Written by: Katrina Lubiano
The well-received (18 million viewed) Ted Talk by Susan Cain, a self-professed introvert, and author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, critiques our culture’s preference to the extroverted qualities of social outwardness that often times stigmatises the characteristics of introverts. Her ideas empower introverts, and in her Ted Talk, she makes a strong case for the quiet and contemplative in the workplace.
This month is all about the Myers-Briggs personality test in job hunting and recruitment at majer. Myers-Briggs is a popular self-reflective questionnaire formulated to uncover individual psychological preferences in decision making, problem-solving, creativity, and relationships.
Whether you're a first-time hiring manager, a seasoned recruiter, or someone looking for employment, it's helpful to have an understanding of your own personality tendencies and familiarise yourself with the 16 ‘types’ of personalities.
The Myers-Briggs personas are not strictly black and white; individuals are a unique mix of varying degrees of traits and people rarely fit into these standardised boxes. The most popular and perhaps the most categorisable traits are extroverts and introverts. We can generally assume where we sit on the introvert/ extrovert scale, and while it's natural to display tendencies of both ends of the spectrum at times, we tend to lean towards one side.
Introverted or extroverted, each personality type has their strengths and weaknesses. Cain urges the corporate world not to quickly dismiss the seemingly shy, awkward, or quiet candidate for the outwardly expressive and charismatic. Traditional interview styles are geared for an extrovert’s comfortability. Interviewers claim to test the interviewee's charm and “ability to think on their feet”--something extroverts tend to excel in. It’s our job as recruiters and hiring managers to find the best candidate for the role and change the way we interview to eliminate the biased towards extroverts.
Eliminate the small talk and ask the right questions
Most introverts find small talk uncomfortable and unnecessary. Keeping your interview questions straight to the point and relevant to the role will help avoid any unexpected awkward moments. When preparing for the interviewing process, consider the essential skills and experiences required for the job and prepare your list of questions accordingly.
Interview questions like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” aren’t intended to uncover candidate aspirations relevant to the company, but are asked to test how one responds. These on-the-spot questions are often times irrelevant to the job description and offer no value in determining a candidate’s future job performance.
Give a heads up and standardise the interviewing process
Avoid hiring on ‘gut’ feelings. Having consistent, structured interviews is the best strategy to ensure you’re hiring the right person for the role. Giving your candidates ample opportunities to prepare for an interview minimises stress on both ends and allows them to put their best self forward. Challenging your job applicants with the right questions and ample time for preparation will give you a better idea of who you are hiring.
Take notes, not assumptions. Pay close attention to your candidate’s answers. Note-taking during an interview is a valuable tool and will provide you with notes to reference when coming to your decision.
Ask more questions
Ask lots of questions for your clarification. If your prepared list of interview questions are not answered in depth, ask for your applicant to elaborate. This will help avoid hiring based on 'gut' feelings and will lead to a confident, informed decision. Skilled recruiters and hiring managers aren’t afraid to dig for more information--just be direct and ask for it. A great candidate, introverted or extroverted, will give you a straightforward answer.
We all have the potential for success in different ways. Don’t make hiring judgements about one’s career performances based solely on introvertedness or extrovertedness. Look for skill, competence, and character. A team with a diverse set of thinkers offers the best environment for fostering growth and innovation.