Candidate Interview Preparation

How to Interview with Different Social Styles

Interviewers vary with respect to their personality, communication style, behavior, thought processes and approaches to making a decision.  When candidates can understand the interviewer’s social style and adapt their interview approach accordingly, they can increase the likelihood of a successful interview.

There are four social styles composed of specific traits.  Below is information about how candidates can adapt their interview approach for each style.

1. The Analytical or “Compliant” (DISC Theory)

These individuals are careful, precise, business-like, rational, self-controlled and serious; they are motivated by details and facts; they are excellent problem solvers and like rigid timetables; they tend to be reserved in their interactions with people; they tend to disregard personal opinions when making decisions.

How to adapt to analytical interviewers

  • Respect and support their principles, way of thinking and approach
  • Don’t challenge their knowledge or point of view
  • Be systematic, exact and logical
  • Provide facts, history, data and accomplishments in a structured and organized format
  • Demonstrate your ability to produce results

2. The Driver or “Dominant” (DISC Theory)

They make decisions quickly and have a need to achieve; they are assertive, decisive, controlling, smart, stubborn, determined, focused, impatient and independent; they are task oriented and want relevant information in order to make decisions quickly; they are efficient and effective; they may not care about personal relationships except as a means to their goal.

How to adapt to interviewers who are drivers

  • Be professional and efficient
  • Identify their objectives and demonstrate the ability to help them achieve those goals
  • Don’t waste time with small talk
  • Be efficient and to the point
  • Establish rapport quickly
  • Use facts and logic
  • Focus on results

3.  The Amiable or “Steadiness” (DISC Theory)

They are respectful, good listeners, friendly, supportive, soft-hearted and responsive; they are team players who focus on innovation and long-term problem solving; they value relationships; they engage with people they can trust.

How to adapt to amiable interviewers

  • Establish a personal relationship
  • It is ok, following the interviewer’s lead, to discuss personal issues (interests, family, etc
  • Collaborate with the interviewer
  • Openly discuss the challenges of the opportunity and your ability to meet those challenges in a conversational format
  • Use personal commitments
  • Be agreeable
  • Demonstrate how you are a low risk solution to their need
  • Don’t push them for a commitment

4.  The Expressive or “Influence” (DISC Theory)

They are intuitive, charismatic, assertive, responsive, enthusiastic, creative, nurturing and engaging; they have strong persuasive skills, are talkative and gregarious; they can see the big picture clearly; they build relationships to gain power; status and recognition are important to them

How to adapt to interviewers who are expressive

  • Focus on relationships and facts
  • Take the extra time to discuss all aspects of your background and accomplishments
  • Be energetic
  • Summarize main points
  • Include short, concise stories using the STAR format
  • Give them recognition, flattery and praise
  • Appeal to their emotions by asking them how they feel about the company, the role, etc.
  • Focus on the big picture

Before you interview, check with your recruiter for their assessment of the social style of the various individuals who will interview you.  If there are unsure, you will need to quickly and accurately determining what social style the interviewer is displaying. Adapting your approach accordingly can have an enormous impact.  You will establish a positive relationship with the interviewer as well as increase the likelihood that your candidacy will be looked upon favorably.