Your first key to success will rest with your ability to read the person interviewing you and to adapt your behavior to best fit the interviewer's preferences.


Understanding Yourself and the People Interviewing You

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to "read" everyone who interviews you ... and to know, based upon their personality and behavior pattern, the kind of candidate they prefer? Well, our training will help you understand the hiring manager. Even highly successful executives can struggle to remain professional when they are faced with a situation where their own skills and expertise is being evaluated.

We start by helping you gain a good understanding of yourself. This is important because, aside from just identifying the job title and financial goals, career satisfaction is often dependent on accepting a situation in an environment that is right for you.

If you understand your positive and negative traits, you can adjust your communications to best present your strengths during interviews. Second, with an understanding of this profile concept, you can more easily "read" the interviewer, and adjust your behavior to leave the best impression. (That will be the focus of this discussion).

Third, by getting a better understanding of yourself and how you interact and influence others, you will be able to better choose a position and a career environment that will enable you to excel.

Here's how we help. All of us have certain personality and behavioral patterns ... distinct ways in which we think, feel and act. These patterns often remain stable throughout our careers and are reflective of our individual personalities.

Obviously, your ability to communicate effectively will be critical to your job search. To influence the person interviewing you, you will do best if you can match the style of that person.

Everyone's personality can be measured on four scales. How they rank on those scales will determine the people they relate well to ... and those they won't. You and everyone you know have a personality and behavior pattern that is somewhere on the "D" scale ... the "I" scale ... the "S" scale ... and the "C" scale.

Everyone's profile can be viewed in terms of these four dimensions of behavior. Your first key is to understand them, and how others may view you. To enhance your effectiveness, you need to determine which pattern your interviewer falls into, then communicate in that same dimension.

The current profile we use has been completed by more than two million professionals. Its key indicators include Dominance (D); Influence (I); Steadiness (S); and Conscientiousness (C). Here is a simple explanation.

  1. The degree to which you are a high "D" reflects your need to be in control ... your need to direct and dominate. This is opposed to a low "D" ... those who prefer to take a lesser role in the background and be a team player. Someone who is very high on the "D" scale is often demanding, forceful, decisive and competitive. A person low on the "D" scale is often unobtrusive, conservative, modest ... someone who weighs pros and cons.

  2. The degree to which you are a high "I" reflects your need to be involved with people, interacting with them and influencing them. This contrasts with a low "I", where people have a preference for, and work best, alone. Someone who is very high on the "I" scale is often persuasive, enthusiastic and sociable. Those low on the "I" scale are often controlled and more reticent.

  3. The degree to which you are a high "S" reflects your preference for predictable structure ... situations that are stable and steady. This is opposed to a low "S" ... those who prefer environments that offer variety and constant change. Someone who is very high on the "S" scale is often loyal, predictable and patient. Those low on the "S" scale are often change-oriented, restless, and tend to dislike the status quo.

  4. The degree to which you are a high "C" reflects your preference for procedures and order, environments that allow a cautious, systematic and fact-finding approach to problems. This is opposed to a low "C" ... those who prefer environments which allow spontaneous, independent, risk-taking actions. Someone who is very high on the "C" scale is often conventional, accurate and restrained. Those low on the "C" scale are often independent, arbitrary and sometimes defiant.

Naturally, there is no right or wrong here. Where you and your interviewer fit on these scales indicates what is "unique" about both of you. If you are not used to this particular form of personality profiling, this may seem somewhat complex upon first review. Once you are familiar with the concept, it is remarkably easy to use.

Reading Your Interviewer and Adjusting What You Project

Many of our clients have used the principles explained in our profile report to "read" the likely preferences of the individuals who interview them. Since all personality types fit somewhere within the same four scales, our clients who understand and practice this concept are often able to judge where someone sitting on the other side of the table likely fits.

For example, in an interviewing situation, someone who is high on the "D" scale is often, but not always, formal. Their feelings may be unexpressed and they tend to maintain a cool or closed posture. Many top executives are high on the "D" scale. When they question you, their focus will be on "what you did" ... the actions you took ... rather than "why" you took them.

If you identify the interviewer as high on the "D" scale, that person will be looking for someone who is very bottom-line in their orientation. These people prefer others who are brief, to the point, and decisive like they are. They often make hiring decisions quickly, and prefer those who seem efficient and who place a priority on goals and results.

Someone high on the "I" scale can be identified in the interviewing situation. These people are often animated and express their feelings quite readily. They tend to adopt an open posture and are warm by their nature.

When they question you, they will be looking for how you managed people, who you worked with in getting consensus and making your decisions. They will be much less likely to concern themselves with "what" you did, or "why" you did something.

Chances are this person will prefer candidates who are like themselves ... expressive and sociable. They will focus on how interesting you are, and will have less desire to evaluate you in terms of details. They will enjoy testimonials and war stories.

They usually put a priority on people skills and are likely to make hiring decisions based upon emotions or gut feel. This type of person does not relate well to those who give complex explanations, or who prefer to work alone rather than as part of a team.

You can sometimes easily recognize a person who is high on the "S" scale. These people also tend to be relaxed and warm. They too express their feelings and tend to be more casual and open. When they question you, their focus may be on "why" you did something rather than "what" you did. And, they generally appear stable themselves.

Someone with a high "S" is going to be focusing on service to the company. They will be looking for people who project stability and steadiness. You don't want to overpower this type of person or you might offend them. These people often make hiring decisions in a deliberate manner and like to be assured of a person's stability. They dislike people who tend to be unpredictable, or whose opinions might represent any form of conflict.

People who are high on the "C" scale are sometimes less expressive and cool. They will often adopt a closed posture and will be more formal in their questioning. They too will focus on "why you did something" ... trying to analyze your response. During their questioning they usually put a priority on product or service quality and analytical decision-making.

This individual responds best to people who demonstrate they are conscientious, accurate, analytical and fact-finding in their approach to problem solving. This type of person disapproves of people who appear to be disorganized, or who provide unclear explanations when answering questions. They respond to logical approaches and make hiring decisions in an analytical way.

It only stands to reason that if you can get an accurate reading on the person who might be responsible for selecting you over others ... you will be better able to control the situation and project the image in best keeping with their likely preferences.

Remain open-minded and keep your purposes in mind. Start by looking to identify things about yourself that might better be toned down in the interviewing process. At the same time, you will want to look for descriptive phrases you might use to build greater chemistry throughout your interviewing or networking. Take some time to think of people you know. Project how you think they would fit within the four behavioral dimensions.

How Some of Our Clients View The Importance of Reading People

"One of the best parts of your service had to do with refining my skills in the final stages of interviews. Your staff spent a lot of time with me. I became fascinated with the system you teach for reading the interviewer and adapting your behavior. What I gained in the process will be used in all business relationships."

"I am an HR executive with Kellogg, and we sponsor your service for executives we outplace. I don't think you can isolate any one facet of what you do as most beneficial. However, we've had 25 executives visit your national center for presentation of their marketing plans and the materials you write for them. Several have raved about your three-part system for maximizing control and effectiveness in high level interviews. Reading people in interviews is something all executives think they can do routinely, but you have elevated it to another level."

"I have truly lifted my abilities because of the system you use for helping people read other executives. As an aside, I have managed sales forces as large as 3,000 at Sun Microsystems, and I didn't really think you could teach an old dog new tricks ... but you did!"