If a job interview is presented simply as an opportunity for a candidate to sell themselves, then the extrovert will triumph over the introvert every time. The more astute employers, however, understand that the most outstanding candidate is not necessarily the most outgoing.
The trouble is, interviews have a tendency to favour those who are natural extroverts. It is the bright flash that get noticed, not the steady glow. So here are some tips to help you build a balanced team of the best talents by assessing candidates objectively, whatever their disposition.Identify the true requirements of the position
A customer-facing position, such as sales, may go to an extrovert because they deliver a more entertaining interview. But look a little deeper and think what the customer would want from that position. They would rate empathy, an ability to listen and trustworthiness over more extrovert skills, such as having the ‘gift of the gab’. Once you know the competencies you are looking for, you can attempt to uncover them during the interview.
- Skip the small talk
Extroverts thrive on small talk. They’ll pick up the conversational baton and run with it as far as they can. Introverts, on the other hand, prefer to deploy their words more judiciously. It’s still a good idea to give the candidate time to warm up, but reign in the small talk and give them chance to talk about what really matters.
- Be patient with your probing
Extroverts may seize every opportunity to dominate the conversation, telling you what they want to say rather than what you want to hear. Conversely, introverts may wait to be asked before telling you. An interview isn’t a talking competition, it’s an opportunity for you to coax out the insight you need, and this may take time and careful questioning.
- Don’t give them unnecessary hurdles to jump
If someone is coming to be interviewed for a position as a software programmer, for example, why force them to undergo a panel interview? The ability to cope with being centre-stage while handling questions from all directions is not representative of the work they will be doing. This style of interview would suit a natural performer, but not necessarily a natural software programmer.
- Put them to the test
A well-constructed test that reflects the available position will give all candidates an equal chance to put their skills into practice. It will disregard the irrelevant characteristics of the extrovert to arrive at a fair, unbiased assessment of each candidate.
- Check references
Rather than waiting to check references after the interview, why not check them before? That way, you can see how the candidate performs in an actual work environment, rather than an interview.
To sum up, you can’t assess a candidate by the volume or quantity of their conversation during the interview. To hire the most competent person for the job, rather than the one that makes the interview easiest for you, you need to tailor the interview to the actual requirements of the position. Do that, and you’ll recruit the best candidate for the job, whether they are an extrovert or an introvert.