Summarizing my findings, presents, five well- identified interview styles so that next time you are escorted into the interview room you can identify them quickly and react in a way that helps you stand out in a good way-
Style 1. The Careful - This style is found in people who are new to interviewing, are below your level or will be reporting into the role you for which you are interviewing. They show their careful quality by asking really simple questions. Almost apologetic.
Here is an opportunity- To lead the interview and to create raving fans within the interview team. Because “the careful” want to do a good job. But they also are nervous about asking tough questions to their future boss.
So ask them of yourself . One successful technique might be “You might be wondering how I like to lead a team. What I am like to work for”. And then it would give you a feeling like” you were interviewing yourself”. Asking questions that lead to the real concerns that could be answered with ease. And you become more confident as the interview progressed. Feels good?
Style 2. The Brash – Brash is often associated with “young”. And sometimes that is true. Sometimes it is also just someone who feels that being on the interview team gives them the ability to be especially confident. These can be a bit tricky.
Few of my volunteers for the my book interview stated “The last time I interviewed, I was introduced to a person who would be my direct report in the role. He happened to be young. Just a few years out of school. Very smart I could tell. He hit me with question after question. Biting. Almost smirky smile.
I marveled how he could do this to a potential future boss. No fear of ramifications? My strategy with him was to respond with strength and detail. As best I could without playing the “future boss” card. Because I wasn’t yet. And I think that this person wants to see strength in return. A tip I gave myself, oil your conflict resolution strategies, this employee could have the potential to be difficult also to his colleagues ! and thank your stars if there aren’t any complaints waiting for you to tackle them. However, train yourself not to be biased or prejudiced.
Style 3. The Unprepared – Sometimes people get busy the day before or the day of an interview. They may have just been added to the interview team. Or maybe they are just unprepared. They walk in late, can’t find your resume, need time to clean their desk. And finally after a few minutes look up and say “OK, let’s hear about you”.
To their defense, most companies are really bad about preparing their teams (circulating resumes, sharing a job description, and identifying specific hiring objectives). But interviewing is one of the most important roles you can are asked to play. The right new hire is crucial. So the good ones prepare on their own. Interviewing with this group is an opportunity. For you to lead the charge by asking great questions, sharing situations in which you had a big impact and leaving the interviewer feeling like they did a pretty good job. Despite their lack of preparation.
Style 4. The Talker – Some interviewers just like to hear themselves talk. And some really want you to understand the complexities of their product line, industry, department, etc. But it can be a challenge to communicate your unique value when the interviewer seems to be honing their own. I’ve fallen into this trap before as an interviewer when the position is new to our company or when it is early in the interview process. Sometimes those first few interviews are an opportunity for the hiring manager to sound out a few new responsibilities for the position. But a few minutes can last longer if the candidate seems happy to just sit there and listen.
A mutually beneficial process here might be, is to engage the interviewer. To interrupt the flow after a few minutes and ask a question that shows you are listening. But that also allows you to share something about yourself. Something that shows you appreciate the complexity the interviewer is trying to get across. Very few people do this. They are afraid of interrupting.
Style 5. The Heroic - A cousin of the talker, the heroic spends the first 15 minutes introducing you to the strengths of their company and their department. Oh, and they like their own work pretty well too. They will tend to set the bar extremely high for new employees. Both in terms of your dedication and your weekly hours (i.e. “everyone here works 50+ hours because we believe in the cause”).
Now your job is to determine if you believe in it. Because if 50+ is really 60+, you need to decide whether that really fits into your life’s plan.
This style is designed to weed people out. People who aren’t dedicated. People who will complain at the first sign of overtime. While it is hard to get past the bravado, usually a few good questions can help you determine whether this is a place you’d like to work (a great, hard working, close-knit team) or a sweat shop.
Research, research, research well about the company, people, culture, financial strength, HR processes WELL before accepting the offer.
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