The Ultimate Guide to Job Interviews for Introverts

Job interviews can be stressful for everyone, but they are particularly challenging for introverts. Part of that is because Introvert personalities tend to be more reserved than their extraverted peers, and therefore can struggle with self-promotion and small talk (cue: dry mouth and sweaty palms). A bigger part is that interviews often look like a cross examination where you parry back-and-forth with the interviewer and have to think on the spot. Introverts like to take their time to think things through and may struggle to give their best answers when they are forced to think on their feet.

The good news? You can overcome these challenges with careful preparation. So let's dive into the ultimate guide for introverts to ace job interviews.

Before the interview

#1: Do your research 

We’re talking about googling the company, looking up current employees, and reading reviews on Glassdoor. This will help you get an idea of what the company is like and what’s expected of you in that role. Additionally, you may ask the recruiter about the people you’ll be talking to so you can connect with them on LinkedIn beforehand and take notes about specific things you’d like to ask them on the day of the interview. 

#2: Prepare for typical questions

“So, tell me about yourself” has got to be one of the most dreaded interview questions for any introvert. But you know it’s coming, so prepare. When doing this exercise, focus on your introverted strengths – don’t try to be something you’re not. For example, you might explain how your listening skills  help you understand others and make thoughtful decisions. Or, talk about how your preference for working independently allows you to focus on tasks, produce high-quality work, and spot mistakes others may miss. 

#3: Ask a friend to help you with a mock job interview

Asking for help may not be your forte, but this is one time that you definitely should. Find a friend whom you know to be honest and who can give you blunt advice and tips for improvement (such as, watch the body language and remember to maintain eye contact!). Have them do a mock interview with you to help you practice answering questions and get comfortable speaking.

When doing this exercise, don’t be afraid to fail. The more you recreate the interview scenario, the easier it will be once you’re actually sitting across the table from the hiring manager. 

#4: Plan your route

If you’re having an in-person interview, planning your route could help calm your nerves. If possible, make a practice trip to the location a few days ahead of the interview so you can recognize the building and calculate the time you’ll need to get there. 

For online interviews, make sure you’re familiar with the video conference platform that’ll be used. You can even set up a practice call to prepare your working space and background. That way you can guarantee there’s nothing weird in the frame and have a sticky note with things you definitely want to say or encouraging words nearby. 

#5: Visualize yourself succeeding

Before heading to the interview, take a moment to sit quietly. Close your eyes and picture yourself answering the questions with confidence. Be as specific and detailed as possible. What does the room look like? What are you wearing? 

What you’re doing here is imagining the best possible scenario. Instead of panicking about what can go wrong, ask yourself: what if it all works out?

During the interview

#6: Ask insightful questions

During the interview, look for opportunities to return questions to the interviewer. You can ask about the specifics of their job, how long they’ve been working there, or what a typical day looks like for them. The idea here is to turn what can feel like an intimidating interrogation into a conversation – and create breathing room so you can think.

#7: Sell your introvert qualities 

If self-promotion makes you feel uncomfortable, reframe it as sharing instead of bragging. You can imagine you’re talking to a friend or a loved one, and discuss your past accomplishments in terms of what you learned from them and what you can bring to the team, rather than talking about yourself directly.

Have you followed through with a challenging project others had given up all hope on? Stepped up to solve minor issues without being asked? Spent time helping a new employee feeling welcomed during their first week? Bring these up during the interview. Focus on the results and feedback from your boss or the client if you're not comfortable using the word "I."

#8: Stay true to yourself

Just like the company wants to know if you’re the right person for the job, you want to know if that job is right for you, so staying true to yourself is the golden rule to keep in mind. This can look like being upfront and telling the interviewer that you recharge by being alone, for instance, or asking questions that get to the bottom of what the company culture is really like. Remember, you have unique qualities that make you stand out, so there’s no reason you should pretend to be someone you’re not. 

#9: Explain your thought process 

As an introvert (and possibly an overthinker), you know what it’s like to have your mind racing all the time. To prevent your multitasking brain from getting in the way, make sure you explain your thought process to interviewers.

For example, if they ask how you acted in a specific past situation, you can break down the story step by step with a structure similar to this: “The first thing I did was…”, “Next, I discussed it with…”, “The reason behind this choice was…”, etc. 

If you need time to think, say so. No one is going to judge you for saying, "That's a great question, let me take a moment to think about it."

After the interview

#10: Follow up by email

Introverts tend to be better at written communication, so use this to your advantage. After the interview, follow up by email. Thank the recruiter or hiring manager for something specific, highlight what you enjoyed about the experience, and wish them good luck on the recruiting process.

You can also connect on LinkedIn with each person you talked to. Even if you don’t end up getting the job, it’s an opportunity to network. Besides, sending a thoughtful thank-you note shows your attention to detail and professionalism.

#11: Unwind and recharge

Congrats, you aced the interview! Regardless of what happens next, take some time to unwind and recharge. Calling an uplifting friend may be a good idea if you need to vent. And whatever you do, don’t schedule back-to-back interviews. You'll need time to decompress and reflect on how it went. 

The bottom line

For introverts, job interviews can be particularly stressful. You may feel scrutinized or judged when put on the spot and struggle to promote yourself. If that sounds like you, the tips above might be helpful. The key thing to remember is this: you already have what it takes to land that role, you may just need to believe in yourself. Good luck!

Andreia Esteves
Andreia is an INFJ who used to think she was the only person in the world terrified of answering the phone. She works as a freelance writer covering all things mental health, and psychology related. When not writing, you’ll find her cozying up with a book, or baking vegan treats. Find her at: