5 Classic Recruiter Personas You Should Know


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Being a good interviewer — knowing what questions to ask and how to evaluate whether a candidate is a good fit for a position — is not a skill many people have on their own. And with a myriad of personality types in the workplace, there are many different interviewer types. If you are relying on the interviewer to ask the right questions to show how you are a fit for a role, then you are likely selling yourself short.

Here are a few interviewer types you might run across and tips on how to make sure you communicate your fit for a role, even when the interview goes off course.

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5 Classic Recruiter Personas You Should Know

  1. 1. 5 Classic Recruiter Personas to Know Take charge of your job interview
  2. 2. In many organizations, recruiters and HR professionals may provide some guidance and in large institutions like the United Nations and World Bank, the interview process is highly controlled and regulated. But in smaller NGOs and consulting firms, o!en the hiring managers are le! to evaluate candidates on their own. And they may have no idea what to ask, how to act or how to evaluate responses based on the actual needs of the position. If you are relying on the interviewer to ask the right questions to show how you are a fit for a role, then you are likely selling yourself short. Here are a few interviewer types you might run across and tips on how to make sure you communicate your fit for a role, even when the interview goes off course.
  3. 3. They throw so!-ball questions, smile, nod and give lots of verbal and physical cues that you are on the right track. The benefit of interviewing with this kind of person is it’s a lot less stressful and you will likely walk away feeling great about your prospects. The challenge is, they are likely this nice with everyone. They may be too afraid or uncomfortable to ask you the tough questions they may need to know to determine if you are right for the job. While you walk away feeling The “nice guys” (or gals) great, they may walk away thinking you lack some of the required skills or experience that you never got a chance to talk about. How to deal: If they won’t ask the tough questions, then you can. You could say something like “you may be wondering how I have the requisite technical experience despite formal training, so let me tell you how my on-the-ground field experience has prepared me for this position”.
  4. 4. This kind of interviewer comes very prepared with a list of challenging questions- likely ones they got from a book or borrowed famed interviewing techniques from cut-throat industries like banking. Think questions like this one Goldman Sachs has used: "If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?". They are more intent on tripping you up than asking the right questions to evaluate you for this job. The inquisitor How to deal: Since one of the goals of these kinds of questions is to see how you perform under pressure, then your goal should be to answer the questions as best as you can without getting flustered. You could follow up with “that is an interesting question, let me give you a few examples of how I was able to creatively find solutions to problems in the workplace” since the other purpose of these questions is o!en to determine reasoning, problem solving and analytical skills.
  5. 5. This kind of interviewer can be similar to the “nice guy” but is more interested in talking about themselves, the company, or well anything, other than you. One of the reasons career coaches suggest being prepared with lots of questions is that people typically enjoy talking about themselves- and will o!en leave with a more positive impression of you when they do. The danger though is if they spend all their time talking then you will never have a chance to talk about you. The “chatty Cathy” How to deal: This can be a tricky one to navigate as you don’t want to repeatedly interrupt the interviewer and some may not leave a lot of room for air. But you will want to take cues from their conversation and help bring it back to you and why you are a fit for the role. Also, lead questions with an example of your experience. For example, “when I was implementing a new project tracking system in my previous employer, I encouraged internal adoption by our project staff by preparing concise training guides, tutorials and working closely with my colleagues to ensure they fully understood the system. How are you encouraging staff to adopt your new system?”
  6. 6. This kind of interviewer hates to interview. They are likely more comfortable in desk jobs with little interaction with other people and may have a dose of social anxiety. The idea of being put in a room with a stranger, asking them personal questions is at best, uncomfortable and they frankly can’t wait to get out of there. The “nervous Nelly” How to deal: Since this kind of interviewer is reluctant to ask probing questions, start by asking them some friendly questions about themselves. How did they get started? What do they enjoy about the job/employer? What do they think is necessary to succeed in the workplace? Once they have (hopefully) loosened up, then you can try the technique of asking and answering your own questions along the lines of, “you may be wondering…”
  7. 7. A panel interview is especially tricky because you may have any combination of these interviewer types together in one room. And sometimes the interviewers will talk over one another, contradict each other or delve into internal conversations right in front of you. How colleagues interact with each other in a panel interview is a good indication of the workplace culture, so make note of any particular red flags. But, this is o!en a symptom of many personality types coming together to do an The panel interview awkward task none of them are particularly well trained to do. How to deal: It is important to know who the real decision makers are in the room versus those that are brought in to help drive consensus. A decision maker may be the hiring manager or prospective team mate vs. a colleague from another team. You will want to impress the decision makers first and foremost without ignoring the others. A benefit of the panel interview is that multiple interview styles may create an environment for your skills and experiences to shine in multiple lights.
  8. 8. Get more more advice on acing your job interview . What was your worst interview experience? Comment below and tell us!