I recently came across a very interesting study about mothers’ ideas of the ideal child. They were asked to identify the characteristics they most hoped to see in their children as they grew up. The results were very interesting:
- Over 50% of the mothers wanted their children to grow up to be extraverts – active, cheerful, outgoing types.
- A further 20% wanted their children to grow up to be agreeable – easy to get along with, likeable and not angry.
- Less than 10% of mothers rated intelligence or conscientiousness as the most desirable characteristics.
Whatever the mothers were thinking of it was clearly not the career future of their children because conscientiousness and cognitive ability can be shown in combination to be two of the best predictors of work outcomes and career success ever identified.
Introverts could be forgiven for believing that this is an extraverts’ world and certainly the dominant recruitment method – the interview – is an institutionalised method of discrimination against them. Extraverts are regularly rated as being smarter and better candidates in interviews than introverts, even when it is not true.
Of course, the world needs extraverts and a workplace with none of these is much less likely to be successful. But the same should be said of introverts. Psych testing is a more objective way of identifying the strengths of potential candidates and avoiding the “extravert bias” which is so common in everyday life.