Slow thinking in job interviews

The distance between my brain and my mouth seems so much further than for other people…

Something that always bothered me was the fact that I didn’t think very quickly. If I was put on the spot I would completely freeze at times.

It’s like the distance between my brain and my mouth is so much further than for other people. As the words are travelling from my brain to my mouth, they’re getting scrambled and lost on the way. My words come out all wrong. I can be thinking something quite sensible in my head, and when I spit the words out they just don’t make much sense. I feel like I look silly. On paper, I seem quite intelligent but that probably doesn’t come across when I’m talking to people.

I’m not a person that can come up with answers very quickly; I need time to reflect. Today, I was on a course that involved coming up with a job description and writing a job advert for a volunteer role to feedback to the group in just a few minutes. I found myself feeling really frustrated, resistant and annoyed that that was the case. I don’t show my best self like this.  Given the time, I can come up with something that I can be proud of. But doing this in only a few minutes, under pressure and trying to think in a noisy room with other people chatting and laughing is really hard for me.

In situations like this, it’s a little bit uncomfortable. I used to feel really bad when that happened. Now, I can chuckle to myself when I recognise myself responding in this way and I’m kinder to myself, instead of setting the bar as high as I used to!

However, where this has been a problem for me has been in job interviews. I’ve always found that I can write really good job applications and I’ll get an interview 9 out of 10 times. But, when I go for the interview, I don’t often get the job.

I’ve always spent a lot of time preparing for my job interviews, but I feel like no amount of preparation can get me the job. I can come up with some great written answers and sell myself when I’m given the time to reflect on a question and put something coherent together. But when I’m confronted with questions that are nothing like the ones that I’ve prepared for, my brain just goes to mush.

It’s not that I’m feeling anxious in that situation, that’s not the case anymore and it’s helped, but only slightly. So I’m pretty sure I’m just wired up differently. We know introverts are more reflective. Perhaps I’m way down that introverted scale and in need of more time to reflect than a lot of other people.

It makes me wonder… how many more skilled, introverted candidates are employers losing? All because there’s no space for their reflective personalities to shine in their job interviews.


  • Hayley Stanton

    Hi, I’m Hayley - the original quieteer. I, too, identify as a quiet person. I’m naturally a highly sensitive introvert and I love and appreciate my quiet strengths now, but I spent much of my life not feeling good enough and experiencing social anxiety. I missed so many opportunities because I was afraid of being judged harshly, criticised and rejected – and because I doubted that I had the ‘right’ personality to succeed. Quiet Connections exists in part because I had a fantastic coach who helped me to work through old patterns of keeping myself small and hidden so that I could show up and be seen to play my part in creating the more connected, curious and compassionate world that I dream of. Now, I’m passionate about helping quiet people discover their unique qualities, gifts, passions and experiences and explore how best to use these to express themselves more authentically and contribute to the world in a way that works with their quieter or more sensitive nature. Get to know me here.

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