth. Meeting people where they are at makes them feel at ease.
Eventually, you can slowly work up to bringing your more outgoing self to the table as people adapt to increasing their level of energy and interest in sharing.
10. Choose generosity over gregariousness.
It’s not like you can’t be both, and in most cases you can, but come forth with your passion-filled personality from a place of “how can I serve?” versus “look at me, look at me!” By doing this you’ll bring life to the party and make some heartfelt connections that will last you and be of tremendous value to your employer and to yourself, says Barth.
“As extroverts we have enthusiasm and energy on our side; use it to sparkle in the job search and interview,” says Barth.