Recruitment, Interviews and Introversion - Part 1

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4 Part Series on Recruitment, Interviews and Introversion


This post is the first in a 4 part series on recruitment and interviews from an introversion perspective.

Why consider introversion you wonder? Research, indicates that more than half of the potential job market is introverted. In fact, according to the MBTI Manual published in 2018 56.8% of the worldwide population classify themselves as introverts. Yet the culture is most western countries and organisations is extroverted. MBTI also state that 9/10 people surveyed in the UK felt pressure to act extroverted. So, it is worth examining the intersection between recruitment, interviews and introversion.

Current Labour Market

We are in the middle of a pandemic and almost certain recession. Many organisations might not be focusing their efforts on the recruitment process but for those that are, getting your talent acquisition process right is more important than ever.  According to the Society for Human Resource Professionals, ‘a recent study found that employers who excelled in recruiting, experienced 3.5 times more revenue growth and twice the profit margin of other employers.’ As they say, every penny counts.

The current labour market will provide a larger pool of candidates increasing the complexity for the recruiter and a challenge for the job seeker from which to stand out. Potential employers will need to carefully craft their message to potential candidates and job seekers will need real clarity around their unique offering.

About Introversion

There is no longer one single definition that captures the introvert experience. Introversion like extroversion is on a spectrum and just one aspect of our personality. However, there are certain commonalities that tie introverts together usually grouped around how energy is managed and information is processed. Introverts, will generally need considerable time alone to recharge, prefer smaller groups and tend to have more intricate neural pathways in the brain influencing how information is processed. In recent years there has been more recognition that introvert strengths are an asset to an organisation rather than something that needs to be fixed.


Crafting the Message

In order to hire great talent, you need to attract great talent. 50% of that talent lies within the cognitive diverse group of introverts. When potential candidates are assessing your organisation, they look at the job description, information on the website, employee reviews and information shared on social media. Inclusivity begins with the job analysis and description.

One single word can turn a potential applicant away. Buffer, the social media company was using the word ‘hacker’ in its job descriptions which it turns out was contributing to the fact that only 2% of its developers were women. We know women are less likely to apply for a job unless they meet 100% of the requirements, I would suggest introverts with their self-critical nature would also follow this pattern.

Does your job description emphasise lots of socialising opportunities? We like to socialise but in our own way, ping pong tables and lots of games will probably not attract introverts. Lunch time events and happy hours will also drain introverts who need to recharge. Do you use clich├ęs like fast paced environment? Introverts are more prone to anxiety and their strengths in reflecting and tapping into their creativity are not always done well under pressure. Reframing this to suggest the applicant needs good time management skills is more effective. Keep your job descriptions specific to the skills required and it will be clearer both for applicants in terms of what is required and for recruiters on which to assess.

Introverts will look to assess whether they have opportunities to work independently, most especially some remote work going forward, a support system in place and a work environment that meets their values.

Finally, how about adding a line at the end like this one which celebrates all the facets of our individuality?

‘Diversity is more than a commitment at Viacom—it is the foundation of what we do. We are fully focused on equality and believe deeply in diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin and all the other fascinating characteristics that make us different.’ 

Harnessing the potential of all personality types will bring engagement to your workforce but getting this diversity in the door starts with the job description.

If you believe your recruitment team would benefit from learning more about this area reach out to and I would be happy to design a training session specific to your business. 

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