In the first part of this article, we analyzed the four typical characters that you may find in an interview room. These interview room personalities all have slightly different agendas and perspectives, and each requires a slightly different communication strategy. Below, you can find the next four interview room characters you should be ready for:
1. HR Managers
HR managers are an entirely different breed from both agency and corporate recruiters. They are much more involved with employees from the start to the end of the employee lifecycle and have their own opinions on the ideal candidate. They often have the biggest influence on the hiring manager’s decision. They tend to have much more discretionary power than recruiters to refer wildcard candidates.
To impress HR managers, you’ll need to show that you can work well in a team; that you have a great attitude and excellent communication skills; and that you are engaged with the company mission and culture. They’ll most likely be less interested in the nitty-gritty details of the actual job, so you’ll need to focus on describing your performance in the job in a topline/headline way that a layman can understand — e.g., “95 percent of projects on time and to specification.”
2. Hiring Managers
They’ll want to really know that you can get the job done, that you’ll work well with them, that you’ll integrate well into the team, and that you have a great positive attitude. Make sure that you demonstrate enthusiasm and energy. Spend time inquiring about their management style and team culture, and show them how you can perform well within the operating structure of their team. If you share similar interests or hobbies, now is the time to mention them: studies show that, rightly or wrongly, these shared outside interests have a strong positive bearing on your application.
Peer interviewing — being interviewed by future team members — is becoming increasingly popular. You’ll most likely be more relaxed in this kind of interview and more likely to drop your guard. Focus here on building social affinity with team members and be curious and congratulatory about their work, telling them about the kind of work you do and which of their projects most excite you. Try and show them how you feel that you could complement their team — e.g., do you have a unique skill you could share with them? Also let them know what you think you could learn from them.
It’s not unusual to find would-be clients of the candidate/future employee in the interview room. These would typically be internal clients, but don’t be surprised to see the odd external client. It could basically be anyone that you have a dotted line report to or have a service-provider relationship with.
Clients are less concerned with your all-round job skills. They want to know your service-level ethos and your ability to deliver the product/service to the service levels they are accustomed to. Spend plenty of time inquiring about their service-level expectations and communicating your service-level ethos, attitude, and practices to assure them that you will be a great service provider.
Good luck with your next interview!