We’ve all been there. You spend 45 minutes navigating a ridiculously long online application, receive an impersonal, automated do-not-reply message that your application was received, and if you’re lucky, you get an invitation to interview for your dream job.
This should be a joyous moment — an indication that you have the skills and know-how that the company is seeking. But when you’re an introvert who feels uncomfortable putting yourself out there or having a spotlight on you, job hunting and interviewing can be two of the most humanly difficult things you have to endure.
Think sweaty palms, a racing heart, and a loss for words. It’s not that you show up unprepared. You researched the company, looked over your notes, and even wrote down some questions of your own. If you’re anything like me, you also took the time to analyze the job listing, and you already carefully highlighted the ways you felt you were a good fit in your cover letter.
Since discovering a suitable “introvert” label for my quiet tendencies, I now feel I know myself well enough to understand what I’m naturally cut out for and what I’m not when it comes to my career. I also know my introversion actually makes me an excellent candidate for the roles I apply for. But in a world spinning on an extroverted axis, I’m not sure potential employers always see the benefits of adding an introvert like me to the team.
So, to all the hiring managers out there, here are five reasons an introvert is an awesome choice for your next hire.
Why You Should Hire an Introvert
1. Many introverts are creative masterminds.
I’ve always been a highly creative person and have dedicated an ample amount of time to perfecting my writing craft. As an introvert, my wild imagination stems from my deep sense of self and the empathetic connection I have to my surroundings and the people in it. Basically, I look inward, and it’s worked for me both personally and professionally.
My natural propensity for innovation and self-expression has always been a bit out-of-the-box, but I’ve found that no matter the industry or position, the ability to think critically and innovatively while articulating big ideas into actionable plans is essential. Like many, I have the ability to see Point A and Point B, but what sets me apart is my way of honing in on my creativity and problem-solving skills to fill in the gaps.
As an introverted professional, I can easily devise new ways to bring plans to fruition and influence people to meet their goals, as long as I am given the chance to do so on my own creative terms. Because introverts are thinkers-before-speakers, I’ve found that I’m able to best develop, communicate, and present my ideas by writing them down first so everyone can easily follow along.
2. Introverts make great teammates.
When I speak to my highly extroverted brother about his fast-paced, collaborative advertising job, I get agitated just thinking about all his meetings, speaking up in a crowded room, the last-minute business trips, and the leadership role he is grooming himself to take on one day. It’s impressive, but it’s just not for me.
The truth is, I am one of those shy introverts, and I have no problem letting my extroverted coworkers take the spotlight. I celebrate their achievements and am satisfied allowing the more outgoing professionals in the office to take the lead, particularly in meetings or in situations that require public speaking.
But don’t be fooled into thinking this means introverts like me lack ambition. We most certainly can be ambitious, but we’re also hyper-aware of the ways in which our skill sets can be best utilized. What may be surprising to some is we can indeed make excellent teammates, and our special method of participating can create an awesome balance that deflects a power struggle.
For example, in a recent interview — ironically for a human resources position — I shared this fact about myself with the panel, directly disclosing my introversion to them. They appreciated me being upfront and greatly respected my preference for being one of the hardworking background players. It was one of the best interviews I have ever given. (Fun fact: I got the job!)
3. Many introverts are impeccable listeners.
It can be quite interesting being a spectator in a meeting full of extroverts. You may recognize the situation: a bland, uninspiring room with white walls and gray carpeting, a rectangular table, a sudden rush of ideas being shouted, people speaking over one another, and a demand for individual attention.
One person you probably won’t hear speak? The office introvert.
It’s a known fact that introverts listen differently than extroverts. We’re natural observers, and picking up on the minute details is our specialty. We do so by staying quiet while others have the floor, internalizing all that’s being said and contemplating what we will reply with only if necessary.
Through listening, introverts have the advantage of seeing the bigger picture that’s often overlooked by others. Things that may cross an introvert’s mind in this situation is how to figure out the missing pieces of a problem or how they can tap into their creative skills to determine alternative methods for achieving a goal. It’s an opportunity for us to solve a puzzle using a significant amount of cognitive and experiential intelligence that stems from simply paying attention.
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4. Introverts are often highly productive and organized professionals.
Have a big presentation? I’ll make sure I’ve reviewed it, edited it for grammar and punctuation, and highlighted key speaking points on notecards.
Need an urgent memo to go out? I’ll have it drafted, fine-tuned, and circulating the office before you can blink.
Is there a growing pile of “busy work” that needs to get done ASAP? I’m your introvert!
There are hundreds of ways I can prove my knack for organization and productivity, but it’s important to mention that introverts don’t typically fare well in unexpected situations. For that reason, we make sure we’re prepared (and sometimes overprepared) for literally anything.
Personally, this introvert prefers independent assignments where I can sit at my desk and get my work done. In general, you can count on introverts to remain ultra-focused on their tasks, to meet deadlines, and perhaps take on opportunities to learn new things. Many of us love broadening our knowledge and learning a variety of different skills ensures that we can adapt more easily to otherwise unanticipated changes.
Introverted learning is an internal experience that is typically done alone and in a space with little noise and few disruptions. Many of us require time to privately process information in our corner cubicle, connect to a particular concept or technique behind a closed door, and then find ways to apply what we’ve learned.
The end result of my nonconforming learning style has always been worthwhile, though, and employers have often recognized where they could utilize my breadth of knowledge outside my given roles — including teaching others.
5. Introverts generally avoid workplace drama.
As an introvert, there are certain aspects of everyday interactions that I do my best to stay away from. In the workplace, I set my boundaries to avoid drama, gossip, and office politics at all costs.
Perhaps it comes from my introverted aversion to shallowness and meaningless chatter, or the fact that gossip can be toxic, typically leading to being unkind toward your coworkers and mocking their misfortunes. Many introverts are empathetic people, after all.
On the other hand, we simply can’t and won’t be bothered by nonsense. Gossip and office drama is uninteresting to many introverts who would much rather focus on prioritizing their workloads and enhancing their personal and professional growth.
I get it, introverts may not always seem like a first-choice candidate, but with their unbounded ingenuity, different methods of learning, and aptitude for critical thinking, they have the potential to create a wonderful workplace balance that promotes higher levels of achievement and morale.
So, instead of looking at introverted professionals as weak, too quiet, or ineffectual for their unconventional ways, try to gain a better understanding of their inner workings. By adding a few introverts to your team, slightly altering office environments that improve their working potential, and nurturing their abilities, you will, without a doubt, reap the benefits of their invaluable talents.
You might like:
- The 9 Best Jobs for Introverts
- 6 Things Your Office Introvert Does That Might Seem Rude, But Aren’t
- 5 Tips to Save Your Sanity in an Open Office
Introverts may not seem like the first-choice candidate, but when you take the time to understand how they work, you’ll see they havde invaluable talents.