There’s a mistaken belief that introverts dislike people or are cripplingly shy. That’s not necessarily the case. According to Psychology Today, you’re an introvert if you recharge by spending a lot of time time alone. In fact, you need to be by yourself to recharge, process, and clear your head.

Introverts use that time to strategize, plan, and develop creative solutions. That doesn’t mean you don’t like people; it just means that you prefer being around people in smaller doses than extroverts. Extroverts, on the other hand, feel most comfortable when they’re around people. They gather energy from social situations and feel more at ease when they’re in the presence of others.


do you fit the profile of an introvert?

So many quizzes and personality tests exist online to help you determine if you’re more introverted or extroverted. These quizzes are definitely not a perfect science. In fact, there are people who are a mix of both, called ambiverts. There are even flip-flops between introverted and extroverted, depending on the setting.

Interestingly, introverts tend to be more comfortable addressing large, anonymous groups of people than smaller, face-to-face encounters. While you may be less likely to volunteer an opinion, people tend to take heed when you speak because your responses come from thoughtful, insightful observation. In contrast to random, fire-at-will, and machine gun delivery. Small talk isn’t something you’re comfortable with or find easy, sometimes making you seem standoffish or antisocial.

You know how terrific you are, but others may find your quiet demeanour off-putting. The last place you want that to happen is in that most uncomfortable situation—the job interview. Making a good first impression and tooting your own horn is critical to your success. Here are some tips to help you overcome your need for solace and put yourself out there when it counts most.

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how to feel more comfortable in a job interview as an introvert

do your research

The best way to build confidence is to feel prepared. Research and learn all you can about the organization you’re interviewing with. Gather as much information as possible about the role, the job description, and the person (or people) interviewing you.

Your greatest strength is that you're a natural planner and like to feel prepared—take advantage of that. Remember, as the Roman philosopher Seneca said, luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. 

ask what to expect

When you schedule your interview with the hiring manager, ask:

  • what will happen during the interview?
  • who will you interview with?
  • will you be asked to take a skill, behavioural, or problem-solving test? 
  • how long do you expect the interview to take?

Don’t drill down too much – it’s not an interrogation – but it’s fair to ask for clarification of the basics.

have a plan ahead of time

Make sure you know where you’re going. If you're unsure, ask someone or Google Maps for directions. Plan your route to the location.

Organize your wardrobe ahead of time. This will help you solve problems with your wardrobe before the day of. Choose comfortable clothing that makes you confidently carry yourself and feel good about yourself. 

Also, prepare talking points for common questions like these 17 difficult interview questions. If keeping your answers straight in your head is overwhelming, write them down. You might find organizing your thoughts on paper is helpful.

be prepared for plans to change

Accept that as much as you prepare, unforeseeable things happen. You want to minimize the risk of feeling ambushed but understand circumstances change, and you must adapt. Don’t wait until you’re actively looking for work to take an improvisation or public speaking course. Most programs that offer classes have courses geared specifically for the workplace and specific career goals.

use your listening skills to your advantage

One of the introverts’ biggest personality types' strengths is that they're excellent listeners. This is a skill that comes in handy in a job interview.

Listen to what your interviewer is saying. You might be surprised how often you’ll hear cues. Use these cues to segue into your prepared talking points or share related skills and experiences you’ve picked up.

practice makes perfect

Rehearse common interview questions and answers aloud in front of a mirror. Often, what we think we sound like in our heads. However, this is startlingly different from what we actually sound like aloud. This can throw us off our game.

Rehearse in front of a friend or family member who’ll play the interviewer's part and have them grill you with questions. The more research and preparation you do, the easier you’ll find the whole interactive process. This will also help you feel more comfortable making small talk, the bane of the introvert’s existence.

talk yourself up

Introverts generally avoid talking about themselves, which is counter-productive in job interviews. Make a list of your accomplishments and long-term goals as part of your planning process—consider bringing samples of your work. Having your list will give you something to focus on while you’re actually talking about yourself.

fake it ‘til you make it

Everyone experiences performance anxiety from time to time—job interviews are no exception. Anyone who tells you they enjoy the process is an anomaly. Act as if you’re happy to be there. While it may feel like an ordeal, that’s something you’ll want to keep to yourself along with your discomfort and anxiety.

Remember to smile. Putting a smile on your face has been proven to change your brain and mental state—even if you’re faking it. It certainly encourages a good mood in you and in the people around you who can’t refrain from smiling back. A smile is a lot like a yawn in that respect.

use the power of body language

Remember not to slouch or act like you’re trying to take up as little space as possible. Even if that’s just what you’re used to doing. Instead, sit up tall, shoulders back, head up; project confidence, even if you’re not feeling it.

Try to avoid crossing your arms or sitting on your hands, making you seem defensive or closed off. Remember, your body language is communicating even in complete silence!

feel out if the job is right for you

Remember, interviews are a two-way street. You need to ask questions to determine if this role is a good fit for you. Prepare a list of questions about the company, the role and where you might fit into the mix. As an introvert, it’s especially important for you to know about the work culture.

Do people work in single or shared cubicles, or is the office unstructured and open? Are there expectations about socializing? Do employees routinely meet after work? Do meetings occur in small boardrooms, or does everyone gather in the open on beanbag chairs?

and finally… don’t be afraid of silence

Remember, it’s where you do some of your best thinking. Don’t fill the pauses with meaningless chatter just because. Buy yourself time by saying something like ‘Good question. Let me think about that.’

There’s no shame in buying yourself a few bonus seconds to compose your answer before you speak. 

An interview is your opportunity to let people know what you can do. An interview is where you can show how you can help their organization if they’re smart enough to hire you.

Introverts often worry about their ability to succeed in job interviews, especially compared to extroverts, who appear more confident and charismatic. Take a moment to breathe. You have your own strengths, and smart employers will see that.

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