The Busy. The Friend. The Interrogator. The Newb. How to Prep for Your Interviewer.

Interview advice posts typically focus on the things you should say and do. In fact, we’ve published quite a few ourselves:

Today’s post takes a slightly different approach, because it focuses more on the interviewer’s personality and style. Like potential employees, each interviewer is unique – and approaches the candidate assessment process in a slightly different manner.

However, most interviewers fall into a few basic categories. Before you head into your next job interview, familiarize yourself with these four types – and know how to make a great impression on each:

The busy interviewer.
He’s behind schedule and unprepared for his conversation with you. It appears as though he has too much on his plate, and that taking time out for this interview was a major inconvenience.

To make a great impression: Don’t let his lack of composure rattle you. Take a deep breath and stay calm. If you’re respectful and even-keeled, your attitude will allow your interviewer to regain his poise (which will create a better experience for both of you).

The friend.
This guy may appear chatty and outgoing, but make no mistake – he wants you to let your guard down and speak as freely as he does, so he can find out what type of person you really are.

To make a great impression: Listen to what he says and provide responses which show you’re paying attention. But although you may feel instantly at ease with this type of interviewer, be sure to always respond in a professional manner.

The interrogator.
This type of interviewer is clearly on the opposite end of the spectrum. He typically skips the small talk and starts in with rapid-fire questions. His goal? To intimidate you, make you nervous and throw you off your game.

To make a great impression: As with the busy interviewer, try to slow things down and maintain your composure. Make an appropriate amount of eye contact to convey confidence, and take your time with responses – always thinking before you speak. Most importantly, get to the point quickly. Provide pertinent information only, and then let this type of interviewer probe further if he wishes.

The newb.
Every interviewer has to have a “first,” and it’s abundantly clear that you’re it for him. Whether he’s new to the company or new to interviewing, this individual is uncomfortable – or unfamiliar – with the process, and it shows. He may appear nervous or inadequately prepared to lead the discussion.

How to make a great impression: Make it as easy as possible for this type of interviewer, by providing thorough, complete responses. He may not know enough to probe thoroughly, so be sure you state everything you want him to know about your experience, your qualifications, and the reasons you’re the best choice for the job.

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