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The power of giving introverts safe space to speak their minds

We already know that introverts are powerful in a world that won’t stop talking (HT Susan Cain). But how can you them psychological safety to thrive in an interview process?

Hiring processes can easily be biased towards “rewarding extroverted behaviors over introverted ones”. Evening out the chances of introverts and extroverts is vital: not only because you might just miss out on your “Rock Star” employee if you never give them a real chance to introduce themselves, but also because teams need to be diverse in order to bring out the most of them.

Margaret Neale, Professor of Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, put it this way: “the worst kind of group for an organization that wants to be innovative and creative is one in which everyone is alike and gets along too well”. Having people with different personalities on one team will help avoid groupthink.

I was wondering whether Indivizo’s own hiring process was encouraging introverts to shine. I asked Gergő Sz., our office manager, who is self-confessedly leaning more introvert than extrovert, about his application for the company. I was really hoping he would tell me how awesome Indivizo was for introverts and have this post write itself — but he actually told me the video interview was almost harder than a real-life interview!

“There is no personal, immediate feedback” — he explained. — “In a conversation, you can see from the other person’s metacommunication of whether he follows you. Here, I was talking to the camera.” Gergő’s comments made me wonder whether you can be more true to yourself in a controlled environment like this, when there are no social cues to pick up. If something, that would aid decision of how well an employee would fit into a team — seeing just him, undeterred by the employers’ metacommunication.

According to @cduhigg’s New York Times article, employees feeling psychologically safe to speak their minds with their colleagues is the decisive factor in a team’s productiveness. Gergő’s further comments made me think that having the chance to talk into a camera, from the comfort of your home, with ample time to get ready, it might pay off in feeling secure enough to be really you.

“When I went in for the last round of interview, I was much calmer. They already had a pretty solid idea who I was — much clearer than if they just read my CV. If they still wanted to meet me after hearing me talk for a good half hour, they must have heard something they liked.”

Giving this kind of psychological safety for introverted employees can encourage them to speak up at other times too. This kind of process cuts down on fear, and helps create more diverse groups. Go and find a way for all your introverted applicants to show off for you!

P.S. Watch out for our next article about video interviewing extorverts!


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