Being an introvert is often viewed in professional settings as a disadvantage, or a threat to your overall success. Introverts are assumed to be shy, quiet followers. However, being an introvert doesn’t mean you align with those qualities. Introverts recharge themselves by having alone time, and perhaps they prefer to work individually rather than with a team, but these characteristics aren’t the same as being shy or submissive.
Spoiler alert: You can be an introvert and also be highly successful. You can be an introvert and also be a leader. You can be an introvert and also work well on a team. Being an introvert may just mean that you’re going to take a private lunch break or when your day is over, you’ll pass on happy hour drinks with coworkers to go home and have some peace and quiet.
Introverts face different challenges in the workplace than extroverts do. Everyone faces their own obstacles, and no one’s are more or less difficult than the next person’s. They are simply different.
Extroverts in Power
One of the challenges of introverts is that they are less likely to find themselves in powerful roles. Although introverts are perfectly capable of working in high positions, their personality traits may hold them back from speaking up and advocating for themselves and the future of their careers.
An article by Fast Company compares extroverts to squeaky wheels, “They’re the squeaky wheels that get the oil. Being a squeaky wheel pays off, usually in the form of promotions and career progression into leadership roles.”
Extroverts make up a large percentage of high-level executives. According to a study published by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, only 20 to 25 percent of powerful positions are held by people who are more on the introverted side of the personality scale.
Being at the Top Doesn’t Make You the Best
The statistics only represent who is where, but not necessarily how well each individual is doing at each level. Just because you worked your way into a certain position doesn’t mean you’re the best at it.
Harvard Business Review published an article in 2017 about successful CEOs and the qualities that set them apart from all the others. The article states, “our analysis revealed that while boards often gravitate toward charismatic extroverts, introverts are slightly more likely to surpass the expectations of their boards and investors.”
So how do extroverts snatch the leading role of so many companies if they’re not always the ones who will produce the best outcome for the business? An article by Independent cites that extroverts are typically better in interviews, seducing the interviewer with their charming and polished personality.
Know Your Personality, and Take Advantage of It
Interviews can be tricky, and they’re certainly known for stressing people out. As an introvert, one of the best ways to shine in an interview is by utilizing the tools you already have in your belt from simply having the personality type that you do.
For example, introverts are planners. Rather than “winging” a presentation and seeing how a meeting naturally unfolds, introverts would often rather spend some time preparing for a situation and working out some of the potential scenarios of what will happen before they walk into any big event..
To get ready for an upcoming interview, do just that: Plan! Come up with possible interview questions you’ll likely be asked. You know the common ones, and for extra practice, you can Google some more examples. After compiling a list of questions, think about or write down your response. Better yet—ask a friend or colleague to do a mock interview with you, or at the very least, film yourself responding to the interview questions.
Get comfortable talking about your work experience and skills—another instance where you can film yourself or speak out loud to prepare. Read up on the company and position you’re interviewing for, perhaps learn a few fun facts about your interviewer if you can. According to an article by Fast Company, “introverts are good at digging deep into research,” so use this trait to your advantage.
Feeling prepared to answer questions and show your knowledge of the company is something that will build your confidence and allow you to feel comfortable and qualified when the interview takes place.
For more information on how to train for interviews or curb your professional routines to suit your personality, consider some of iGenCo’s different training products and how they can help you succeed.