How Introverts Can Nail What-Makes-You-Tick Interview Questions

The following is a guest post by career consultant Jane Finkel

It’s inevitable that the interviewer will ask you questions that attempt to uncover who you really are, especially your more appealing personal qualities. For introverts, job interview questions that seem more personal often present the greatest challenge. It’s not that you are inept at talking about yourself, but your tendency is to keep your cards close to the vest.


However, you don’t want to let a potential employer fill in your puzzle with mismatched pieces. Capturing your personal essence and having it at hand at the right moment will help you avoid any stuttering when asked those personal questions. There is a benefit to these questions; they often reveal your soft skills like work ethic, positive attitude, flexibility, and motivation. These are skills highly sought after in this age of hard, foot-to-the-floor acceleration. Continue reading for nine what-makes-you-tick interview questions and how to answer them.

1. How would your colleagues and friends describe you?

Easy remedy. Ask your friends or colleagues for some characteristic phrases or adjectives they might use to describe you.

2. What motivates you in work and in your life?

Imagine times and circumstances in which you were captain of your ship and very much in the flow.

3. How do you handle stress?

Stress can be a demon that threatens to disarm you just when you most need to be focused and appear competent. Think of positive ways you cope with stress, like certain exercises, meditation or support from positive-minded friends.

4. Do you have a personal accomplishment of which you’re especially proud?

Accomplishments from running a marathon or reading a book a month, to helping an elderly relative, overcoming a personal challenge, or a memorable volunteer or campus leadership are all examples of personal achievements. 

5. What are your strengths?

Focus on more personal qualities such as creative thinker, approachable, or sense of humor and back up one quality with an example.

6. What is your weakness?

Okay, no one likes this one, because you won’t want to share anything potentially true about yourself that might startle your interviewer or throw you out of the competition, like “I am a procrastinator.” Select a weakness that’s authentic but digestible to an employer; then focus on the fact that you have improved or are working on it. Avoid the clichés: “I am a perfectionist or a workaholic.” Employers aren’t trying to trick you. They just want to know that you are aware of your weakness and are taking steps to improve it.

7. What are your future goals?

No one has a crystal ball or is capable of predicting the changing currents of modern day economics. But try to form a vision of your career and how you might like it to unfold further down the road of life—think of examples related to advancing to a higher position, skill development, and/or building competencies.

8. How do you handle conflict?

Examples might include college project challenges, or interpersonal conflicts presented by students, friends, professors or internship supervisors.

9. What are your outside interests or hobbies?

There is so much more to a good employee than how they fit a strict job description. For example, an interviewer will sometimes ask about what you like to do in your free time, or to discuss the last book you read. Be honest in your answers, or as William Shakespeare once said, “To thine own self be true.”


Jane Finkle is a career coach, speaker and author with over 25 years of experience helping clients with career assessment and workplace adjustment. Jane served as Associate Director of Career services at the University of Pennsylvania where she created and led the Wharton Career Discovery seminar, and served as liaison to recruiters from major corporations. She has been published in the Huffington Post, Adirondack Life, Talent Development and mindbodygreen. Her newest book is The Introvert’s Complete Career Guide.