Four Types of Interviewers: How to Prepare
The job interview process can be challenging no matter what kind of personality you face across the desk. But certain approaches to the process and certain conversational styles can sometimes catch a candidate off guard and make the situation more difficult than it has to be. Here are a few interview styles you may want to be prepared for:
- The friendly interviewer:
A friendly face and warm personality can be a welcome sight to a nervous candidate. And these traits are certainly not a bad thing. Go ahead and accept the interviewer’s kind overtures, but don’t get so comfortable that you lose sight of why you’re there. Enjoy the conversation, but stay professional. Don’t forget to monitor what you say and how you say it.
2. The distracted interviewer:
A distracted, disinterested interviewer may suggest a person who won’t be playing a crucial role in the decision process. She may be asked to chime in, but she won’t be asked for details, so she isn’t really listening as you talk and she keeps turning back to her computer screen. Don’t take her demeanor personally. And don’t follow her lead by checking out yourself. Stay interested and upbeat, and ask polite, relevant questions when the conversation lulls.
3. Mr. Protocol:
This interviewer just wants to follow the rules and move through this ritual like a person reading a script in a play. Expect him to stay rigidly on track and ask very standard questions about your strengths and weaknesses. Follow along and play your part (the “qualified applicant” role). But stay honest. His questions may be scripted, but try not to answer them with tired clichés. If you cite “perfectionist tendencies” as a weakness, neither of you will learn anything about the other and the process won’t be very useful.
4. The Jerk:
If your interviewer is especially difficult to have a conversation with, or if he tells annoying jokes, makes attempts at brutal honesty, behaves in a socially off-putting way, or seems to be deliberately making you uncomfortable in order to test you, stay calm and polite. Be true to who you are. Realize that this behavior may reflect the culture of the company and that you may be working closely with this person if you accept the job. Know a red flag when you see one.