Sometimes, if you’re like me, you come across an article or online video that can bring you to tears. One night as I was checking my Facebook profile, I happened upon a video of an “America’s Got Talent” performance that completely captivated me.
In the video, a shy and quiet young girl named Courtney takes her place on stage and is visibly nervous. Almost so much so that she’s not sure she’ll be able to sing. Mel B encourages her to “Step into your power,” giving her the positive reinforcement she needs to belt out “Hard to Handle.” Mel B untaps Courtney’s potential and gives her the space to share her truly incredible voice. Words can’t describe how moving, and unexpected, her performance is. I highly encourage you to check it out.
Why am I sharing an America’s Got Talent video with you? It’s because the video’s overall message on how there’s power within everyone – even the seemingly quietest person in the room – really stuck with me. It made me think about how as a society, we give more value to the loudest people, overlooking the immense strength that introverted people bring to the table. This is as true on a concert stage as it is in the halls of our workplaces.
Hiring Diverse Thinkers
Extroverts and introverts have different strengths. These need to be recognized when you’re deciding who to interview, hire, and entrust with growing your company. Bringing different people together makes for a more productive environment. That means you need to place equal value on the more unassuming candidates. Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” puts it bluntly, but well, “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”
People make your company what it is. You need to consider diverse candidates; not only in terms of gender, sexual orientation or race, but in personality. This is typically referred to as “diversity of thought,” and I believe that the most successful teams, and companies, employ this as part of their recruitment strategy.
Here are a few of my tips to tap into the power of quiet candidates in the hiring process:
- Be open to communicating differently: Learn and understand how best to communicate with people during the interview process. Why? To ensure you’re not overlooking someone quiet who may be a great candidate. This may mean they prefer to email rather than use the phone, so ask them their preference.
- Consider personality tests: Many large tech companies are famous for using various types of personality tests, such as the Caliper, Wonderlic, and others to make hiring decisions. This may not always be practical, but it’s a helpful way to see if a quiet candidate brings loud knowledge in a specific area, or compliments an existing team in a certain way.
- Mix up the interview format: Introverts are known as terrific listeners. In response, strive to be more descriptive and informative when asking questions. This allows the candidate to process what’s being asked better and think of the most effective way to answer. Also, forgo large, group interviews for more one-on-one conversations, as this is where introverts are more likely to present themselves best.
Successful companies know that different kinds of diverse workers make for the ultimate team. Next time you’re faced with a quiet candidate, think about how you can encourage them to “step into their power.” You may discover they’re the top talent you needed.