The extrovert advantage

I was  amazed how my friend coached me on how to answer interview questions for a job of my choice. It was the first time she saw the job description and very naturally she begin to answer the questions with great flow and ease. I was shocked. I told her honestly, that I would certainly employ her, if I were the interviewer, never mind that she had no intention to apply for this job and had no previous inkling what the job was about. She shared with me that she received many job offers and had, what I would call the luxury of turning down jobs and picking the job of her choice.

From then on, I suspected that there was indeed something called the “extrovert advantage” at the interviews.

“Interviews are unfair to half the world of people that we label as introverts. Extroverts during interviews get a good deal because they ‘talk  – think – talk’ whereas introverts ‘think – talk – think’. The implication here is that introverts, if we stereotype them, tend to be slower of speech because they much prefer to provide considered answers. The difficulty is that most interviewers want information quickly so that they can move onto the next candidate. Unfortunately for the slow speakers amongst us the research suggests that people who are really fluent are rated by the ordinary person as being more intelligent, with better interpersonal skills and make better managers. This is obviously nonsense and untrue but we are dealing with perceptions here.”

Perfect Answers to Interview Questions by Max Eggert (2005)


1 Comment

  1. yeu@nn said,

    December 18, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Not really, in this case. While it’s true that we introverts do need to think first before we talk, we can also do our thinking beforehand. And actually, that would give us an advantage over extroverts in that sense. Training.

    Actually, hee, though I’m an introvert, I can also do what your friend did… take a look at the job description, and start ‘smoking’ haha. I think it’s more about familiarity with job domains, and well, linguistic fluency to a certain extent too. And yes, I had the pleasure of being able to pick my job of choice too. Sharing this, because hope to encourage you that introverts do enjoy this too.

    Well, Eggert does point out that, yes, it’s an error in perception, that a person who can speak smoothly -> person is more intelligent, etc. But, erm, his reasoning a bit loopy at one point. Just because a person can speak fluently, expressively and smoothly doesn’t therefore mean that he/she must be an extrovert. It may simply mean that he/she has prepared well for his/her interview beforehand. =) That’s why I can do public speaking – and have the audience roaring with laughter… (I got full marks for a presentation last time in school)… but only if I prepare beforehand!

    Training, in short, is a major key to success.

    Ecclesiastes 10:10
    If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success.

    And that’s actually a major metaphor that Paul uses in his epistles. The Christian life is not so much about one-time successes, or sprints… but about steady training in whatever character traits that God wants us to have. To train ourselves in godliness. =)

    So yup! I think we shouldn’t give a chicken’s feather about how many talents we don’t have… but just train, develop and multiply the talent(s) God has entrusted to us. Train, teach and disciple yourself… and go on to training others too. =)

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