Employer's Personality Preference: Extrovert vs. Introvert

  1. I was playing around with some tests online today when this occurred to me. One of my ex-employers made all the candidates took a series of personality profile tests. One of which was the Jung Myers-Briggs Typology test.

    I'm not going to get into whether I agree with that tests ... the thing is, there're so many personality test out there that it's hard to say which one is more accurate. My view is that they're all equally accurate and inaccurate. You cannot pinpoint someone's pesronality through a set of questions or pattern alone. Anyways, that's a subject for an entirely different post.

    The point of this post is that I'm very curious about whether it's true that employers in general prefer ONE particular personality type. I am under the impression that ALL companies prefer extroverts more than introverts.

    Of course, they'd never actually come out and make that statement (that's a lawsuit waiting to happen), but I get the distinct impression that extroverts are more favored upon than introverts. Can some of the insiders on this board give some input on this?

    Off the record of course. :p
  2. Very interesting post, Kou!

    I can see where your impression that all companies prefer extroverts comes from and I agree when thinking about the business/financial world. My BF is in the sports entertainment/management business and I noticed he deals with lots of assertive, outspoken, extroverted people. I can also see why this is a plus personality: being able to get deals, negotiate contracts, attract clients, bring in sponsors, deal with sports celebrities, etc.

    I am in the science field-research- and it seems to be the complete opposite! We love introverts! I can be an introvert and I fit in perfectly in a lab where not speaking to anyone for hours did not bother me one bit, while doing experiments.

    I suppose it all depends on the work or output expected by the company and what the individual likes: I would never want to work in the business world and I know my BF would not want to work alone with test tubes for hours.
  3. This is going to sound a bit strange coming from someone who majored in Psychology (I should've done engineering though) but I really feel that these tests are not an accurate indicator of how a candidate is going to perform at work.

    I feel that the best candidate is one who maybe an introvert but can become an extrovert should the occasion needs him/her to do so (or vice versa for an extrovert). I think an employee who can adapt to the circumstances and perform is one who is truly valuable.

    I think cutting someone out of the interviewing process based on the classification of introvert vs. extrovert is really depriving a company of many valuable candidates and prospects.

    This is why I am not very fond of those personality tests, because they create a bias and a pre-conceived notion for some employers (before they even meet the candidate in person) and really don't do the candidates justice.

    On a side note, those who met me in real life are often surprised when they found out which personality I belong to, just like they're surprised to find out that I'm a NIN/Linkin Park/Trance type of person.
  4. You are totally right Kou, I think these tests are b&%"#.
    Unfortunately there are lots of companies who still refer to these, such as typography test (writing) and also astrological signs. It´s their loss. I don´t care I play by the rules and after reading a couple of these books about handwriting when I was 16 I managed to transform my writing into "a creative but down to earth, optimistic, confident, looking towards the future" type of person !!
    But the main question is that any employer will see your personality (as far as introvert/extrovert, level of confidence) during an interview anyway.
    And as GR8 said, the type of personality they prefer varies depending of your field.
    Obviously if you have to sell and run after contracts it´s different that if you research alone in your lab.
    There is also a big grey area, where none of that should be important.....but.....it is. I have noticed during my student years how the extrovert/confident students could get away with presenting any **** as the next big thing to the teachers and fool them.....as they fooled later on their employers. So yes these people get more, BUT I also know a lot of employers who like people a bit more introvert, so they just work, and are easier to manage, they don´t waste their time in big blablas....(and big ego).
  5. You know what I think is really interesting? I found that quite a number of execs have introverted personalities ... So, it just comes to show that doesn't matter whether a person is introverted or extroverted, at the end of the day it's their abilities that are the most important.

    Now, I just wish companies will recognize that ...

    On a slightly different note, my ex-boss and I negotiate contracts as well and he was definintely an introvert.:yes:
  6. Yeah, I agree that the most important thing is to be able to adapt to every situation. I also hate these tests, and I don't think any of them are considered very accurate. =P
  7. Kouk, I agree with you completely. I think those tests are silly. I used to work as a corporate headhunter: I recruited high-level executives (defined by a salary of six figures or more, so some were obviously waaay higher up than others!).

    I, too, have found that companies prefer extroverts in almost all circumstances, even when they need to have virtually no contact with clients or the public.
  8. Very interesting post
  9. actually, I find these tests not only ridiculous but also ridiculously predictable. these are not even a challenge - they are like those in mags where they ask you: what type of rel.ship person are you? what type of flirting personality do you have? etc etc. you know what I mean? if you want to believe you are the romantic etc you just need to give the right answers.

    you know exactly that when you give one answer your rating will be x and vice versa. I took these for employment agencies and it was so easy to figure out which answers you need to give to fit, say, a call centre job or telephone marketing etc.

    so I have never understood how employers/agencies can use these as an indication of anything, and not follow their gut instinct. these are so flawed and easily cheated.

    I agree that business people are looking for extroverts but also agree that in academia it is actually more of the introverts (so that all the other introverts are left alone...;) - I remember sitting in an office in the UNI and no one talking to each other like EVER! total bliss for working though...)
  10. I completly agree, every one I have ever taken has been a joke. Very predictable and easy 'to read'. But, with that said....my DH loves them and uses them at his company...and people do 'fail' them....so, I guess it does weed out some of 'dumber than a box of rocks' people. kwim?

    But, I agree most companies are looking for extroverts, especially any kind of sales, customer service or dealing with the public position.
  11. I've had to take some sort of honesty test to work at a hospital. I don't recall the name of the test. Anyway, the only way to pass it is to lie. I was a temp at the hospital before I applied for a full-time position. My boss told me basically how to pass it. We had another temp that tried to get hired full time and failed the honesty test because she was too honest. You have to take the test as if you have never done anything wrong in your life.

    I also took some kind of psych profile test to work at a bank. Of course I wasn't going to admit that yes, sometimes I feel like killing people! So yes, they are pretty predictable. Same with the ones my brother has had to take to get a top secret security clearance. If he'd have told him he likes to blow things up I'm sure he'd have never passed.

    As far as the extrovert/introvert thing, I think it depends on the job. In some fields such as sales or management I can see how they might prefer extroverts but in other fields I don't think it makes as much of a difference. In fact, being an extrovert could work against you in certain fields. I am a court reporter. I knew another court reporter who ended up getting out of the field because she had a lot of trouble just sitting there being quiet and listening. For me, that is a piece of cake because I've always been a great observer and I have no problem sitting in a room full of people and not saying a thing.
  12. The most common CEO type is an INTJ....
  13. I think as far as the way that employers will "see" these people, I can boil it down to one sentence:

    Extrovert = team player, Introvert = Solitary Player

    And that's why they prefer Extroverts, to them it means a team player above all. They want people who enjoy working with other people and who would rather not be alone or loners.
  14. Hey! That's my personality type right there!!! Aha! Now I know why I'm not happy with my previous jobs, because I wasn't managing people and running the company. Just kidding!:p
  15. I agree that's probably why employers prefer extroverts, but I have to say their generalization is really costing them some good candidates. I know plenty of introverts who are great team players.

    If I were an employer, I'd rather have an employee who can be both introvert and extrovert (depending on the occasion) than just one or the other.