When job postings say candidates “must be outgoing,” they miss out on the strengths of introverts.
If you’re an introvert who has ever had to look for a job, you’ve probably seen job postings where you felt excluded because of your personality. These include requirements like “must be outgoing” or “looking for a team player.”
Or there may be the requirement to attend regular out-of-work activities with your colleagues. I’m not talking about team-building here; I admit this has some benefit to the workplace. No, I’m talking about informal things, like going out for drinks or to the movies.
I always feel disappointed when I see a job I know I can do, but the requirements exclude me because of my introverted personality. After a full day of being around colleagues, no matter how nice they are, I want to go home and recharge, or spend time with people I choose to be around.
It’s not just introverted employees missing out, though. Here are just some qualities employers are missing out on by excluding us “quiet ones.”
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7 Reasons Employers Should Hire More Introverts
1. Their reflective nature can lead to thoughtful strategies and innovative solutions.
Introverts have a tendency to think deeply before speaking or acting. This allows them to bring well-considered ideas to the table. For example, in a team brainstorming session, an introverted employee may take the time to deeply analyze different options and offer thoughtful suggestions that consider different perspectives. This reflective nature can lead to innovative solutions and thoughtful strategies.
Wouldn’t it be great to give everyone the option to write their ideas? Then a willing extrovert could read them out loud. This would allow introverts to share their ideas without the need to speak up in a large group, like a meeting.
Some workplaces already do this, but those who don’t are missing out. Since introverts make up 30-50 percent of the population, excluding them, even unintentionally, makes no sense whatsoever.
2. Their strong listening skills can enhance communication and collaboration.
Introverts usually prefer to listen rather than constantly speak, which can enhance communication and collaboration. For instance, during a client meeting, an introverted employee might actively listen to the client’s needs and concerns, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of their requirements.
Then they go off and do the job perfectly, meeting all the requirements, and perhaps even realizing what the client is really trying to say (but wasn’t able to articulate). This empathetic listening can create stronger client relationships and lead to more effective problem-solving and customer service. Introverts can even raise their profile at work this way – just by being themselves!
Of course, extroverts might be more likely to ask questions in the moment. Introverts can email their questions later if they don’t feel comfortable speaking up in meetings, or if something doesn’t occur to them until later. Personally, I find it easier to talk and ask questions when it’s a topic I’m interested in and have experience with.
3. Their independent work style helps them focus and concentrate.
Introverts often excel in roles that require independent work and self-motivation. For instance, a software developer who is introverted may prefer to work in a quiet environment, allowing them to concentrate deeply on coding projects without constant interruptions. Their ability to work autonomously can result in higher productivity and timely completion of tasks.
Surely this is better for productivity than hiring someone who spends a large part of their time talking to other team members, or far too long talking to customers. I will admit, I wouldn’t fit in a retail role, because I can’t put on an outgoing persona for hours on end.
So, yes, some roles will require you to be friendly, but that doesn’t mean you should spend 10 minutes talking to a customer while a line forms. I have been in lines where extroverted retail assistants have done this. It’s probably worse for business than having an introverted checkout assistant who is friendly but says the bare minimum and gets more work done.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
4. Their analytical and observational abilities enable them to notice details others may miss.
We introverts have keen observation skills that enable us to notice details that others might overlook. For example, an introverted data analyst might analyze complex data sets, identifying patterns and trends that lead to actionable insights. Their analytical prowess allows them to make data-driven decisions, solve problems efficiently, and contribute to organizational growth.
Overall, being inside our heads a lot means we do more thinking. I do a lot of self-analysis, so when I look for data and patterns in a work environment, it is a welcome distraction for me.
5. Their empathy and emotional intelligence makes them great leaders.
If you’re thinking introverts can’t be managers or other senior figures in a company, you’re wrong. Our tendency to be attuned to emotions helps us to establish a deeper understanding of other perspectives and resolve conflicts effectively.
In a leadership position, an introverted manager may take the time to listen to team members, understand their concerns, and provide guidance tailored to their individual needs. Their empathetic approach creates a positive work environment and encourages team collaboration. Knowing the setbacks and barriers our fellow introverts face means we are also more likely to see their potential and give them a chance.
6. Their deep focus can help with roles that require sustained attention.
Introverts’ ability to concentrate deeply can be beneficial in roles that need sustained attention. For instance, an introverted graphic designer may work on intricate design projects, paying meticulous attention to each detail. Their capacity to immerse themselves in a task enables them to do high-quality work with precision and accuracy.
7. Their creativity and outside-the-box thinking leads to unique ideas.
Those of us who daydream know how our vivid imagination can lead to unique and innovative ideas. Our ability to think outside the box and explore unconventional approaches can drive innovation within an organization. I have spent years having to think creatively to get anywhere in what is still a world that caters more to extroverts than introverts.
Of course, being an introvert or an extrovert doesn’t automatically grant you specific skills and qualities. Yet, there are some qualities, like those mentioned above, that introverts are more likely to possess. Workplaces should embrace introverts and all the strengths that they have to offer — then they will benefit from the gifts of all personality types.
You might like:
- 5 Reasons Introverts Are Just as Important as Extroverts on Work Teams
- How to (Quietly) Raise Your Profile at Work as an Introvert
- 27 ‘Strange’ Things You Do Because You’re a Highly Sensitive Person
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