Understanding Personality During the Job Interview, Part 3

Understanding Personality During the Job Interview, Part 3

So far we’ve covered Sensing vs. Intuition (details vs. big picture) and Thinking vs. Feeling (making decisions with the head vs. the heart). These two preference pairs form what I like to call the “meat” of your personality. In this blog, I want to talk about how a person derives his or her energy—and the implications of that orientation to the job interview.


As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, Extroversion vs. Introversion has to do with where you derive your energy. Extroverts “charge their battery” by being with large groups of people, engaged in lots of various activities, and enjoying the company of a wide circle of friends. Introverts get their battery charged by getting away from large groups of people to either be by themselves or with a couple of trusted friends. They tend to pursue fewer interests, but in greater depth, and they are very selective about who they open up to and consider a friend.

Application for the Interview

If you’re in an interview with an Extrovert, the words will flow (at least on the interviewer’s part), and there isn’t likely to be much silence. If you’re in an interview with an Introvert, they are not as likely to be “chatty,” and will tend to talk less and listen more.

The real implication here is when the interviewer is an Extrovert and the interviewee an Introvert—or vice versa. Here’s my best recommendation: within the range of your preference (Extrovert or Introvert), mirror the interviewer. If you are an Introvert and your interviewee is an Extrovert, try your very best to come out of your shell and engage in small talk. If you’re an Extrovert and your interviewee is an Introvert, understand that he/she is comfortable with silence, so you need to be okay with it, as well.

Am I suggesting that you “pretend” to be someone you’re not to satisfy the interviewer? Absolutely not. When I worked in college career services, I would quickly take an informal assessment of the students as they came in for an appointment with me. I would then interact with them from somewhere on the continuum of my preference for Extroversion. It was certainly more natural when I had an Extrovert in my office, but I knew to tone that down for Introverts so I didn’t come across like a freight train.

Here’s an analogy: if you’re right-handed, do you sometimes use your left hand when the situation calls for it? Of course you do. One of these preferences will be like using your left hand, but you are perfectly capable of doing so when the circumstance calls for it.

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