This is an excerpt of a recent article I found (OK, it came from Google Search) about how "introvert" is thought of as a dirty word when it comes to employment and hiring. Fancy That. The writer is Renee DeCosky, and here’s what she has to say:
“Plenty of people talk about introversion like it’s an unattractive quality and some affliction that can’t be overcome. The truth is that introverts are just fueled differently than extroverts. We’re in our own heads quite often. The quieter we are, the more we’re thinking and generating ideas. It’s not that we don’t know or don’t “get it,” but we’re just considering all avenues. It’s not that we can’t work with clients, but that we like to think about our approach first. And it’s certainly not that we hate being around others and prefer only to work alone. In fact, I find that working as part of a small team can actually boost my “introvert superpowers.”
I agreed with her up until the last part. I prefer to work alone, but that's because I’m an intuitive and most people seem to be sensors. This can be very frustrating; however, that’s another topic for another day.
Apparently lots of employees think introverts have nothing meaningful to contribute because they’re quiet or that they won’t fit in because they’re quiet. This is balderdash, particularly when it comes to introverts who are not shy. As we know, people confuse the two personality types consistently.
As a mixture of both, I have had my share of challenges interviewing for and keeping jobs. Mostly it’s been due to my shyness – not seeming comfortable in social situations or passively waiting to be asked questions instead of truly participating in a discussion. Also, just plain social inexperience - not knowing what to say or how to act at certain points during an exchange.
Some of my problems with getting or keeping jobs have come down to my introversion and needing that time to process before answering or not seeming “enthusiastic,” which I’m convinced is another word for "extroverted." I mean, is it really necessary to act like a cheerleader on cocaine to be an office jockey?
What’s so terrible about being an introvert? Surely we have something to contribute to the workplace. Ms. McCosky thinks so. She offers up these three reasons to hire introverts:
1. Introverts think before they speak.
Every day there’s a story in the media of an employee (typically an extrovert) who does or says something to throw their company into a bad light, and the gaffe usually occurs on Facebook or Twitter. How many careers do you suppose social networking sites have sunk? The truth is introverts are less likely to make off-the-cuff remarks or say things that can be misconstrued. It's simply not our nature. We think through the consequences, and that’s why we generally think before we open our pie holes.
2. Later on, introverts continue to generate ideas.
As people that like to take in information and ruminate on it, it’s only natural that some of an introvert’s best ideas come after the meeting or brainstorming session. I’m thankful that my current boss is attuned to how introverts operate and their strengths they bring to the table. He wisely invites me to feel free to e-mail any cool ideas I might come up to him following a meeting.
3. Strategy is an Introvert thing.
Introverts are head cases, in a good way; as in we’re in our heads a lot, thinking about stuff and how we can approach and do stuff. Because of this, many of us excel at strategy or can teach ourselves to excel at it. For employers who need someone to weigh pros and cons or play Devil’s Advocate, an introvert is an excellent hire.
Bottom line: Introverts can do as well on the job as any extrovert, and often excel in ways extroverts can’t. We can also be successful in jobs typically the domain of extroverts, we only need to learn how to recognize and hone our strengths and then sell those strengths.
Recommended Books on Career and Business Success for Innies:
Why Should Extroverts Make all the Money? Frederica J. Balzano (Paperback)
The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career, Wendy Gelberg (paper back)
Self-Promotion for Introverts®: Get Heard More. Even If You Talk Less, Nancy Ancowitz (eBook)