Over the course of Half Term, I was interested to read an article by Tim Dowling in the Guardian
Over the course of Half Term, I was interested to read an article by Tim Dowling in the Guardian about a study by the Resurgo Trust, a charity that helps disadvantaged young people find employment. Their findings revealed that prospective candidates are often judged by the quality of their ‘small talk’. Evidently, the first 12 words we speak – from our greeting upon reception and the interview room – can make all the difference to our success at interview!
I am very firm in my opinion that whilst it may be true that a facility for ‘small talk’ can impress an interviewer initially, true strength of character is not always found on the surface. It is important to listen to a quietly thoughtful character as much as to the chatty, outgoing candidate. I certainly look for this throughout our interview process at Invicta and in talking to our students too. So often, it is our quiet students who have a great deal to offer and a critical aspect of our role, is to ensure that we provide the security, stimulus and environment to enable our ‘quiet’ students to talk – to really get to know them.
Susan Cain, author of a book called, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, argues that in the West, where the ideal of the extrovert is celebrated, we hugely undervalue the strengths of introverted people. She refers to research demonstrating that introversion is both common and normal and points out that many of the world’s most creative people and effective leaders were introverts. It made me think about the different personalities that we have at school – in our staff and students. Yes, we are all different and yet, we all have so much to contribute and offer – even the quiet ones!
What is to be learned, in my view, is the importance of listening to everyone as an individual - to appreciate different temperaments. It is always a privilege to work with bright, talented girls and it is a real joy to know that they are all very different in their approach and commitment to their studies. This week, I look forward to seeing how both our more vocal and quieter students in Year 10 are doing at their Consultation Evening and I shall relish talking to them on an individual basis – not ‘small talk’ but an absolute interest in what everyone has to offer!