This year, I read an interesting article that said insights teams should focus their hiring efforts on candidates who are extroverted. Introverts were painted as wallflowers that need not apply to market research and insights positions. Meanwhile, extroverts were highly sought after because companies needed people who were engaging communicators, persuasive sales people, and compelling storytellers.
I would argue, introverts and extroverts are both capable of having these important qualities, and each have their own strengths and weaknesses. One trait should not be discouraged over the other, especially when someone who has a balance of extroverted and introverted qualities is valuable. When hiring for your insights team, it’s important to remember that human traits are not always black and white, employee’s do not always fit into one box or the other, and one trait is not necessarily better than the other. Consider looking for candidates who have unique pairings of traits.
What is a Unique Pairing?
This term originated from Matthew Hussey, a relationship expert, but can be useful when hiring professionals to your insights team. A unique pairing is when someone has two qualities that you do not normally find in the same person or when someone possesses two traits that do not necessarily fall on the same side of the spectrum. For example, if you are usually strong and independent you can also show that you can be vulnerable and ask for help when needed. If you are talkative and outgoing you need to also show that you can be quiet and listen effectively to others. If you are serious you also need to show that you can be laid-back and relaxed. Ideally, an individual would sit in the middle of two opposite traits and have a balance of both. This person is able assess situations and move toward either side of the spectrum as necessary.
Candidates with unique pairings of traits can be valuable team members on an insights team. In any given situation, these individuals adapt and exhibit the traits necessary to succeed. If they need to give a killer presentation that uses data to tell a story, they may tap into their more extroverted side. If they need to design a creative research study for a client, they may tap into their more introverted side so they can brainstorm and think deeply about the study. To recruit an all-star insights team, try finding candidates who can adapt to situations with their unique pairings of traits.