The ‘Thinking vs. Feeling’ (T vs. F) dichotomy is an interesting one, as it’s all about how we make decisions. Thinking types (Ts) make decisions with their head: logical, factual, and more direct. Feeling types (Fs) make decisions with their heart: based on their values, feelings of people (including themselves) and emotion. This does however lead to a few very common misconceptions:
The charismatic, enigmatic, introvert
An analysis of Gatsby reveals one of the most charismatic characters but we only truly learn about him as the story unfolds. His charisma shines even before anyone knows or has even met him, enigmatic and difficult to know. In retrospect that author describes him this way: “If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.”
“Where’s my… oh there it is” is a common phrase for the extravert. They say things as they think them and they need to talk through their thoughts to make sense of them. The upside is you’ll know the context, what’s happening, why they think things, how they got to their decisions. The downside is you’ll know and experience all the mind-changes and irrelevances too; like that they momentarily misplaced… something (they never finished that sentence)! If they are extravert ‘N’ they will go through their future ideas and plans, if they are extravert ‘S’ they will take you through the details.
Being an Introvert in an interview doesn’t put you at any sort of disadvantage, but there may be a few areas where you could focus, especially if you’re shy, find it difficult sparking conversation, or just find the interview process daunting. We’ve seen a lot of press lately around Introverts and how they should jump in more, get in with the crowd and generally try and act more ‘Extraverted’, but actually there’s an upside to being a natural ‘listener’ rather than a natural ‘talker’. So here are some key areas which we think highlight the value of being an Introvert in a job interview.
The Sensing vs Intuitive dichotomy is an interesting one. It is all about how we experience the world and how we take in information. This is further determined by whether we are Extravert, in which case we orientate to the outside world, or Introvert, in which case we orientate towards our own inner world.
A really good example of this is in the lyrics of the Beatles’ ‘double A’ side single from 1967. On one side is the Lennon composed ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and on the other McCartney’s ‘Penny Lane.’ In the early days Lennon and McCartney wrote songs together but by the mid-1960s they were writing separately. And this ‘single’ represents their individual, very different character types extremely well.
The interview with Oprah seems to highlight Lance Armstrong’s INTJ type, the scientific, non-relational nature of his statements, the way he drills deep and the way he constructs his reality. Oprah begins with three short, binary, convergent questions which elicit similar responses:
Q. Did you ever take banned substances to enhance cycling performance? A. Yes Q. Was one of those substances EPO? A. Yes. Q. Did you use any other banned substances? A. Yes
She then asks a more penetrating, divergent question:
OW: Was it possible to win without doping?
Lance Armstrong is almost surprised by such a question coming up so early, yet his answer has a hard-edged honesty which is focused in an ‘N’ like way, far more broadly placing him in the context of the sport and the time.
Susan Cain - the voice of the introvert
Susan Cain makes some hugely important points in her TED Talk, a long overdue defence of the introvert, the roles they can play and the value they can add within business and society. Her basic premise is that as society we are attuned to the voice of the extravert and value noise over quiet. So many of the ‘self-help’ books and websites almost view introversion as a ‘condition’ and that ‘the introvert’ has to work hard and learn to be an extravert.