Sizing Up Your Interviewer in 60 Seconds

Posted by Maria Spinella on June 16, 2011
Sizing Up Your Interviewer in 60 Seconds

Knowing who you're talking to is half the battle. Interviewing consultant Anne Warfield has coached candidates to tailor their pitch to recruiters' personalities. Here, she divulges how to identify the four most common types of interviewers-and how to position yourself for each one.

The Analyzer
How to spot him: A Carter-administration-era tie. He walks through your resumé to make sure every month is accounted for.
What matters to him: The way he sees it, your memory of the details of your high school and college career is a measure of the care with which you'll do this job.
Winning move: Include at least one number-a stat, a date-in each answer. Speak slowly.
Losing move: Joking around or spilling personal information.

The Networker
How to spot her: She charges into the room, probably late, chattering away. She dresses boldly-a bright shirt or trendy glasses.  
What matters to her: That you hear and remember every word she says.
Winning move: The Networker interrupts you, so keep your answers short. Show energy and enthusiasm.
Losing move: Offering detailed explanations of the minutiae of your academic career.

The Producer
How to spot him: He makes intense eye contact, shakes firmly, and grills you like a West Point drill sergeant. Brooks Brothers all the way.
What matters to him: Your understanding of hierarchy and power-especially his.
Winning move: Play it straight. Answer questions directly, with one or two supporting facts, and move on.
Losing move: Digressing or equivocating. The Producer hates wasting time.

The Connector
How to spot her: A relaxed gait and a warm smile. She falls all over herself offering water or coffee and trying to make you comfortable.
What matters to her: Whether or not you'll click with others in the department.
Winning move: Focus on your ability to work with a team. She wants to hear "we," not "I."
Losing move: Bragging. And don't talk about "confronting" a problem or "aggressively" seeking a solution.

MBA Jungle, Feb./March 2007

About the Author