Even if you've prepared your job interview answers to the tee, you need to prepare how to adapt to your interviewers' unique personality too.
Career advice prepares us for job interviews so that we may perfect our performance on the day and in that hour. We are told to know how to answer and also what to ask; what to wear and how to control our body language; how to prepare before the interview and the correct steps to follow after the interview.
But while we’re focussed on our own behaviour, we too need to prepare for the interviewer’s behaviour. Contrary to popular belief, all interviewers are not the same. Believe it or not but they’re human too, fitted with a unique personality, influenced by external stresses and pleasures, and suited to get along with certain types of people just like you are. It is up to you as the job seeker to ensure that the interviewer likes who and how you are.
Look out for these two types of interviewers specifically:
This interviewer tries to make you feel as comfortable as possible. This could be because she can see you’re nervous, she wants to get to know the real you, or she’s trying to let you know how you'd fit into their company culture.
To do this they will interact with you in a more conversational manner, crack a few jokes and offer approving interjections and encouragements after each of your answers. In fact, this interviewer is more like a cheerleader holding your hand through this live hour-long nerve-wrecking routine.
While it sounds like a dream interview, you'll have to be careful not to turn your professionalism off. A good rule of thumb is to always stay one professional notch ahead of your interviewer. Don't let your guard down. It's never okay to reveal intimate details about your frat party weekends, how you wish you could wear pyjamas to work, or declare your love of swearing and hating judgemental jerk who smaaks to cramp your vibe ‘n style, yo.
Reel it in and maintain composure at all times!
This interviewer is known to pitch when you have a really impressive CV. With all your amazing achievements, team wins and above average scores, you know and they know you’re quite the force to be reckoned with.
But this emotionless RoboCop is not going to show it.
When you give your ‘I save the day everyday’ speech and tell your ‘people wonder how I did it‘ story, you’re met with a blank emotionless unimpressed face. Not receiving the ‘wow’ or the usual resounding applause follow-up you were expecting can throw you off your game completely. But don’t let it. It is your job to prove to RoboCop that you can handle not being the only winner in a team, that you know how to react when met with criticism, and that you’re able to excel in an unfamiliar and unexpected situation.
The not-so surprising thing about having an opportunity to join an amazing team is that everyone is amazing and you’re merely one of the amazing people within the amazing team. That’s why it’s important to, when confronted with an interview like this, that you elevate your Emotional Intelligence and soft skills. This will show the interviewer that you’re always professional, a pleasant employee, and excel in all things team. Because they already know you’ve got hard skills and the world's smarts, but they want to make you uncomfortable to ascertain whether you’ll fit the company’s culture.
Show humility, be honest and transparent. It’s how you recover from exposing your vulnerabilities that’ll get you hired.