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Pre-Meeting Prep: The Five Types of Interviewers

Not everyone interviews with the same format, passion, process, and questions. Some interviewers have a few old standards they like to follow, while others take their own path, especially the entrepreneurs. There are different types of interviewers, and with some forethought, you can be prepared to interview successfully, no matter which type you encounter.

Keep in mind that an interviewer’s personality and their style make a difference in the outcome. For example, a hotel front-desk clerk learns quickly to read a person’s personality as she approaches the desk. This is key to customer service because the clerk quickly adapts in order to meet the needs of that customer. A food server listens carefully to a table of guests to assess the mood and friendliness of each person or the group so she can understand how to provide them with excellent service.

Take caution, though: if you misread the personality of the interviewer, you might make some mistakes that could cause you to not move further in the hiring process. Here we share the most common types of interviewers to help you make your own first impression–style assessment, which can arm you with what you need to position yourself in the interview. These are just some simple rules to follow allowing you to be more comfortable at the onset of the interview.

1. The Non-Stop Talker
You know the type—he talks more than he asks questions. This sometimes presents a vulnerable situation whereby the interviewer chats personally and sucks you into feeling comfortable enough to move with the conversation. This might lead you to state some information that you might not want to reveal during an interview. Be polite and respond with friendliness as the interviewer will appreciate this quality. Carefully listen to the questions and respond in a professional manner. Wait for those opportunities to ask pertinent questions relative to the position or the company. It shows your interest in what the interviewer has to say and allows him to continue with his chatter.

2. The Drill Sergeant
Opposite of the chatter is the interviewer who maintains domination over the conversation by firing off a list of questions in a monotone voice. This might be a bit intimidating but her goal might be to do just that: make you nervous. Maintain your eye contact with strong earnest, remain calm and confident, look for ways to return some questions, and provide solid answers without adding chatter. Stick to the pertinent information and be ready for the continued drill.

3. The Traditionalist
This style of interviewing is somewhat predictable as the interview tends to follow a script or specific list of questions. This interviewer wants to be objective and neutral, or isn’t comfortable with the interviewing process. Allow him to remain in his comfort zone by sticking with the routine. Again, listen for opportunities to ask questions about the position or the company—subject matter that the interviewer is knowledgeable about and willing to discuss.

4. The Newbie
Everyone has to start somewhere, and encountering an ill-prepared or inexperienced interviewer can be a bit tricky. She may be new to the company or new to the hiring process but you don’t want to take over the conversation and leave her uncomfortable. Stay on course with the planned points and try not to ask questions that you already know she won’t have answers for. However, it is your interview and if she’s unable to provide enough information for your own comfort level, then perhaps ask if there’s another person with whom you could schedule a discussion.

5. The Inappropriate Interviewer
Not too often (fortunately), there are the interviewers who inappropriately ask questions. If you encounter someone who steps out of bounds, making you uncomfortable, try to redirect the discussion back to a professional path. This shows the interviewer that you prefer to maintain the discussion around job- or company-related subject matter. If his line of questioning persists, it’s best to thank him for his time and conclude the discussion.

Almost all interviewers fit into one of the five categories already discussed here, but there may be an occasion where someone fits outside these five types. It’s unlikely, however, if this happens just try patterning some of your interviewer’s behaviors and speech. Some hiring managers like people who remind them of themselves. In other words, adapt to their style.

Originally published on New Grad Life