Job Interview Skills for Introverts

Interviewers waiting for interview

Discover how you can ace job interviews as an introverted person

Job interviews can be stressful and daunting. Being an introvert adds an extra layer of complexity to an already elaborate process. We’ve spoken with individuals that consider themselves introverts and they shared their winning tips to ace job interviews. Here’s our team’s list of job interview skills for introverts. Let’s take a look!

No matter where you are in your professional life, applying for jobs and attending interviews aren’t always easy. For some, the interview process highlights the natural strengths of their personality type, but for others it’s difficult to convey their true aptitude in a standard interview process.

Looking for job interview tips? Well, look no further!

Being an introvert shouldn’t be a deterrent when you appear for job interviews. A large portion of the population feels similarly.

Graph representing introvert population

It’s a personality type and should have very little impact on your professional life. In fact, there are ways to make your introversion work for you.

Strengths of introverts

A few benefits of being an introvert are:

  • Less likely to indulge in petty drama and office gossip
  • Usually more observant than others
  • Attention to detail comes naturally
  • Great listeners
  • They choose their words wisely
  • They make great coworkers and leaders

Embrace being an introvert and leverage your skills to gain an edge over your more sociable peers. We believe that our tips will help you do better in interviews. Our trusted resources are also valuable introverts who offered to share their insights on tackling job interviews. Here are our top job interview skills for introverts.

Plan your outfit the night before

This is possibly one of the most effective tricks in life. When you put an outfit together the night before, you’re doing yourself a huge favor. It takes out last minute panic if you can’t find the right pants. We suggest trying on your outfit on the night before to decide if you feel confident in it and if it’s comfortable.

Dressing comfortable is important when attending a job interview. You want your mind to be alert and focused with minimal distractions. Noisy zippers and swishy fabric are not the best choice of attire for a job interview.

Arrive early

Being on time is the least one can do but it can have an enormous impact on people. You are likely to be seen as a promising candidate who values their time and that of others. Try evaluating the commute beforehand so that you can budget your time accordingly. Make sure you have reliable transportation. Your plan needs to have some flexibility to accommodate last minute hiccups. It is better to arrive earlier than later. Take the extra few minutes to collect your thoughts and go over your notes.

Bring notes

It is good to have your thoughts penned on paper. You might need a refresher before or even during the interview. There’s no shame in bringing flashcards or notes to an interview. It shows that you’re thorough and prepared. This is one of the easy job interview skills for introverts.

Renee McBride, Digital Marketing Manager at Net Pay Advance is big on notes. She explained, “I love bringing notes, about myself, about their company. Just bullet points. Not so much that I’m reading directly from my notes.”

Renee goes on to clarify that she color codes her notes so she can find them quickly if she gets too flustered during the interview. After all, interviews can feel very overwhelming and intimidating.

In fact, 93% of candidates feel nervous going into an interview. Of them, 23% go on to clarify that interviews are more nerve-racking than public speaking, first dates, or doctor appointments.

Percentage of people nervous for upcoming interview

Prepare for small talk

Most introverts struggle with small talk. A lot of them see it as unnecessary. We agree that small talk isn’t the most productive way to spend time. However, in job interviews, small talk gives the interviewer a brief sneak-peek into the candidate’s personality.

Avoid topics like politics, religion, or anything that could be controversial. Weather is always a safe topic. Compliment the interviewer on the office space or the building if applicable. If you see sports memorabilia in their office, asking if they caught the game last night seems like an appropriate question. Try not to be a yes-man but, let the interviewer set the tone for the interview.

Edgar Espinoza-Meza works in Operations at Net Pay Advance. He’s one of our resident introverts who agreed to shed light on the topic.

Espinoza-Meza disclosed, “Honestly what helps me is to just be myself. Usually, I think people try to be super professional for certain interviews. That helps but it makes me kind of uncomfortable and nervous. I just try to be myself and obviously be polite and 9/10 times it ends up working out.”

Practice is key!

They say practice makes one perfect and we couldn’t agree more. This is one of the most important job interview skills for introverts. It takes years of practice to master a craft. Luckily, it takes less than that to hone your interview skills. We suggest practicing for commonly asked questions along with the more difficult ones.

We asked Naveen Ravindran, Software Developer at Net Pay Advance to share his experiences. He elaborated,

“I tend to practice and rehearse my interviews beforehand. I play both the interviewer and candidate roles myself and try to think from both perspectives. I also self-evaluate myself and see if I am fitting for the job as per the description. If I fit, all I need to do is answer properly and be confident. If I don’t fit, I need to make sure I manage the interview with my knowledge and expertise and just be confident.”

Another proponent of practice is Renee McBride from Marketing. We asked her to explain, and she said:

 “Practice practice practice! Look into the most common interview questions and practice your response. We’ve previously talked about the STAR method, and how to respond to those questions. Find a story or scenario that has multiple elements. Your story about a time that you faced a rude customer at work, may also be the same scenario of a time you failed while at work. It’s less stories to remember. Just know that you should angle your response to focus on the question they’re asking. When you’re practicing your responses, be sure to say them out loud. It’s one thing to think of a response. It’s entirely different to hear it said out loud. Practicing your response out loud helps you note and fix any parts that could be improved.”

How to prepare for an interview as an introvert

Our tips are suggestions that could improve your chances of getting hired. We’ve included insights from introverts to make sure the information is helpful and practical. There are a few areas to focus on when preparing for interviews:

How to answer questions about strengths and weaknesses

This is one of the most commonly asked questions and it’s advisable to have an answer prepared for this. It is easier to list your strengths than point out your own weaknesses. Be humble when you inform your interviewer that you’re skilled at using software or making spreadsheets. Some candidates speak a second language while others have worked on relevant projects. All of these add up to your strengths. Being an introvert offers you the opportunity to mention that you are working on your shyness. Or that you’re trying to be more sociable. Stay away from answers like, “My weakness is that I work too hard.”

How to answer illegal questions

There are questions that are illegal to ask in an interview. However, once in a while you might face such a question at a job interview. It is important to be prepared for those questions and exercise good judgement.

Here’s a list of illegal interview questions and how to best answer them.  

Job interview tips for introverts

In closing thoughts, we want to stress that being an introvert is in no way a hindrance in your professional career. We understand that it can be difficult to open up to recruiters and potential employers. At Net Pay Advance, some of our best employees are natural introverts. We cherish the perspectives they bring to the table.

Renee McBride is an introvert who graciously agreed to contribute her thoughts. McBride explained how her introversion motivated her to find ways to excel at job interviews:

“My biggest tip is fake it till you make it!”

She advises candidates to:

“Smile. Mirror the interviewer’s energy and attitude. People get along better with people they think are similar. Just be sure to find out if it’s someone you’d work with directly, or a recruiter. Asking questions is never a bad idea. It shows you’re genuinely interested in the job and company.”

Mc Bride said, “Ask if your other teammates are more outgoing, introverted, or if there’s a balance. If you work with an entire team that is outgoing and lively, you’re going to feel drained by the end of each day. That’s maybe not the role for you. You want to work with a team that has balance.”

She adds:

“Nothing wrong with being honest. When asked about weaknesses, I often mention that I’m extremely shy, but that I’m taking steps to open up more, and then I list out what I’m doing to improve. I’ve personally taken on jobs that require me to be social so that I get more comfortable with it. I always point out that 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to have a conversation like this. It shows improvement. I want them to know not to put me in a role where I have to be extremely outgoing (that’s just not a good fit for me), but to also know that it’s something I’m working on, and it shouldn’t impact my day-to-day work.”

The moral here is that no matter how introverted you are, you can succeed in job interviews. All our contributors are currently employed and have been selected after several rounds of interviews.

Life finds a way and so will you!