Interviewing and Networking for Introverts |

Introverts have a big advantage over extroverts when interviewing. On this show, Bob McIntosh, the author of “Job Interview Success for Introverts”
and I speak about interviewing as an introvert . . . and just when I thought the show might end, we went back and spoke about networking.

You may also find, “What’s the Point of a Recruiter” helpful

Read Full Transcript

so my guest today is Bob McIntosh a
proud introvert a career trainer who
leads more than 15 job search workshops
and an urban career center he's also the
author of job interview success for
introverts Bob welcome to job search
radio great to have you on today hey
thank you Jeff thank you very much
you're very welcome
so I get the idea that being an
introvert is not exactly an advantage if
you're interviewing a job is that a
mistake on my part is that pure fantasy
what do you think well speaking as an
introvert myself one prefers
introversion it can be a little
difficult in certain aspects of the job
search so take the fake networking for
instance introverts you know they're not
as comfortable networking with large
groups they prefer to network with
smaller groups groups of five or so they
don't feel as comfortable making small
talks as small pockets extroverts do and
then when getting to the interview they
just don't come across as enthusiastic
generally is enthusiastic extroverts - I
honestly believe that even introverts in
the introverted
managers would prefer extroverted
employees in some way so yeah so if
you're an introvert and you can act more
extroverted display those traits then I
think you'd have an easier time at the
interview than you do it's not I'm
curious because you made that comment
about even introverted managers were
preferring to hire an extrovert why what
do you think that is I think that in
today's workforce in the workplace I
think that people who act more outgoing
who or more young I guess people who act
more extroverted and to make the
workplace a little more comfortable they
tend to fit in better and you know which
is a necessarily good thing I mean there
are plenty of spaces in the workplace
for introverts
in Excel they can be creative but
generally you know the workplace like to
see more excitement or character I'm
gonna debate from the word character and
I'll put that one aside for now
I think the introvert is very successful
doing stuff
they research well they accomplish a lot
of things they're just not showboats no
you're right then not as flamboyant but
it doesn't make them less competent
oh no absolutely not I'm not trying to
say that what I'm saying is that whereas
introverts may excel in terms of the
research in terms of working in smaller
groups a lot of workplaces they really
rely on like an agile environment they
rely on teamwork and also it's a word
well they rely on you know people
working together towards introverts they
may prefer to work more in smaller
groups if maybe not you know you Fallone
so they sort of go against the the trend
of the workplace will the introvert
obviously the introverts can be team
players but will they be the person who
will say gee I'm not quite sure about
this well they have well many of them
have enough strength to stand against
the group if necessary I think that
depends again I think that depends more
on management style I think if you have
managers who understand the people who
prefer introversion and how they work
desk then maybe they won't push teamwork
or brainstorming too much and maybe they
will allow people who prefer
introversion to work more on their own
where they can be more creative in that
way I mean Susan Cain and his her book
quiet explains that in two versions I
minced words can be just as creative as
extra hurts but they just need to do it
more on their own than in a team
we'll come to you well actually I was
approached I was approached by the
company impact publishing in Great
Britain and they want to know if I
wanted to write a book on how it had
injuries and so I decided to do it
I wasn't their first choice but they
approached me after Wendy Wendy my
friend you know turned it down and so I
went about writing interesting so funny
travel to an interview interviewing and
in their mind they may be operating at a
disadvantage I maybe yes maybe you know
what what are the keys for an introvert
to be most successful on an interview
well first of all they have to do what
they do best they have to research the
position the company maybe the
competition then they need to go into
the interview more prepared than than
others and at the interview they need to
do their best at making a small talk at
the beginning if that's what the
interviewers want so they need to go in
with their talking points and they need
to talk about appropriate subjects and
while interviewing and while answering
the difficult questions they also need
to prepare they need to sort of predict
what kind of questions will be asked
during the interview and I think that's
the strength of an introvert I think you
remember when I asked you if you were
gonna have questions prepared he said no
we're just gonna wing it
well you know today d'hubert's nature we
like to have questions prepared and
answers to those questions so that
that's how introverts would generally do
just assume this this small talk can be
problematic and if you're encouraging an
introvert to prepare for small talk what
do you encourage them to say or do well
I mean encouraging them to prepare in
terms of who they may be interviewed by
so let's say they're on LinkedIn and
they know who is going to be
interviewing them and they go to the
profiles of those interviewers then they
already have some
talking points of in terms of you know
commonalities okay so going into the
interview prepared to make small talk
actually thinking about the process and
be more helpful in terms of making it
more comfortable you know it's not that
introverts can't make small talk it's
just not their preference it's they
prefer in other words deeper
conversation and that was just a
wonderful nugget in defense of
introverts through employers they prefer
deeper conversations than just simply
the mindless prattle that extroverts or
opposite personality types are prone to
engaging yeah and I'm glad you caught
yourself there because extroverts are
just as capable as make you know as deep
conversation as making deep conversation
it's introverts
it's just extroverts I think they you
know and and it's been proven that
extroverts tend to think a little
quicker on the feet in terms of
whereas introverts they like time to
process the information you know which
leads me to the point that introverts
prefer to communicate your writing
whereas extroverts prefer to communicate
via talking interesting and we're going
to be back with more from Bob in just a
moment but first okay we're back so we
were talking about how they prefer
communicating by writing so email is and
in males and things like that or really
ideal for them this is not the medium
using blab or a podcast that's not for
an introvert quite obviously not
necessarily I you know I think that you
know if introverts have the time to
listen to a podcast if they have the
desire you know if they're really really
interested in the topic then they they
are just good at making small talk or
they're just as good as communicating
through talking as extroverts are but
what I mean in terms of lighting it
allows them to time to formulate their
and I know as an introvert myself I do
prefer to write yet speak and which is
kind of ironic because I lead workshops
at a workout in an urban Career Center
where I'm talking almost all the day so
fascinating and I'm sure you're smiling
part of the time too which I know that's
one of the disguises that an introvert
can use not the mask of the fact that
they are introverted is to set with a
periodic smile on their face you don't
want to sit there as though you're a
Hari Krishna no all right I'll be the
entire time you know but you you
periodically you want to put a smile on
your face particularly when I feel like
you can answer the question well or or
you have answered it and you feel like
you really knock that off park so no no
that that is too because often times
Alaska I am BTI workshop so what do you
think I am an introvert or an extrovert
and those who don't know any better will
usually say an extrovert and that's
because I am very various I'm very
animated during the workshop it's not
that introverts don't have the ability
to speak I mean my colleague is probably
one of the best speakers I know and
she's introvert so it's just really our
energy level and for though for those
two hours that I'm doing the workshop
I'm on my game it's almost as if I'm on
a good stage so yeah yeah well
absolutely but you know and so they're
surprised when I tell them that I'm an
introvert they say no way no way you
know I mean people have these
preconceived notions of introverts as
being shy as being recognizes as you
know you name it I I even heard one
person say that introverts are boring
yeah yeah for the introverted person
interview with so far talk to them about
researching in advance so this way you
have the talking points for for small
talk yeah I was talking points for the
about the
reviewer I suggest in the notion was
smiling from time to time in the
interview as a way of demonstrating
rapport with the interview what else
should people be doing as introverts to
be more successful in their interviews
well I I mean they just need to go to
the interviews with important
information they need to be able to talk
about more about the you know the
position and the company and even the
competition than the other candidates
exist the person who provides the most
information and and sells him or herself
better you know he's going to win the
job and introverts do have a little
difficulty in terms of promoting
themselves you know they often say I
can't promote myself you know I don't I
didn't accomplish anything at work but
when you sit down with them and you
really drag those you know those
accomplishments out of them then it
light goes off it's like wow yeah you
know I did accomplish a lot where I
worked so they got to be able to speak
about their accomplishments I mean what
separates the average candidate from the
great candidate or accomplishments the
great candidate is the one who's going
to come in there with the
accomplishments so I really really I
really advise people and end the
semester extroverts as well so you go to
the interview with accomplishments in
mind you know trying to predict what
kind of questions will be asked based on
the job description based on you know
who they may have network with you know
they're gonna they're gonna have more
information and they're gonna be able to
really sell themselves that was Louie
ask a question if I bet when I coach
people I tell them to ask the question
I'm going to offer you at the beginning
of the interview before it really starts
so you know let's say it's a phone
interview or in-person interview you
know there's this one little pleasantry
I suggest that they say no thanks for
making the time to call or you know
thanks for reaching you you know I saw
the position description and I'm curious
you know you
what's your take on the role could you
tell me about the job as you see it and
what I can do to help no my thinking is
that's a great question for an introvert
yes because it gives them looks to have
information at the beginning of the
interview when they can actually use it
yeah absolutely that's a great way to
start the discussion you know instead of
allowing the intruder or the HR person
to go into the salary question start off
by saying exactly what you said and then
war so what is it that you liked about
my resume I mean then in other words why
are you calling me but and in that way
you know Jeff like the look you're
demonstrating you get that interviewer
to start selling you to you know think
and thus am i thinking the person can
talk about what they've done that
matters to the interviewer and not just
talk about what they've done which may
be only completely different Angela
that's right an NC once you understand
the requirements and and really the
nuances of the job then you will become
that person who can you can perform
those responsibilities and take on those
challenges but that's a very good point
and you should also you know and I do
this as well as you all should coach
your clients in terms of being prepared
for that 30-second commercial that that
is a common question that or directive
that the true ders and HR manager
30-second commercial the elevator pitch
elevator pitch tell me about yourself
like you know in a my thinking is the
standard elevator pitch yeah I've been
writing for years ditch the pitch but
but in response to that tell me about
yourself question I think once you have
the answer that question I offer it up
you can talk about what you've done that
matters to the employer and not just
talk about what you've done so I could I
could see her you know an introvert
might need a few seconds to sort things
flow and not have to can response
you know come off their tongue as
readily as an extrovert right now keep
in mind though that now this is this is
really where an introvert may excel over
an extrovert is is the research is the
research in terms of not only the
position it's a company okay
you know competition but also research
in terms of him or herself you know so
you know it would be smart for every
type to really write down that elevator
pitch it would be smart for everyone to
really put a lot of effort into their
resume and LinkedIn profile as well as
cover letter and so forth and that
that's where I think introverts are
really focused on are those you know
writing examples anything you know once
you have that commercial went down once
you have really rehearsed it in my
country I always tell people practice is
the big differentiator between in any
performer in an interview and has a
washout that's a lot of great athletes
have talent galore but what makes a team
win is they're practicing these plays it
doesn't matter what the sport is they
have the framework down they have the
system in place that they're operating
from and then there are times that they
can you know work off the play yeah
repetition repetition you know if you
play baseball you know how important it
is to get those swings in it is just
like the it's just like the job search
you know it's got to be repetitive in
terms of you know taking care of the
writing and the speaking aspect of the
job search I'm really practicing both
sides of the communications the written
and the verbal communications and for
job hunters if you do in the phone
interview you know I'm gonna let you in
on a secret they can't see you so you
can hear on a resume out and you can
take notes like if you have a
highlighter and you'd ask that question
I've suggested they'll just highlight
some things on your resume that you want
to hit as part of your answers so that
you're not missing anything that's
relevant to the interviewer grabs
it's easy the phone in person it changes
a little bit because you do you have to
be somewhat spontaneous but but again if
you're prepared if you're prepared with
those talking points if you really
really understand what value the
employer is looking for then you'll be
able to make small talk you know you'd
be able to focus on that employer so
we've got all this practice that what
else should introverts be doing on their
interviews to really knock it out of the
park well I you know what more to say
then just be the right person for the
job you know come across as confident
you know it is important to smile it's
important to deliver a firm handshake
but it's really really important to come
across as confident you can do the job
that that's that's the important thing
you are a good fit for the company
think of it in three three ways okay you
can do the job you will do the job and
you will fit in I mean I've heard that
being said for 20 or so years and it's
never going to change so you need to
prove to the employer that you can cover
those three components and and then I'm
a believer that employers look for
competence but that's not sometimes they
miss on that one a degree of self
confidence character chemistry the
introvert is gonna have trouble trouble
with the next one which is charisma but
fundamentally it's all about personal
leadership and the ability to inspire
confidence that person is the solutions
you need right you know I think you're
gonna eat you're gonna have some of your
other stay well in fervor can be
charismatic as well yeah they can they
can we can be charismatic we can talk in
front of groups we can do it just as
well as extroverts but it really comes
down to that energy level I think my my
worst nightmare would be what we call a
gorilla interview and I'm sure you've
been on them where you have face to face
all throughout the day that's you really
now that that's where it's all about the
energy it's not about your ability to
speak so I agree with you wholeheartedly
so practice practice practice rehearse
rehearse rehearse I'm going to simply
tell my audience I've got a site
launching at around the time this show
goes live all job coach coaching
which is going to give you answers to
tons of those interview questions that
your ask them you know all over the
it's going to have hundreds of questions
and answers prepared for you to help you
practice so now if you're an introvert
watching this show job search coaching
HP will have answers for you that you
can practice so visit the site to sign
up I think it'll be a great asset for
you I'm sorry it seemed like a useful
useful opportunity of it I want to make
sure everyone has some some great final
words from you so what happened I asked
you about that we really should cover in
the course of our conversation once you
get the job okay once you get the job
make sure that you promote yourself so
that you can get to the next level now
it may not be easy for you if you prefer
introversion to go up to the boss and
brag about your accomplishments I should
use the word brag it may be easier for
you as I do and simply shooting an email
affording an email of a very you know
complimentary email you received from a
customer client that may be an easier
way for you to promote yourself but you
know once you get the job you have to
continue to promote yourself continue to
show that you deserve advancement you
deserve management then I also encourage
you folks that I know a regular email to
your boss talking about some of the
things that you've accomplished since
the last email you know just simply said
hey you know I know you're busy but I
just want to give you an idea of what
I've accomplished in the last two weeks
over the course of the last month and
just lay it out for them allows you to
be promoting yourself
it also helps you in preparing your next
resume because he after all these are
lists these are the summaries of your
achievements during the course of a one
month period there now documented it
makes it easy to update your resume it
helps you come review time when the boss
sits down with him says so justify why
we should think highly of you you know
that's ultimately how you translate you
know those magic moments and you can
pull out your documentation from the
past year or six months whatever period
of time it is and be able to demonstrate
all the successes that you've had over
the course of the period of time of the
review and she's been an accomplishment
with being government that and remember
to quantified in terms of money saved
and money earned
it's a load of difference so Bob thank
you how can people find that bit more
about you your work the book the Sun the
moon as far as everything okay yeah
first of all thanks for having me on
here's my book hop in to success okay
you can find it on Amazon in terms of
contacting me invite me to be a
connection on LinkedIn all I ask is a
personal invitation just type in Bob
McIntosh without an A and you'll find me
on LinkedIn I'm also on Twitter at Bob
underscore McIntosh underscore one and
yeah believe it or not now I'm on
Facebook oh so now I've got the whole
the big three covered on another thing
another thing before we go is introverts
or anyone out there
don't rely on LinkedIn as your only way
of networking okay because networking is
so important to the job search now you
know Lincoln should be a supplement to
your now your
I'm not working you need to get out
there whether you prefer to talk to
smaller groups that's fine you know have
meetups meet people for coffee but you
got a network it's all about better we
circle back and let's continue the show
for a little bit longer you know I'm all
right you know some of them I coach he's
very introverted she's she's not a
partner she's one step below partner and
a large accounting firm and it's obvious
that she's it's painful for her to
network and she's a wall hugger that's
the best way I could put it so for the
introverted networker what do you
recommend that they do to be more
successful first of all I say think of
networking is really connecting you know
just connecting with people not he
doesn't have to be at and organizing a
networking event he could be just in the
community but connect with as many
people as possible get the word out that
you're out of work
what were you capable of and what type
of work you're looking for and then when
you do go to those organized networking
events you know do it on your schedule
don't don't don't think that you need to
work the room and you need to collect
ten business cards that night maybe you
talk to two or three people that night
at that and if there are quality
conversations like deep conversations
and I think that's success I happen to
agree ah I'm sorry what was the last
thing you said yeah yeah follow up okay
I'm fine all that hard work waste but
not long enough the notion that you have
to talk to 10 people or collect 10
business cards is some lovely fantasy
that people who are selling networking
right how did it work more successfully
in 10 easy lessons and I have self
promotion when the reality is if you
want to be making quality connections if
it's - if it's relevant it doesn't
matter because it's a lot better than
the superficial connection so
I happen to agree with you it's all
about the totally agree yeah
hey Bob thank you so much again I really
appreciate it
hey was wonderful talking to an
excellent very good he's right I can't
hide it right what are you a niente I'll
get to that and well I think it's Ian
okay but um folks I'll be back next time
with someone else to help you be more
effective with your job search
I'm Jeff Alton the big-game hunter I
hope you enjoyed the show and if you did
give it five stars on iTunes stitcher
tune in wherever you're listening to or
give it a great review it helps other
people discover the show and again job
search coaching my new site with
tons of information plus coaching from
me or if you've got a quick question to
ask me like you need 15 minutes of my
time because if you've got a situation
I'm available to you so reach out to me
something that the job search coaching hope you have a great day take
care well done well done thank you


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2200 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a discovery call at my website,

Learn to interview like a pro. “The Ultimate Job Interview Framework” Kindle and print versions are available on Amazon.

My newest courses are Salary Negotiation Mistakes to Avoid: and Final Interview Preparation

Classes On Skillshare

Become a freelancer or hire one on I use it and I may wind up hiring you! To set up your freelance business correctly, you may want to incorporate

Join Career Angles on Facebook and receive support, ideas, and advice in your current career and job.

Connect with me on LinkedIn Mention you listen to the podcast or watch my YouTube channel.

Job Search Going Nowhere? “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle on Amazon and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.”

If you are starting your search, order, “Get Ready for the Job Jungle” on Amazon

Watch my videos on YouTube at, the Job Search TV app for Roku, fireTV or a firestick or for Apple TV, and 90+ smart tv’s.

Since 2007, FlexJobs has been the #1 site for work at home opportunities

Thinking of making a career change and need some ideas that fit you. CareerFitter offers a free test and if you want more you can upgrade for the paid version.

We grant permission for this post and others to be used on your website as long as a backlink is included and notice is provided that it is provided by Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter as an author or creator.


About the author

%d bloggers like this: