By Susan Guarneri
During an interview, how often have you felt that the interviewer just didn’t get what you were saying? Were there misunderstandings throughout the back-and-forth dialogue that surprised and confused you? Have you panicked in the midst of telling your personal branding story or work experience because it was obvious you were not engaging your interviewer?
Connecting with an interviewer goes beyond the initial chit-chat and establishing a rapport. It extends into the whole interview. How you ask and respond to questions, your body language, the pace and loudness of your speech pattern, and other subtle communications “signals” can help build a positive connection with the interviewer, or sabotage your efforts.
Why Does It Matter?
It is human nature to form complimentary opinions about people we perceive to be like us. In fact, likeability is the “positive halo effect” that can carry over into the decision-making stage of hiring. Likeability is perceived and evaluated by the interviewer through your mode of communicating and body language.
Since interviewing is the final and most critical phase of your job search, paying attention to your communication style can improve the “chemistry” between you and the interviewer. While your accomplishments and qualifications can put you on a par with the top candidates, your likeability is what, in the final analysis, can tip the scale in your favor.
Begin with Awareness
So, how can you determine your communication style? The first step is AWARENESS. Do you understand that differing communication styles are influenced by natural personality type preferences or behavioral tendencies? There are career assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® (MBTI) and DISC that can assist you with uncovering your communication style.
For example, as an Extrovert (E) in the MBTI ® typology, the natural inclination is to be enthusiastic and passionate about a topic, but if the interviewer is an Introvert (MBTI® typology), that enthusiasm may be considered “over the top” and intimidating. Consequently, toning down the presentation by speaking in a quiet, well-modulated voice and keeping large gestures to a minimum would better fit the situation.
Adjust Your Attitude
The next step to improving the effectiveness of your communication style is ATTITUDE. Are you really interested in fine-tuning your manner of communicating or do you expect others to bend to your style? Think of it this way…you are delivering a message on a certain “frequency”, conveyed via your personality type that you expect the interviewer to “dial in” to. But what if the interviewer’s communication style, based on his/her personality type, is different than yours? Rather than forging ahead on your “frequency”, you may have to switch to their preferred communications mode to get your message across.
Building and sustaining a connection with the interviewer is one of the keys to attaining your goal of landing a job offer. Being willing to re-calibrate your communication style to the interviewer’s style will position you head-and-shoulders above your competition who are neither aware of, nor motivated to, adjust their communications in the interview.
The final step in modifying your communications style is ACTION. Learning about your natural communication style and tweaking it to fit different people means lots of practice. In fact, the more people you communicate with, both individually and in groups, the better you will become in being able to establish connections with interviewers, ace a phone interview, motivate a “buy” decision in the mind of the interviewer, and negotiate a favorable salary and benefits package.
The MBTI® Communication Style Report is one type of career assessment that can provide you with detailed information on your natural communication tendencies, and also outline suggestions for “tuning in” to those people who exhibit a different style. Rather than limiting you, the descriptions, explanations, and tips in the MBTI® Communication Style Report are designed to enhance your awareness, boost your “dial-in” attitude, and arm you with the information you need to take action and make lasting improvements for successful connections.
Be aware of how different personality types might relate to your communication style, as well as the content and delivery of your message in an interview. Understand that the onus of making the connection is with you. Learn how to adapt your communications style to that of the interviewer. That could prove to be the missing element in having a confident, bridge-the-communications-gap interview and gaining a job offer!
Job-Hunt's Career Assessments Expert, Susan Guarneri, known as the Career Assessment Goddess, specializes in using personal branding and career assessments to empower professionals, executives, and budding entrepreneurs with career insight and action. Author of the Career Goddess Blog and co-author of Job Search Bloopers, Susan holds 16 career certifications, including National Certified Career Counselor, Master Career Counselor, Certified Master Branding Strategist, and Certified Online Identity Management Strategist. She has a Masters Degree in Counseling from The Johns Hopkins University and 24 years of experience. This article is reprinted by permission from www.Job-Hunt.org.