The Recruitment Underground Blog

Career Skills, Training and Transitions

Reading The Interviewer’s Mind – Part 1

Posted by jamesseetoo on March 25, 2010

Well, I’ll just take it for granted that you’ve been following this blog and might have noticed that I haven’t posted in a few weeks. I’ve been researching a new approach to interviewing and there will be some new perspectives presented in the next few episodes aimed expressly at building your interview strategy by being able to read the interviewer’s mind. Now, this is specifically aimed at giving you the keys to an incredibly powerful interview, not trying to figure out what the interviewer is thinking about the cute server at the local Starbucks. Full details of this system will be introduced in an upcoming ebook (shameless plug).

But getting back to the matter at hand. When you go into an interview, wouldn’t it be valuable to be able to profile the interviewer quickly, to get past the canned questions and answers? I mean, how often have we interviewed with someone who is just reading questions off a list and not really listening to our answers? I know, it’s happened a lot with recruiters on phone interviews but I can guarantee it doesn’t happen with the me so I’ll leave myself out of that category.

Hiring managers and interviewers as a best practice go into an interview with a firm idea of what he/she wants or in other words, a profile.  But as a candidate, you should also be ready to read the interviewer in order to pick the best strategy to communicate with that person.  Now, it’s important to note that one type or profile is not better than another but it’s a way of enhancing the way you communicate with that interviewer.  So here are the first two profiles the Tester and the Investor.

So the first thing we’ll want to do when we meet for an interview is to find out the interviewer’s timeline and that’s where the Tester/Investor profile fits in.

Have you ever had the interview process drag out for weeks or even months? As a recruiter, we find this happens all the time – the Hiring Manager who always believes that there is a better candidate out there and will take forever to make a decision even if he likes all the candidates. The Tester’s not interested in lost opportunity costs even if he has to hold down extra work that should be handled by his team. He’s looking for the perfect candidate, even if he hasn’t nailed down exactly what “perfect” is in his own mind.

On the opposite end, there are some people who will make a quick decision based on not just your skill set but also on your potential for growth. This interviewer is an Investor. The Investor “falls in love” with a candidate and believes that this person will be an invaluable asset regardless of skill set. Now I’m not saying she will view every candidate this way but when the “halo effect” hits, it’s very hard to make her move off her opinion. Usually it’s her boss that will overrule her in that situation making it hard for anyone to get the job.

Now, both the Tester and Investor have good points too. The Tester will become an Investor once you’ve proven that you are the person for the job and the Investor will absolutely offer you opportunities to shine. But there are strategies for communicating with each of these Hiring Managers and we’ll go into these in more detail in the next blog so stay tuned.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

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