“So,” the Senior Vice-President said. “Tell me a little bit about yourself and why you think you’d be the best candidate for the job.”
Nervous? You betcha. This is my 5th round of interviews with this company. Also, the conversation is happening in French this time. Although I’m almost perfectly fluent, in an interview situation I’m feeling a bit stressed.
Introvert, Meet the Competition
Today, it’s down to me and just one other candidate for the position, and I just caught a glimpse of my competitor in the lobby a few minutes before.
And don’t you know that just one look is all it takes to put my introverted intuition into overdrive?
In one glimpse, I drank in the fact that the competition is a “she.”
And “she” is very good-looking, smartly dressed and perfectly coiffed. Nothing is overdone. Very smart, indeed. I don’t see her nails, but I’m sure they’re every bit as perfect as she is. I can “just tell” that she’s put a lot of time and thought in to her appearance, including the ironing, in preperation for this one interview.
Looking professional, intelligent and ready to make her case, she definitely has a certain “go-get’em-ism” about her.
“Damn!” I think to myself, as I follow Mr VP’s Administrative Assistant into the boardroom. “They’ll surely pick the intelligent, French beauty over me.”
Inroverted Intuition on Overdrive Isn’t All Bad, Though
Sitting across the table from the Senior VP, my Introverted Intuition is on “High Alert”, or something, measuring this man’s vocal tone, facial expressions, body language, tics, reactions; anything that might help me to assess how he is assessing me as I begin to speak, sounding like the immigrant that I am.
I’m looking for anything that might reveal something about his thoughts, reactions and personality. Something that will put me more at ease.
But while it sounds like I’m doing this consciously, that’s only partially true. I’m sure that most of the information is coming in under-the-radar, subconsciously.
You know. It’s like how you know the grass is green. You see it. You don’t have to think about it for a while or concentrate on the grass in order to eventually draw the conclusion that it’s green.
And I did begin to see things that made me feel immediately more at ease.
So What Did My Introverted Intuition “Spidey-Sense” Pick Up?
Several things became obvious during this interview as the conversation began to flow.
The Veep is an Introvert! Yep. I was immediately and pleasantly surprised to be sitting across from a fellow introvert. And not just any introvert, because…
He’s Intuitive. This took a while to notice, but it began to occur to me that Mr VP had an intuitive slant to his perceptions. I think this contributed to the ease in our conversation. He was intuitively understanding way more than I was saying out loud, which is probably fortunate for me, because my nerves were showing at times. Good thing he was looking well past all of that.
Introverted Thinking? Often as he spoke, he would pause to look inward for the rest of the sentence or idea or point he was making. I honored that silence for as long as he needed, without proposing potential endings to his sentences. I created space for him to think.
We both obliterated each other’s preconceived notions about each other. I presumed he was going to be a stereotypical CEO-type person, a Get-Things-Done kind of guy with a penchant for plowing through anything (or anyone) like a bulldozer. He wasn’t at all like that. He was very polite, pleasant, attentive, and agreeable. I sincerely enjoyed my conversation with him.
As for his impression of me, he told me towards the end of the interview that he was very pleased with my openness and honesty, which he believed impossible from the stereotypical American in an interview situation. He’s lived stateside in a hiring capacity, and said that in his experience interviewing Americans, he usually has to listen to 30 minutes of non-stop monologue while the candidate goes on about all of the successful points of their professional history.
So Did My Introversion Really Help Me Land This Job?
By the end of the week, I received news that I was the best candidate for the position, and that they wanted to make me an offer.
Expat Introvert: 1, … Good-looking, professional, intelligent, young French woman: ZERO!
But before some of you cry “foul” in some sexist way for my having been chosen over the intelligent female; to my credit, my CV and experience ultimately reads like a checklist of the job description and requirements, which is one of the first points I made in answer to that first question.
Looking back, my introverted intuition at times wasn’t always doing me any favors that day. But I do believe that, in addition to my experience, the shared introverted and intuitive traits with Mr VP was a big plus in communicating during the final interview.