Introvert or Extrovert: Which One Is a Better Employee?

Introvert or extrovert are two different types of personalities that people are often labeled. An introvert is a person that is many times believed to be quiet or shy while an extrovert is regularly seen as someone who is outgoing. Although these two different traits are viewed in the simplest terms of one being very sociable and the other viewed as somewhat withdrawn, there really is more to these different qualities.

Employers interview people to get a feeling of their strengths and weaknesses. Also, companies look to hire people that have the background and experience for a job. However, do employers seek out either an introvert or extrovert in their hiring process? Do more employers see either one as being better than the other?

Looking at introverts compared to extroverts in the workplace I wanted to see if most employers have a preference of one over the other. Conclusive confirmation over what most hiring managers prefer was very challenging to find. However, I did find some key information that tends to show introverts often have a more challenging time in the workplace.

The success of an introvert or extrovert in the workplace is not only on having one type of trait over the other, but it also can depend on the employer and career. For both introverts and extroverts, there does appear to be certain fields of work that can be better suited to one or the other.

To understand introvert vs extrovert in the workplace it is first important to identify how each of them is defined.

Introvert

An introvert is generally someone that most people would define as being quiet, shy, and reserved. Although this can be true, there really is more to the behavior of introverts. With their quiet personality introverts also, many times come across as not being social or friendly. These more common definitions that are often used for introverts is how many employers view them. Yet, an introvert can have both positive and negatives when it comes to the workplace.

Introvert Positives

  • Good observers
  • Often no need for reinforcement
  • Tend to be self-starters
  • Risks are more likely calculated
  • Don’t need approval from others
  • Good listeners
  • Detail-oriented
  • Like to take charge in situations that require fact-based resolutions
  • Dependable and cautious
  • Steady and reliable

Introvert Negatives

  • Often prefer to work alone. This can be a negative for organizations that rely on teams
  • Social events can be uncomfortable
  • Might ignore others
  • Not a risk taker at times
  • Don’t enjoy group events
  • Can be difficult to compromise
  • Might be critical of other co-workers
  • Hard work is easily forgotten
  • Can appear to not be motivated
  • Possibly overthink a situation

The list provided is not every characteristic introvert’s are given in the workplace. There can be many more. However, introvert attributes do appear to be many times looked at more negatively than in a positive outlook when it comes to numerous employers.

Extrovert

Someone that is defined as an extrovert is seen as social and outgoing. They like to be around people and are comfortable in larger groups compared to an introvert. Also, extroverts are labeled as confident and upbeat.

Just like an introvert there can be pros and cons to the extrovert in the workplace.

Extrovert Positives

  • Tend to like team projects
  • Comfortable in groups and social gatherings
  • Enjoy the spotlight
  • Straightforward and seen as charismatic
  • Likely to take charge
  • Energized by being around others
  • People person
  • Known for being friendly and persuasive
  • Like to be active
  • Appear to be energetic and motivated

Extrovert Negatives

  • Might struggle to complete projects
  • Hard time making analytical judgements not based on emotion
  • Can get lonely
  • Can appear to be harsh or aggressive
  • May be inconsiderate
  • Sometimes their judgement might not be the best
  • Validation from others might be important
  • Can appear arrogant
  • Too intense at times
  • Might not give credit to others when due

Introvert and Extrovert Definitions Are Not Set in Stone

Far too often a person is identified as being either an introvert or extrovert. Although there are qualities of each that can put someone more on the spectrum of one over the other, most people are not one extreme or the other. Both introverts and extroverts can have characteristics from either side.

Introverts and Extroverts: Both can have traits from either side.

There is also the term “ambivert”, which is someone who shows qualities of being both an introvert and extrovert. These people can often change from one or the other depending on their mood or the situation.

The problem with being identified as either an introvert or extrovert is the generalities are most often used. Largely extroverts are seen as outgoing and introverts as shy. This isn’t always exactly the case. The real definition of either being an introvert or extrovert has more to do with how a person recharges.

Because extroverts enjoy social gatherings and big groups of people, they tend to do things in their time away from work that involves being around others. Introvert’s many times prefer being alone or with few numbers of people to unwind.

True introverts or extroverts really do not exist. People just generally fall to one side of the spectrum more than another.

Do Employers Prefer Introverts or Extroverts?

It should not come as a surprise that commonly extroverts have an edge in the workplace. This is due to society in general looking more favorably at extroverts and it starts at a young age. From required class presentations in school to the obligations for attending certain social gatherings, extroverts are routinely rewarded at a young age while introverts are told they are too quiet and shy.

Employers hire both introverts and extroverts. They are not generally looking for one or the other, but who is the best qualified for a position with the most experience at the best price. Some employers have been known to give personality type tests. But an introvert that has a proven track record of success would likely be hired for a job that might even prefer an extrovert.

Introvert Discrimination

Employers don’t generally hire solely based on a potential candidate being either an introvert or extrovert. However, they do discriminate against introverts many times in the workplace. This is more often accomplished unintentionally, but sometimes it is even done more deliberately.

The truth is introverts can have social skills as good or better than an extrovert. Yet, commonly the extrovert is viewed as a better employee because they tend to be seen more regularly. A worker with an extrovert personality will likely talk more about what they are working on and how busy they might be. Furthermore, extroverts are plainly better at schmoozing managers and co-workers.

The problem with introverts and extroverts in the workplace is not that one is better than the other all the time. The real issue is with an employer recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of both. Because society tends to historically favor an extrovert from a young age, this is time and again carried over into the workplace.

Introverts commonly work with great attention to detail while being dependable. They do a great job and are not routinely recognized at the same rate as an extrovert within a lot of companies. Extroverts are consistently rewarded in most workplaces for being assertive, outgoing, and confident. Even though recognition for extroverts is sometimes due, it happens more for this type of personality. Recognition and reward for extroverts even occurs when their assertiveness and confidence is confused for arrogance and narcissism.

Certain Positions for Introverts and Extroverts

Employers will look for the most qualified job candidate at the best price. It really doesn’t matter if that person leans to one side or the other on the introvert or extrovert spectrum. However, there are certain careers that do tend to favor a worker that has more traits in each.

Introverts might prefer job roles where they are independent, creative and can make decisions based on thorough research. An extrovert might prefer something like a sales job interacting with a lot of people or presenting to large groups.

Although employers will likely hire based on the most qualified, this doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t initially look for a job candidate that falls more on one side or the other in personality of introvert or extrovert. An employer might look for signs in an interview of certain characteristics and these will probably lean more to the extrovert due to the perceived advantages of this personality type and bias society has.

Is an Introvert or Extrovert Better in the Workplace?

Answering the definitive question of an introvert or extrovert being a better employee isn’t easy. It just depends on the employer and potential job candidate. Yet, the truth is employers should recognize the value both an introvert and extrovert can bring to an organization. Both are realistically important to the success of a company because each of them brings strengths and weaknesses.

Successful companies know the importance of different working styles and personalities. They know how diverse backgrounds and qualities can only add to the accomplishment of organizational goals.

Hiring introverts and extroverts is fundamental to a company and its success. The problem is not all companies and hiring managers yet realize the importance of both personality types. This is partly due to the established bias to introverts starting at a young age.

Final Word

There really is no concrete evidence on either an introvert or extrovert being a better employee. The reasons for this are partly because defining a true introvert or extrovert can be a challenge. Most people fall somewhere in between having slightly more attributes of one over the other.

The label of being an introvert or extrovert is not set in stone. Both introverts and extroverts can be successful. For introverts it’s not a question of an extrovert being any better in the workplace, but finding an employer that values the strengths both introverts and extroverts bring.

If you are an introvert, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you are not an extrovert. From an early age introverts are often told they are not good enough or don’t have the right personality to be successful at something, this is not always the case.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, follow your dreams. Don’t let someone else tell you your personality is not right for the job. The qualities you have are who you are and they don’t need to be changed to make someone else happy. There are terrible employees that are introverts and ones that are also extroverts. Certain personality traits don’t always make the best person or employee, but their overall character is usually the best judgement.

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