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Every interviewer you encounter has a different personality, and their individual traits often influence how they interview and assess job candidates. The trickiest part of this is you don’t know which kind of interviewer you will encounter until you are in the room with them. That means you can’t always prepare ahead of time to specifically manage the idiosyncrasies of the experience.

To help you prepare as well as possible, here are three types of interviewers you may encounter and how to handle them.

  1. Skills-Oriented

One of the most common forms of interviewer is one who prioritizes identifying your skills over anything else. They want a breakdown of what you can do, what you have done and how you can apply your aptitude to the position.

Interviews of this nature can often be somewhat regimented. They will ask a question, hear your answer and then move to the next inquiry. Effectively, these are more about discovering whether you check off the boxes they have assigned to the job and less about having a conversation.

Since the style can mimic an interrogation, it may feel as though you never build a rapport. However, that doesn’t mean you didn’t perform well; it’s just the nature of this interview style.

  1. Potential-Oriented

While some interviewers want to know about what you can do today, some are more interested in what you will be able to do tomorrow. Interviewers who focus on your potential are often interested in your ability and willingness to learn. This approach is common if the duties associated with the position are expected to grow or change in the near future, or if they prefer to hire individuals that can progress through the company over time.

While you may be asked to go over your current skills and experiences, they will also explore your personal motivations as they relate to your career. These interviewers are more likely to ask questions about how you see your career developing over the next five years or if you have a long-term goal in mind.

  1. Culture-Oriented

Many businesses have begun to understand the value of a strong company culture. Interviewers who focus on cultural fit are often interested in learning about your priorities, goals and general personality. The questions may feel more organic, making the experience resemble a conversation. And, typically, you won’t be asked as many questions, but requested to tell stories about your prior experiences.

A culture-oriented interviewer is more interested in seeing how your mind works than confirming your hard skills. Also, they often come across as friendly and open, being more likely to share stories about themselves along the way than some other interviewer types.

How to Prepare

Even in cases where you don’t know which interviewer you are going to encounter, you can still arrive well prepared. Make sure you have a few stories to tell about your work experiences so you can present the information naturally. Consider your long-term career goals and how the company or position will help you get there. Finally, make sure you thoroughly understand your skills and abilities and how they apply to the job to which you applied. Then, you should have a solid base from which to build.


If you are looking for a new position, the professionals at The Squires Group can help you find the right opportunities. Contact us to see what is available in your area today.

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