Last updated: June 13, 2024

Some people may view introversion negatively and assuming the less-loud folk are uncomfortable in social settings or socially awkward. However, this view is not accurate. Introverts lead happy and fulfilling lives because they do not depend on others to boost their mood or energy. They have an unmatched ability to regulate themselves.

That said, some social settings can be more challenging for introverts.

For Laura Winter, - a contributor to introvertdear.com, an online community that celebrates and supports the quieter heroes amongst us – job interviews used to be her worst nightmare.

She talks about having ‘frozen up’ in interviews before confessing to “not being very good at interviews”. Winters believes introverts often need time to answer something – and that can be tricky in a live interview.

So how did Laura ensure her introversion did not see her other marvellous skills overlooked? She identified the bits about a job interview that are common challenges for her – and other introverted people – and set about giving herself the right preparation.

COMMON JOB INTERVIEW CHALLENGES FOR INTROVERTS

1. Answering vague, open-ended questions

“Tell me a bit about yourself?” The idea of selling oneself can feel very uncomfortable.

Winters says as an introvert she has often internalised criticism and so often recalls her shortcomings before her greatest traits. So, she sets that mental noise aside.

“Now, as I face this question, I focus on aspects of myself that I previously undervalued. Being extremely self-reflective, dedicated to personal development, sensitive and empathetic are some of my best qualities. Observation and active listening are crucial in any career, especially in teaching. And, as it turns out, these attributes are a significant part of who I am as an introvert!

2. Getting too caught up in the details

Often, introverts like to give things ample consideration. Winter says sometimes it is hard to know where to start and thoughts start racing as to what to talk about first - but just because you take a bit of extra time, doesn’t mean you lack an answer.

“When I do start to speak, I often fumble over my words, a trait common among introverts. Sometimes, I stop mid-sentence to analyse what I’ve said, wondering if I’ve strayed too far from the original question.”

Winter says while attention to detail is a strength – striving for perfection, and second-guessing are not and can cause much internal struggle. She advises her only real option was to learn to trust herself. Saying internally: “you know how to do this job, you’ve got this” ultimately helped her let go of the nerves that hindered what she was trying to say.

“My words flow more freely now, as there is no room for perfection or second-guessing when speaking from the heart”.

3. Coming across too serious

Winter says she was once asked “Do you want to be here?” in a job interview because she was coming across as very guarded. She put it down to a combination of nerves, the pressure to perform and knowing the other candidates could naturally express enthusiasm.

“In these awkward moments, I’m torn between allowing my natural “serious” expressions and risking judgment for seeming disinterested, or forcing a smile to appear more charismatic.”

She now holds fast with her approach knowing her ‘enthusiasm’ – which includes clearly recounting her experience and not being afraid to take the role seriously - if that’s not for the employer, she figures it’s probably not a good fit for her.

4. Being asked to sell yourself

Winter says if you’re feeling the need to “sell yourself,” focus on your strengths as an introvert and don’t try to portray yourself as an extrovert. You might say things like:

  • My attention to detail is one of my strengths. It allows me to spot errors or opportunities that others might overlook.
  • I tend to remain calm under pressure, which helps me make rational decisions during critical times.
  • I thrive in independent work environments where I can analyse and solve problems effectively, although I also value collaborative teamwork.
  • I excel in deep concentration and can focus intensely on tasks. This helps me produce thorough and high-quality work.
  • While I might not be the most vocal team member, I build deep and meaningful relationships with colleagues and clients.


Sources: Introvert: Signs, Traits, & Types, Eric Paterson LPC – October 2023; The Introvert’s Guide to Feeling Comfortable in Job Interviews, Laura Winters 2024.


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