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Learn flexi-thinking

Published on Friday, 08 Nov 2013
Kate Harper

While different styles of thinking and communication can create a wonderful team environment, they can also create issues that force professionals to seek new employment earlier than they might have hoped. In my experience, it is often the difference between introverted and extroverted thinking styles that sits at the root of frustrations as East meets West.

Introverted thinkers like breaking down problems and ideas in a manageable forum to figure out exactly how they work. They focus their energy and time on finding the specific point at which a fix can be executed.

Extroverted thinkers prefer to make time to discuss the facts with colleagues and challenge ideas. They develop solutions from this open forum for the issue at hand and wider issues attached.

Different thinking styles can cause disadvantages in a job interview as managers are frequently seen to have a desire - often subconscious - to hire someone like themselves.

An extrovert interviewer can be disappointed with an introvert's responses to questions and think that that person is negative or unable to think out of the box. An introvert interviewer can find extroverts too off point and unable to communicate in detail.

To overcome this problem, you should take the time to understand these differing thinking styles and adopt some questioning techniques that enable you to understand what type of person you are communicating with - though take care, as assuming a type based on stereotyping can also be detrimental. Adapting your answers to convert an interviewer's perception of you will inevitably give you an advantage.

Kate Harper is director of financial services – Hong Kong, ConnectedGroup

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