Ibiki is a very strict person, and has even been described as being a sadist by Kakashi Hatake. Compounded with this is his belief that pain is an effective form of communication, which he employed whenever he carries out his duties of torture and interrogation. Nonetheless, he did confess to his subordinates during the Konoha Crush that he was scared of Orochimaru as a child, noting him to be somewhat "inhuman, but in human form". He was also visibly shocked when Kisame massacred his own comrades to protect information. Nevertheless Ibiki has shown a more relaxed side, which shocked Temari during the Chūnin Exams due to the drastic change in personality. He also laughed after finding out that he had passed someone who didn't answer a single question in the exam. Despite his harsh interrogation methods, Ibiki is shown to also be quite reasonable. One example was when Karin agreed to forfeit all information regarding Kabuto, Sasuke, and the Akatsuki in exchange if she was fed a fried pork cutlet bowl, which Ibiki agreed to, even though it would take two days for a delivery and did not press the interrogation any further. He was noted to be fond of Naruto due to the child's energy and ability to inspire confidence, as well as his signature antics and sense of humour.
Ibiki has a large, imposing figure, which he complements with a rugged head and face covered with old wounds and scars. Ibiki's head is always covered to conceal a collection of burn marks, punctures from where screws were used, and long slash marks. The scars are indicative of the physical torture he has endured in the past, and illustrates his capacity to endure pain without giving up the desired information to the enemy. As a child it was revealed that he had a short crop of silver hair.
As a genin, Ibiki wore a simple black outfit with chain-mail armour underneath, over which he wore a beige utility flak jacket of sorts with several pouches strapped to it and calf-length sandals. He wore his forehead protector in the same, bandanna style.
Ibiki is a master of interrogation both physically and psychologically, and plays an important part in the extracting of information, as he interrogates suspects and prisoners of war. He has the ability to subject people to great suffering without ever using physical torture. He has complete knowledge of human psychology; by attacking a person's mind, he can gain control over their spirit. His interrogation skills are so reputed that, once he discovered that Ibiki was the one going to interrogate them, Kisame Hoshigaki immediately decided to kill all his comrades of the Cypher Division to prevent them from revealing any information. He is also a sharp individual, able to easily tell if someone is lying, quickly seeing through Karin's elaborate story. In addition to being a master manipulator, Ibiki also has a strong resolution. In the anime, even after being horribly tortured by Aoi Rokushō, Ibiki never revealed any information to the latter, who years later openly acknowledged Ibiki's fortitude.
In the anime, during his fight against Pain's Animal Path, he is shown skilfully using the Summoning Technique, which he uses to summon a variety of torture devices, including an Iron Maiden and a Torture Chamber. Ironically, these summons are modelled after engimono statues — lucky charms that are commonly used to bless shrines and businesses with good fortune. Also some of these summoning were a double edge sword, where the summoner will receive the same amount of pain as the opponent. He claims this has something to do with becoming equals through pain (ironically being Pain's philosophy). He also carries a great deal of hidden weaponry and tools on his person, such as a piece of flint hidden in his molars, which he can use to ignite flammable substances, as well as a small dagger hidden in the heel of his boot. He has also shown some skill in taijutsu, capable of tripping and then injuring Aoi Rokushō even though he was battered and still tied to a chair.