Disclaimer: Not everyone falls neatly into one category or the other when it comes to introversion and extroversion. While these tactics hold true for many, it’s important to get to know your candidate or hire to see what will work best.
We all fall somewhere on the introvert/extrovert scale, and while most of us display a variety of tendencies from both ends of the scale, we generally fall a little more towards one side.
Now, this orientation doesn’t necessarily mean a potential hire will be better for one position over another. Here at WayUp, we’ve seen that identifying and understanding how introverts and extroverts operate—how they work on projects, interact with other team members and brainstorm new ideas—helps you strategically hire and manage the most effective students. Here’s what we’ve learned.
Introverts may lack the effortless energy and easy social rapport that extroverts enjoy, sometimes coming off as shy, awkward, quiet or unsure during interviews. Introverts work best when they have time to process things in order to formulate ideas—as such, they might seem unprepared or stumble during the rapid-fire approach of a traditional job interview.
But this doesn’t mean they aren’t a great fit for your company. If you suspect a candidate of being an introvert, follow up the interview with a few additional interview questions by email. Assess how your candidate responds once they’ve had a little time to think and thoughtfully formulate their answers before making any decisions.
Though introverts may seem unassuming or shy, we can guarantee there’s a lot going on beneath the surface. In fact, introverted employees are often quiet exactly because they’re busy coming up with plans, solutions and ideas. They like to come up with a finished product before speaking, so giving them uninterrupted time and space to process—whether that means a private workspace or letting them work from home—is crucial.
Some other tips for managing introverts? Provide them with the time and agenda for a meeting in advance to allow them to come equipped with ideas. Use email to communicate, as it allows for time to think and come up with thoughtful responses. Finally, introverts recharge by being alone, so do them a favor by giving them the chance to break away from the office extroverts for a short while. We love Susan Cain’s TED Talk about how powerful introverts can be and how to celebrate and encourage them in a world that often prizes more outspoken extroverts.
Extroverts are energized by interacting with and being around people. They’re likely to make a good impression during the interview process, as they’re often socially at ease and happy to talk about themselves. Sometimes, however, extroverts have a tendency to formulate thoughts aloud, which can come off as unfocused. For the most part, they are often frank about their opinions, feelings and ideas, so you’re likely to get a good feeling for whether the candidate is a good fit based on his or her answers and body language.
A great way to ensure that an extrovert isn’t all talk is to administer a test to properly assess the potential hire’s skill—have your applicant draft some tweets if it’s a social media position or edit a short paragraph if writing and editing skills are important in the job. This turns the situation into one that’s more objective, allowing you to evaluate the person in ways that aren’t simply based on personality.
Unlike introverts, extroverts work best in teams where they can bounce ideas around, get feedback and interact with others. They develop their ideas by talking about them, so group settings and open-concept offices work well for them. On top of this, they tend to be excellent multitaskers, thriving on being busy while being able to switch effortlessly from task to task. In fact, extroverts do best when they have a variety of tasks and projects to do to keep their day interesting. Manage your extroverts by giving them plenty of face time in order for them to develop their ideas aloud, providing variety in their work and encouraging teamwork.
Ultimately, understanding a team’s personality types and how they interact is the key to a harmonious and effective workforce. An ability to spot introverts and extroverts, along with a solid grasp of how they work, can be instrumental in hiring, managing and maintaining smooth professional relationships with your student employees.
Want more reasons for why student hires are the way to go? Here are four.
Top photo credit: racorn/Shutterstock