The Best Way To Approach Different Interview Styles

If you’ve spent time preparing for job interviews, you’ve probably discovered that there are different types of interviews – informal, structural, behavioral, panel. What you may not have considered is that there are different types of interviewers.

Your interviewer’s personality and style both play bigger roles in determining the outcome of an interview than you might think. If you misread the personality of the hiring manager, you could miss out on the job.

So without further ado, here are 5 common types of interviewers-—and how to handle them.

The Chatty One
You might feel relieved if you encounter a friendly, gregarious interviewer, but don’t let this type lull you into letting your guard down. Respond with warmth and friendliness, as these qualities are appreciated by the chatty type, but don’t go over the line into unprofessional. You may not get to volunteer important information about yourself, but your best bet is just to engage actively in the conversation and answer skillfully when and if you are asked a question.

The Interrogator
This type of interviewer seems better suited to a career in law enforcement. They tend to fire off questions rapidly, often in an intimidating tone and manner. Maintain your composure – The Interrogator may be trying to see if you are easily flustered. Try to slow the pace of the interview by taking the time to think about your responses and answering in even, calm tones. And be pleasant, but don’t be overly sociable.

The By-The-Books Interviewer
Though not as harsh as the interrogation expert, the by-the-books interviewer tries to stick as closely as possible to a preexisting interview script. This may be because she wants to remain as objective as possible, or it may indicate that she’s uncomfortable. Don’t derail the interview by deviating sharply from the pace she set. This may force her out of her comfort zone and leave a bad impression.

The Inexperienced or Unprepared One
You might assume that all hiring managers are professional and experienced. You’d be wrong. You might find yourself being interviewed by someone who is new to the company or new to hiring, and who doesn’t really know what they’re doing. Don’t let yourself be thrown off message! Stick to your planned talking points and maintain your professionalism. If your interviewer repeatedly states that he can’t answer your questions, you may want to check afterward to see if there is anyone else with whom you could schedule a discussion or tour.

The Nosy One
There are interviewers who will step over the bounds of propriety when meeting with potential hires. If an interviewer repeatedly asks you questions that you feel are inappropriate or make you uncomfortable, first try to redirect, stating that you’d prefer to stick to standard work-related topics. If the interviewer persists with this line of questioning, it’s best to conclude the interview politely but firmly.

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