Your social dynamics are hideously imbalanced

Your social dynamics are skewed

Consider this:

“If you’re more extraverted, you may really have a skewed view of how extraverted other people are in general,” Feiler says. “If you’re very introverted you might actually have a pretty accurate idea.” Feiler and Kleinbaum reached this result by studying the interaction of two key factors in the formation of social networks: first, extraversion causes us to be more social and have more friends; second, we are more likely to become friends with people who are of a similar level of extraversion to ourselves.

For extraverts, the two effects work in concert, causing them to become friends with many more extraverts than introverts. On the other hand, for introverts, these two effects work in opposition, causing them to become friends with both extraverts and introverts. Their networks still display the network extraversion bias, but to a lesser degree.

Stop and think about that for a second.

Extroverts primarily become friends with extroverts, whereas introverts can be friends with both.

Now pause.

Think about a few things we actually know about the hiring process — (1) it would probably be much better if marketing departments could get more introverts, because modern-day marketing is much more about listening than about pushing a message and (2) realistically, introverts should actually be better at networking — and then add this on top.

Introverts have a slightly more balanced social dynamic — i.e. they don’t just spend time around people similar to them — and yet, because most hiring processes are sales and people gravitate a bit more towards an extroverted person, well… this has huge implications for hiring.

Essentially, if you take these data points together, what you’re saying is “It would be better to hire more introverts, or at least have more of a balance, but the hiring system itself isn’t set up in such a way as to do that.”

I can’t even tell you how many absolutely terrible middle managers with hiring manager responsibilities I’ve met over the years. They get a new headcount and, because they’re so drowned in deliverables, they put absolutely no thought into what or who they need. When they meet with HR to discuss the initial steps, they say something like “I need a Type-A hard-charger!” (I’ve heard this bullshit happen.)

People chase extroverts in hiring because most companies are set up around pushing some kind of product, and almost regardless of department, the idea is that someone outgoing and sociable will be better at doing that. The problem is, companies probably shouldn’t even be focusing on that idea anymore.

And the other, much more notable problem?

More introverts probably is a much better balance for how you approach dealing with your customers, and also a little bit easier on the whole promotion situation too; extroverts will be in your face a little quicker about taking that next step. In the modern business world of stagnant earnings, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Ted Bauer

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