The expression of introversion varies from one person to another in intensity as well as type. Some basic traits of an introvert person are –hesitation to speak in front of people especially strangers, hesitation in making eye contact when listening to someone, using a soft (and sometimes inaudible) tone while talking, taking too long to search for the right words and feeling uncomfortable in group situations. Introverts often think a lot before actually saying anything and thus they are unable to speak at the right moment. If you are an introvert, you might have faced a number of such problems not only in your social life but in your professional life as well.
The business world is really competitive and things may become harder for you in case you are an introvert. Introverts often tend to avoid situations where they are required to speak up in front of a group or where they feel the focus is on them. Thus, group discussion as well as personal interview is beyond the comfort zone for an introvert.
Now before you go for a group discussion and personal interview, you need to know that most candidates out there are nervous too. You are definitely not the only one. The selection procedure can be really nerve-wrecking even for the best candidates. Here are some tips that will help you face the group discussion and personal interview with ease.
- Believe in Yourself
Being confident and self-assured may not seem to be easy. However, the first step towards preparing yourself to face your upcoming GD/PI is to believe in yourself and your abilities. Now, being an introvert does not mean that you are any less capable than other candidates. Surely, communication skills are a plus but you do not have to be disheartened if you are not good at it. All you have to do is work a little harder. If you plan and prepare well, you have a good chance of making it through the selection procedure of the college you have applied to.
- Plan and Prepare
Start your preparation well in advance. List down all the topics you think you may possibly be given for the group discussion and then research about them. During a group discussion, each candidate gets only a limited time to speak. Hence, it is not about how much you speak, it is about the how logical and sensible your points are. The more you know, the more confident you will feel!
Mock interviews may really help you build up your confidence before the big day. Practice speaking while standing in front of a mirror. Observe your body language and your tone. You may even ask for some help from your friends. Conduct mock group discussions and interviews with them. Ask them to point out your mistakes and weaknesses and try to overcome them. Practice will really help you to overcome your nervousness.
Now that you know what you need to work on before your GD/PI, here are a few things you need to keep in mind on the big day.
- Dress well
Presentation matters! Make sure you follow the dress code and dress up smartly on the final day. Don’t start hunting for your formal dress few hours before your GD/PI. All this should be done the previous night. Dressing up smartly will also help you feel more confident about yourself.
Dressing up casually or shabbily for interviews shows lack of interest and seriousness. Remember, the interviewers will be judging you on various factors. It is important to look impressive when you go for the group discussion and personal interview.
- Stop over-thinking and be calm
The more you think, the more nervous you will be. Also, thinking too much before presenting your views in the group discussion may affect your performance as you may not be able to speak up on time.
Do not think of the personal interview as an interrogation. Think of it as a conversation. Be quick and subtle with your responses. Over-thinking may result in long unnecessary pauses and this may break the flow of the conversation during the interview. Performance anxiety can be reduced if you keep reminding yourself that you are just having a conversation.
Calm yourself before you go for your group discussion and personal interview.
- Use your Listening Skills
Introverts are often considered to be good listeners and if you are one, you may use this skill for your benefit at the GD/PI. Carefully listen to the views and opinions presented by other candidates at the group discussion. This will help you in forming your own opinions. Also, this way you may avoid being repetitive and stating the points which have already been mentioned by someone else.
Strong listening skills will help you process the information well and plan out your answers accordingly. Well thought answers will certainly give you an upper hand over other candidates. However, don’t get too caught up in just listening and not responding in time.
Group discussions and personal interviews can be really nerve-wrecking if you are an introvert. Unfortunately, they cannot be avoided. Whether you are applying for admission in a reputed business school or you are trying for a job at some company, you will have to face personal interview.
GD/PI may seem to be a little less difficult for extroverts owing to their strong communication skills and their ease of interacting with others. However, this does not mean that you do not stand a chance. Planning, preparation, and practice make the perfect combination of what you need in order to give your best in the group discussion and personal interview. Focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. A little hard work is all you require to make it through your upcoming GD/PI. Many introverts have carved out a successful professional career for themselves. There is no reason why you can’t!
Contributed By : Qais Mujeeb, Class of 2001, IBS Hyderabad