During all of my corporate working years, my subordinates and associates heard me say, “Nobody impresses me the first 60 days on the job.” I must have said that dozens of times because I truly believe the thought. Basically, via that sentence I was expressing the concept that the impression one makes in the job interview doesn’t always pan out in real life on the job after, say, 60 days, once reality begins to set in. At times, the real person appears to be very different from the one that made certain impressions during the interview process.
I am a career coach focusing on the specialty of the interviewing process. I teach clients by practicing mock interviews with them so they can become appealing to cadres of interviewers. Those interviewers of course have various personalities and wide-ranging needs, and a candidate that is one size fits all will not fare well without being able to assess and then adapt to the interviewer’s style and interests. For example, the interests of the hiring manager are different from (1) those of the human resources interviewer and (2) those of potential future peers and (3) those of the hiring manager’s own supervisor.
How Can You Find Out the Style of the Interviewer?
Many of us have developed through the years an intuition for assessing people we talk with. Some of us are better at such assessment than others, and some of us are not so good at it. For those who feel challenged in this area, I prepared a short video, which is available via my LinkedIn profile under the Summary section. In the video, I describe four types of people who conduct interviews. Of course, no one type is pure, with only one type of personality; we each have in us a combination of personalities, but most of us have a dominant personality. Once you read the person interviewing you, the learned adaptation should come automatically. For example, if the interviewer is an executive interested only in brevity and the bottom line, then a candidate’s long-windedness is a prescription for failure. If the interviewer is the friendly type, feels talkative, and likes working in teams with others and a job candidate is too brief or focuses exclusively on self, that would not work out either.
Can You Emulate a Chameleon?
Please don’t misunderstand my intention. I am certainly not one who admires an insincere or fake personality. For me that would be an instant turnoff. But my suggestion for you is to learn how to change your communication style so as to adapt to or accommodate a variety of people and situations. In other words, a story can be told by emphasizing extensive and minute details in order to be thorough, or it can be summarized briefly and get quickly to the punch line. So, open your eyes and ears early into the interview, make an assessment of the person sitting on the other side of the desk, and respond in that interviewer’s style. This interviewing skill will bring you much closer to being liked—and hopefully, to receiving the job offer.
by Alex Freund