An Extrovert’s Guide to Interviewing Introverts

Though 25 percent of the world's population is introverted, more than 70 percent of the world's CEOs describe themselves as such. Famous introverts include Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Steve Wozniak, Steven Spielberg, and more. The list of well-known “Who’s Who” of corporate introverted CEOs goes on and on.

The very nature of introversion may make it hard for some introverts to interview well.  Hiring managers need to make sure that their interviewing tactics aren't just designed for extroverted personalities, but have the flexibility to evaluate whether or not an introverted personality is a good fit for an organization. This translates to questions asked during digital interviews.  Many incredibly talented developers, writers, and analysts are introverted personalities and you want these folks on your team. Here’s what to know about interviewing them:

1. They won’t try to sell you - That doesn’t mean that they don’t care about the job. They’re just being real — think of them as genuine and aversive to playing politics. You absolutely need this authenticity as part of your team. So don’t be taken aback by surprisingly blunt answers. Embrace ‘em.

2. They are great actors - Introverts spend their lives learning to adapt to social settings — and they’re smart enough to have learned to do it well. They can probably read you better than you can read yourself. So don’t be fooled by the quiet. They know how to “act the part” of social. That level of emotional control? That’s just what your team needs.

3.  They don’t like small talk - Hiring managers should be prepared to pry for more information — this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Introverts will be incredibly direct in their answers to you. They’ll tell you exactly what you want to know without the added fluff. If you want elaboration, you need to be direct and ask for it.

4. They get tired of people quickly - That doesn’t mean that your interviewee will spontaneously close up, but they may not like being part of a group interview for very long. They also probably won’t want to meet with 10 people in a row without a break to decompress.

5. They are widely misunderstood - Extroverts are easy for introverts to understand, but extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion. They cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion. Don’t make assumptions, and don’t misjudge. You need to jump into the conversation with an extremely open mind.

6.  They hate to repeat themselves - Make an effort to truly listen. Introverts prefer to be direct and to the point. They don’t want to reinvent the wheel — they would much rather switch gears and tackle something new.

So the next time you create a digital interview keep the introverts in mind – 25% of your interviewee pool will fit the description and they are valuable team members for any organization.

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