Assume you have two finalist candidates for a dream job. Both have identical education, background and experiences. One is an introvert and the other an extrovert. What are their best qualities and how can they effectively interview to get the job?
Introverts tend to be self-aware, are OK with being alone or with a small group, stays out of the limelight, may be hard to get to know, and learns by watching. Introverts tend to gravitate to individual pursuits. Introverts in the extreme are isolates, who don’t work well in large groups and are more interested in the tasks rather than people.
Extroverts tend to talk easily, are energized in larger groups, like the limelight, discuss solutions to problems with a group, and are friendly and easy to get to know. Extroverts don’t like to be alone for long. Extroverts in the extreme are braggers, see themselves as better than others, and overpower others toward domination.
We all have qualities of each, but usually gravitate toward one or the other. Neither is good or bad. The question is around performance and fit: Can they do the job and fit in the culture?
How should each finalist candidates interview to best show their qualities? The Association of Psychological Science did some research that I think has merit for candidates who interview. What they found was:
- Introverts tend to be more critical of their skills and ability when interviewing, are modest when describing their achievements, may be seen as a deeper thinker and don’t readily expand on answers to questions from the hiring manager.
- Extroverts tend to be less critical of their skills and ability when interviewing, may seem superficial at times, tend to overvalue their contributions, may give too much detail to questions and use the “I” word too often.
So, how does each candidate make his or her case to the hiring manager? For the introvert, practice your interactive skills with others. Expand and detail your answers to questions that the hiring manager is interested. Focus on measureable results of the work unit that can be verified along with your part in it. You’ll become more likeable to the hiring manager when you come out of your shell a bit and show what you can really do.
For the extrovert, tone it down a bit. When talking about the results of a project, identify your individual contribution as part of a larger workgroup. Talk less about you and more about the project results. Compress your answers to a thirty-second time frame. Nothing is more boring to a hiring manager than a candidate who rattles on. Let the hiring manager ask the secondary question rather than answering questions not asked.
Back to the question of which finalist candidate gets the job? It depends. Neither has the upper hand. It’s a matter of how each handles their strengths and weaknesses better. Also, assess the hiring manager: Introvert or extrovert? You need to approach each one differently.
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