4 types of interviewers and how to make them love you

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Private DetectiveEven if you’ve prepared for the standard interview questions and feel ready to ace your job interview, there will be some apprehension as you wait to see what your interviewer will be like. Will he be tough and wait for you to impress him? Will she give you trick questions? Will he throw creative curveballs at you, like asking how many jellybeans are in that jar he’s snacking from?

While every hiring manager and interview will be different, there are some common personalities and experiences you can prepare for in advance. Here are four types of interview personalities and how to make them love you.

1. The Poker Face
This interviewer won’t let you know how the interview is going, and can throw your confidence if you’re not ready for her. While she may not give any emotional or physical cues to indicate if the interview is going well or not, you can still win her over.

Instead of responding based on what you think the interviewer wants to hear, take your time and form your own answers, since you won’t be able to read her reactions anyways. You can impress her by showing your knowledge in the field and how you’ve taken the initiative at work and in your career. And most importantly, remember that you’re interviewing her as well. You can get The Poker Face to open up by asking thoughtful questions about the company, as well as her experience there and what career path this job leads to.

2. The Detective
Bordering between nosy and paranoid, The Detective wants to see proof of every certification or skill you have, as well as track your every move in real life and on social media. While this interview personality may come off too strong, there are ways to turn this snoop into a friend.

First off, listen carefully to each question he poses, and be sure to give complete answers that address his concerns. You’ll be able to pick up clues of your own in his questions, and figure out what the company values and needs. For instance, if he’s pressing for proof that you’ve handled projects on your own, he may need an employee who can take the initiative and be a problem-solver. Also, be ready in advance for The Detective and come to the interview with any materials or technology that will be relevant to the job. If you do forget anything, assure him that you’ll send the information immediately after the interview, and be sure to get his contact info.

3. The Intimidator
Some interviewers get carried away by the power that comes with being an interviewer. Or perhaps they’ve been in the field so long that they’ve forgotten what it feels like to be a newcomer to a company or role. Either way, this interviewer’s going to be tough on you and expect you to prove your qualifications for the job.

Don’t back down under pressure. It’s important that you demonstrate your industry knowledge and what steps you’ve taken to better yourself. You want to make it clear that you can add value to the team and will bring your own strengths. If The Intimidator’s hardly impressed by your accomplishments, there’s still the opportunity to do well in the interview. Express an interest to learn more and point to this company as a clear example of industry leadership. Also ask questions about The Intimidator’s own career and what steps or advice they’d have you follow.

4. The Headless Chicken
This interviewer may not have known he would be meeting with you today, or that he’d be interviewing job candidates at all. Or, The Headless Chicken is extremely unorganized and hasn’t prepared to meet with you. Either way, you may accidentally be the one in charge in this interview.

Even though your interviewer will need some time to get the interview rolling, don’t let this fluster you or dash your hopes of an ace interview. The Headless Chicken  will hand you a lot of the questions and hope that you’ll carry the interview, which works to your advantage. Give complete answers about your background, education and training, areas of expertise, and future career plans. If you have any strengths or bragging points, be sure to work them in, since you may not be given another opportunity. If the interviewer’s erraticism raises red flags, though, listen to your gut. The interview is a chance for you to decide how you feel about the company, too.

No matter who’s interviewing you, remember to show up early and prepared, and be confident in your abilities. When you’re a strong candidate for the job, every interviewer will be interested.

2 Comments
  1. I once had a colleague who, while sweet as can be in real life, would always don the role of “intimidator” during her interviews. When pressed for an explanation, she explained that the role of the first round of interviewing was to make the candidate sweat. If he could hold up, then he’d be selected. My personal style is much softer and I’ve never gone for that kind of interviewing style but beware, they are out there!

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