Learn to Read Your Candidate Quickly and Effectively

As you know, the stakes are pretty high in today’s job market. A placement can be won or lost depending on how your candidate gets his or her point across.

What do you know about the candidate’s style in the interviewing process? Do you know how to pick up crucial cues? Do you know how to ‘read’ the person in front of you? Are they a fit to match the culture of your client company? Well, let’s see.

There are four main personality types. Most individuals are a combination of one or two of the following. Which type are you?

  • Directors are the doers of the world. They are forceful and want facts and figures. Key words: aggressive, intense, requiring, pushy, frank, determined, opinionated, impatient, and bold.
  • Thinkers are logical, orderly and right to the point. Stability is important. They seek details to support statements and claims. Never tactlessly question their ideas. Key words: precise, deliberate, questioning, disciplined, aloof, scientific, preoccupied, serious, industrious, and stuffy.
  • Supporters are most loyal and are excellent listeners. Key words: lighthearted, reserved, passive, warm, docile, patient, sensitive, relaxed, compliant, and softhearted.
  • Promoters are recognition-oriented, personable, and a participative doer. They are a people person, but they ignore details. Key words: sociable, spontaneous, zestful, stimulating, emotional, unstructured, excitable, personable, persuasive, and dynamic.

Recognizing your own personal style and being able to identify others’ style can supply clues to the verbal ways to relate to your candidate.

The first step is to identify your own style.

On a piece of paper, jot down the letters next to the words that describe your personality. When you’re finished, count the letters you have written. The letter you wrote the most indicates your primary communication style:

  • D Unrelenting
  • T Objective
  • T Precise
  • S Warm
  • P Spontaneous
  • D Probing
  • S Agreeable
  • P Sociable
  • D Aggressive
  • P Personable
  • S Docile
  • P Restless
  • T Aloof
  • D Requiring
  • P Outspoken
  • S Shy
  • S Compliant
  • P Impulsive
  • D Pushy
  • T Deliberate
  • P Talkative
  • S Reserved
  • T Serious
  • D Bold
  • T Business-like
  • P Dynamic
  • S Conforming
  • D Determined
  • S Passive
  • T Organized
  • D Dogmatic
  • T Methodical

The next question is “how can you make this judgment call easily?” As soon as you walk through the office door, look around. The clues will be there right in front of your eyes.

  • The Director’s desk will, most likely, be cluttered with papers.
  • The Thinker’s desk will probably be neat and orderly.
  • The Supporter’s desk will be covered with pictures, vacation souvenirs, and perhaps a sport’s trophy.
  • The Promoter’s desk will have books and reports; maybe several stacks of paper will be organized in an orderly fashion.

Questions Each Communication Style Might Ask

Directors: Remember, they get right down to business.
Do you have a proactive or reactive approach to problem management?

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Thinkers: This style is interested in facts and figures.
Why aren’t you earning more with the amount of experience you have?

Supporters: This style will appear to be very casual. They could open with a discussion about the weather or your hobbies.
When will you consider yourself a success?

Promoters: Look for questions about long-range goals or results in this communication style.
If you had a choice of jobs and companies, where would you go?

Now that you have a good idea of the communication style, what do you do with all the information? Incidentally, be aware of everything around you, even how the interviewer/candidate sits, moves his/her hands when he/she speaks, and whether he/she looks you straight in the eye.

All of these little nuances will assist you in communicating the right way to customize your responses to their questions. Also, consider the following tips:

  • Don’t ramble when speaking to the Director. Stress problem-solving abilities; be concise and factual.
  • Again, the Thinker has a need for accuracy and achieving results. Don’t be emotional with this style.
  • The Supporter is interested in interpersonal relationships, so stress skills and the ability to be an active team player.
  • When interviewing with a Promoter think goals and results.

These communication tips are another tool for your interviewing toolbox and are useful guides in assisting you in establishing rapport quickly and with the least amount of stress.

Sande Foster is the director of sales and marketing for Prime Time Personnel in Parsippany, New Jersey. She has performed as a Human Resource recruiting and training specialist and executive coach in industries such manufacturing, banking, healthcare, nonprofit, retail and pharmaceutical/biotech. She enjoys an international reputation serving the needs of a wide range of client organizations worldwide. Contact her at sandeb2@optonline.net.