Five Types of Hiring Managers Who May be Interviewing You, and How to Prepare for Each One

May 2nd, 2012

Interviews can be rattling no matter what kind of personality you face across the table, but a little preparation can allow you keep your nerves in check and stay focused on your qualifications. It may help to know that hiring managers often fall into basic categories based on their management styles and their approach to the interview process. If you recognize a few of these categories, you’ll be less likely to be caught off guard.

The Friendly Type

The friendly interviewer makes it her mission to put you at ease. She’s welcoming and open, she has a warm handshake, she makes steady eye contact, and she smiles in a disarming and easygoing way. Friendliness works well for interviewers because it’s a great way to help candidates overcome their nerves and reveal their true natures. If you face a friendly interviewer, feel free to follow her lead and relax. Enjoy your conversation, and let the interviewer see the honesty and confidence that she’s looking for. But don’t relax too much. Remember to stay professional and focused, and don’t leave without making sure she has a strong sense of your skills and qualifications.

The Rule Book

This interviewer has no intention of wandering from the script. His goal is to follow a specific interview protocol to the letter, and his questions and demeanor may seem rigid, as if he’s checking each question off a list. Some interviewers adopt this style because it standardizes each interview and keeps the process fair for every applicant. Some do it because they’re afraid to go off the script and make mistakes. And some just do it because they’re nervous, like you, and they don’t enjoy high stakes conversations with strangers. Don’t be put off by the Rule Book’s robotic demeanor. But stay honest, and don’t be tempted to respond to scripted, clichéd questions with scripted, clichéd answers.

The Specific Searcher

There’s not much you can do to prepare for an encounter with the specific searcher. This is the interviewer who’s looking for an exact set of character traits or qualities that you simply may or may not have. She could be looking for personality clone of the person who held the position last, or she may have very clear cut ideas about what she wants that may or may not be make sense to you and may be impossible to discern. Don’t try to second guess her or scan for her approval. You’ll only get confused and discouraged. Just be yourself.

The Jerk

In any other venue, you know exactly how to feel when you get caught in a conversation with The Jerk. And if you can, you walk away. But in a job interview, it can be easy to let The Jerk’s rude remarks or bad jokes fluster you. If your interviewer baits you, insults you, demeans you or seems to openly dislike you, stay calm, and remember that an interview goes two ways. This bad behavior may reveal a company culture that you’re better off without. For more helpful tips and interview advice, contact PSU and talk to a job search expert.

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