By: Mary Catania
“Stop the madness for group work!” says Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” The key for recruiters is to find an employee that strikes the perfect balance between introversion and extroversion: someone who may be a little bit quirky and eccentric, who thinks independently and creatively, and may even conjure up some outrageous, outside-of-the-box business ideas, yet can also fit seamlessly into the company, department, and position; and ultimately work as a team.
According to Cain, most people display characteristics of both introversion and extroversion, but tend to lean towards one personality trait. In a recent “TED Talks” video, Cain explains that our society exalts extroversion in the workplace, but overlooks the power of introversion.
Extroverts are gregarious, talkative, curious, outgoing, energetic, positive, cooperative, compassionate, vulnerable, need a lot of stimulation, open to new experiences, methodical in their discipline, and aim for achievement. If recruiters are looking to fill positions in politics, teaching, sales, managing, or brokering, then choose a candidate with more extroversion features.
On the other hand, introverts are reflective, solitary, trustworthy, analytical, inventive, cautious, private, creative, and suspicious. If recruiters are looking to fill positions in writing, the arts, sculpting, engineering, composing, or inventing, then choose a candidate with more introversion features.
So why do introverts get such a bad wrap in society? A common misperception is that introverts are shy. However, a shy person has innate fear of being in a social setting, while introverts just prefer to be alone. Some interesting tidbits about introverts:
- They take less risks, but get better results
- They know how to exchange and share ideas, but also take time for long periods of self-reflection
- They cherish quietness, contemplation, and autonomy
Ever heard of Charles Darwin, the famous scientist who discovered the concept of natural selection? He used to go to outlandish dinner parties, but also take long walks by himself. While we don’t all have to live like monks or Buddha, humans do need quiet time to make revelations and have epiphanies. In a society immersed with so much noise and distraction, Cain says: “solitude matters,” even for extroverts.
So, what types of questions can recruiters ask during the interview process to find out what if they are hiring an introvert or an extrovert?
1. Do you prefer working in a group? (extrovert)
2. Are you quiet around strangers? (introvert)
3. Do you like to be the center of attention? (extrovert)
4. Do you have more close friends than acquaintances? (introvert)
5. Are you skilled in handling social situations? (extrovert)
6. Do you like to work independently? (introvert)
7. Do you make new friends easily? (extrovert)
8. Do you enjoy spending time by yourself? (introvert)
9. Do you like to draw attention to yourself? (extrovert)
10. Do your best ideas come to you when you are alone? (introvert)