Tag Archives: introversion

Can Introverts Work in HR?

Because of my occupation, I often read about the “perfect” applicant, the “matching” qualities, the “relevant set” of characteristics in a person who will make her fit in a team or a job. Recently, I was outraged by an article about the qualities you need to look out for when you search for your HR Manager. The article was loosely written and had little focus. For instance, I didn’t understand why it was entitled “How to Choose a Quality HR Director”, but it spoke freely about the entire range of HR professionals. I mention such weaknesses because the article appeared in a reputable online HR resource that purports to carry the torchlight of professionalism to the plebeians and newbies in the field. Were it part of a personal blog, I wouldn’t be so upset.

In addition to repeating many well-known truths and rules as if they were ground-breaking revelations, the article reached the conclusion that “There is no place for introverted people in HR”. An explanation of why followed. Needless to say, it only demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge and understanding in the field of personality traits and peculiarities.

Are you curious to read about some of the Myths of Introversion? Here is my blog post #1 encompassing the most popular ones.

Sorry to see that the author is part of a large company recruiting management staff and she has the authority to dictate the tone and beliefs of many professionals in the sphere.

That said, let me explain why I disagree. First of all, introverted people are not ones who don’t like to communicate. Some of them are asocial or socially anxious, but that is not a feature all introverts share. Introverts actually love communication, but they prefer it to be meaningful. Then they need rest.

Second of all, introverts are not people who don’t know how to socialise. Many introverts are keen public speakers and love going to parties and having fun, including meeting strangers. Then they need rest.

When we speak of the need to rest, it might be helpful if you check my post about the “introvert hangover”.

Third, and I don’t want to be rude here, just because someone wants to speak to others and is able to do it incessantly, doesn’t mean this person has anything meaningful to say. The only sure thing about such people is that they love listening to their own voices. How is that helpful when you are an HR?
In order to align your work and mentality with the colleagues from the company, you need to get to know them. That takes time. It also needs a lot of patience. Not many extroverts have the time to wait until they get really close to someone else. Have you seen what happens when an extroverted manager accosts an introverted or asocial employee? The employee withdraws in her shell and you’ll never see her or hear her voice again. This might bring the manager to the easy conclusion that the employee is impolite. Why not see what I’ve written about the myth that introverted people are rude? It will definitely have a familiar ring.

The direct approach combined with a broad smile so characteristic for seasoned managers with experience in big companies is one of the most detested tools of power. Any quiet and focused team member will tell you that.

This goes under my #SavageSaturday hashtag because it discusses my beloved introversion topic.

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Myths about Introversion, Part 3: Rudeness

Here we go with another blog post in my #SavageSaturdays sub-series concerning Introversion. To check the previous posts in the series, you can see here and here.
This post is going to be on one of the most popular myths about introverted people – Introverts are rude, impolite, selfish or arrogant, depending on the situation.

Do you remember the last party you went to? Was there at least one person, a man or a woman who didn’t mingle with the group? She seemed aloof, kept at a distance, didn’t laugh at your jokes and, generally, didn’t make nice talk to anyone. Oh, except for that very weird neighbour of your friend, the party host. Or, the pet. Or, did you see her reading a book in the hallway? Playing or chatting on her phone all the time? But mainly what set her apart was the fact that she never laughed. Not even at the host’s jokes. She wasn’t a teenager, she wasn’t dressed as a Goth, so the only thing you thought was: rude.

In fact, introverted people don’t like small talk, they are never prepared to chat about shoes, cooking, the town gossip or the weather. Neither would they try to solve the problem of poor education or healthcare in the country at a party. They don’t see a reason why they should be prepared for such topics, actually. Small talk seems a waste of time to them. When it comes to jokes, you need to be really funny to make them laugh. That doesn’t include the “banana-skin” sort of funny.

In addition to the above, we must keep in mind that often introverted people are more scared to socialise than others are insulted by their lack of socialising. That lady kept to the side not only because your topics are boring. Even when they are interesting, she might keep away. She is too self-conscious. She imagines that stepping closer will move a spot of light onto her, all eyes will be on her, and in their lame attempts to make her feel ‘at home’ people will stare and start interrogating her. That is exactly what it feels like – interrogation. However, introverted people don’t have ready answers for even the simplest questions, apart from, perhaps, their name, age, family status and job. They need to think, then they need to phrase and re-phrase, and re-think and re-phrase again. In short, they suck at promptness. To avoid all this, which might not take place, at all, they choose not to risk getting into the spotlight of attention.

I hope, more of us would find the time to think about that when we see someone looking or walking away just to avoid us.

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Let’s Talk Introversion, Part 2

If you need to refresh your memory about this series, Savage Saturdays where I will write about psychology, motivation, inclusion and similar things, you can check this post about some widely-spread introvert myths. And here we go with one of the most interesting things about introverts, the “introverted hangover”.

This is a great term. Even though it’s not new, I met it this March for the first time. I recognised what it stands for immediately. How could I have not? When you have too much to drink, you can get a hangover and feel down, so down that you think you aren’t getting up soon. My very first hangover was a terrible experience, and I have no doubt yours were the same as mine. You just lie there, head spinning, at times pounding and the moment you try to lift it, that sickness in your chest and your stomach starts crawling up. Sometimes, the sickness finds its way up, of course. One of my favourite “drunk” jokes is this:

“The salad was sitting peacefully in one man’s stomach when something cold poured over it.

– What are you? – asked the salad.

– Vodka – answered the liquid.

– Who sends you? – asked the salad.

– John. And the salad quieted for a while.

Then the same thing happened again and again, when, after the third “John” answer, the salad said:

– Why don’t I just climb up there to see who this John person is?”

Fortunately, “introvert hangover” doesn’t have this particular effect on your body. Still, the physical sickness apart, you have this feeling of being wiped out. You are done for, you can’t stand on your feet, very often even literally. Another thing you can’t do is talk to people. Just like when you’re hungover, you can’t drink alcohol and you get sick by only looking at it, in the state of introvert hangover, you can’t take any more talk. After all, you’ve had too much of it already.

You get into this state as a result of too intensive socialising. The best cure is prevention, so you’ll do great to not bring this on yourself, but we don’t always have control over each minute of our daily lives. Imagine you are a teacher at a school camp, or an office coordinator, or an event manager, well, you name it. You can do this, mind you, even as an introvert. Not all people who work such jobs are extroverted. Another thing to keep in mind is, you can get introvert hangover even if you’re an ambivert.

So, let’s get back to our school camp or business event. You are in the middle of this week-long thing and a great number of people turn to you for a great number of things – from advice to simple questions of direction and agenda. You may be enjoying all these interactions – you are needed, you are useful, you see how people’s faces glow when you help. You may also have fun with all the games or entertainment. Yet, inevitably, you’ll be drained at the end and when it’s over, you will find yourself experiencing the introvert hangover.

The cure? Stay in the dark, keep away from the noise. You may read, write, draw or make music – whatever artistic preference you have. Go for a lonely walk in nature. Sit on the beach, look at the sea and breathe. Go to the forest, sit with your back against a tree, look at the greenery around you and breathe. Breathe in peace, breathe out calamity. Take in relaxation, take out soiled emotions.

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Savage Saturdays: Introversion, Part 1

In this hashtag, #Savage Saturdays, I plan to focus on things of the mind and soul, mental health, psychology, and self-help. First, I’ll draw your attention to one of my favourite topics: Introversion. To make it proper, I’d like to start by laying the foundation and take it from here. This post is the first of a series that will speak about What Is Introversion and Some Myths about Introversion.

If you are introverted, you probably know it. Extroverted people, on the other hand, often mistake shyness and the lack of social skills for introversion. We need to set the definitions straight, not only because we owe it to introverted people, but also because they make nearly half of the population on Earth. There is no way to count them precisely; there is no “census” for this, and there is no place where you can go and declare yourself by voting or signing up for a list. It seems extroverts are more numerous. That is because they are outgoing, express themselves with ease and are normally quite noticeable. Introverts are simply not there. And yet, we may safely say that at least one-third of the population are introverted, another third are extroverted and there is yet another third – those people whom we call “ambiverts”. Ambiverts alternate acting like extro– or introverts in different areas of life, thus making it hard to put them in one pure category.

“It takes all sorts to make a world.” When we want to share valid opinions and expect others to listen and take our ideas into account, we need to be prepared. That means knowing and understanding.

Introverts and Energy:

  • Extroverts charge through socialising: they like noisy environments and the sensory stimulation of sound, colour, temperature, vibration and people touch.
  • Introverts can do on a lot less of the above. They, like every human being, like company and interaction, but their energy drains fast and they charge through spending time alone and in silence.

Introverts and Shyness:
A frequent mistake is to use “introverted” and “shy” interchangeably. These are not synonyms and as an introvert who is not shy, I remember this was a major difficulty in my self-analysis. Extroverts can also be shy, for all we know. Shy people get nervous and self-conscious when they need to socialise and be part of some social interaction. They blush, stammer, don’t know what to do with their hands, and more often than not, forget what they know. Oral exams at school show the shy boys and girls pretty clearly. Think about it for a moment: Do you remember an outgoing classmate who was very noisy during breaks but couldn’t say a word when examined in front of the blackboard, even when she knows the answer? Do you also remember that no one believed this classmate was nervous, and most people thought she was faking it? That is a good example of a shy extrovert.

Do you know any untypical extroverts or introverts? Tell me in the comments below.
Next time, I’ll go on to the popular myths about introversion and help busting them. In the meantime, be well and have a nice weekend!

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