Ace Your Job Interview Part I: How to Leverage Your Personality Type to Land That Job

Like so many other things, the pandemic has turned pretty much every aspect of job hunting on its head. But “The Great Resignation” – the mass exit from the job market – has created new opportunities for job hunters, as employers scramble to fill tens of thousands of vacant positions.

Of all the job-search activities, perhaps none is more critical than the job interview. An old-but-wise adage goes: “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” Researchers at Princeton University have determined it takes only three seconds for someone to decide if they like and want to do business with you!

For practical purposes, this means the better you do very early on in the job interview, the better your chances of landing the job. So, my job here is to help you ace each interview and make the best impression possible.

Because this is such an important mission, the topic can’t be covered in one blog. So, it is a two-part series. In Part I, I’ll help you identify your personality-driven natural strengths and potential blind spots as an interviewee. Unlike many other aspects of the job search, these are things that you have some control over. In Part II, I’ll show you how to quickly “SpeedRead'' interviewers – to pick up on important clues about their personality types to help you better understand them. And I’ll share tips on how to “SpeedREACH" interviewers – to speak their language in order to make the most positive impression.

A central premise in the system I developed and call “The Art of SpeedReading People” is that the more similar two people’s personality types are, the easier – and usually the more positive - the communication. The reverse, of course, is also true. A second principle is: (Unconsciously) we all want others to be like us and respond best to those who are.

On a practical level, this means that if you and your interviewer are similar personality types, there is likely to be a natural sympatico; you’re more likely to naturally be on the same wavelength.

But when your types are different, you must work harder. In Part II, I’ll reveal some specific clues for SpeedReading interviewers and Tips for SpeedReadching them. But first, let’s talk about you!

The Jung/Myers Model of Personality Type has four “dimensions”, which most of you will already be familiar with: How we get energy – as either an Extravert of Introvert; how we take in information; as either a Sensor or Intuitive; how we make decisions, as either a Thinker or Feeler, and how we organize our world, as either a Judger or Perceiver. We all have a natural inborn “preference” for one side or the other on each of these four dimensions. Because we all have access to both sides of each dimension, no one is “exclusively”, but we are “primarily” one or the other.

Job interviews have changed greatly in the age of COVID. The most significant way is that so many more are conducted virtually using Zoom or other online platforms. But this doesn’t present as many challenges for job seekers as one might imagine, because they still allow you to make a somewhat “personal” connection and pick up lots of SpeedReading clues.

Socrates had it right: “First, know thyself”

Although he is believed to have offered this sage advice around 450 BC, it is – in my judgment – every bit as relevant today and  is critical to your success when interviewing for a job.

Although every individual is unique, people of the same personality type often have similar interviewing strengths and blind spots. Below are some of the most common ones for each type. As you review those for your type, try to identify which one strength and one potential blind spot is are most true for you. You can increase your chances for success by capitalizing on your greatest strength, and owning (and trying to improve on) your biggest blind spot. That said…

ESTJs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are friendly and verbal; create an easy flow of information

2.   Tend to stay on task, respond to each question and don’t ramble

3.   Can usually stay cool and calm, even under pressure

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

 1.   May be too talkative and eat up valuable time

2.   May not “read between the lines” and discern what the interviewer is really trying to discover when asking a specific question

3.   May come across as too “matter-of-fact” and not communicate the depth of their enthusiasm

ISTJs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are good listeners; will be attentive to interviewer’s questions

2.   Can recall and refer to a lot of relevant facts and details

3.   Are organized; can plan what they want to say and stay within the allotted time

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May take too much time responding, and seem unprepared

2.   May give answers that are too long and detailed, preventing interviewer from covering all the necessary ground

3.   May fail to grasp the importance of making a personal connection

ESFJs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Easily develop rapport and quickly create a warm connection

2.   Are organized; plan what they want to say and stay within allotted time

3.   Communicate enthusiasm and appreciation for the opportunity

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May be too talkative and eat up valuable time

2.   May not be good at answering questions that require the use of their imagination such as “Where do you think you’ll be in five years?”

3.   May tune out if don’t personally like the interviewer

ISFJs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are good listeners; will be attentive to interviewer’s questions

2.   Stay on task, respond to each question and don’t ramble

3.   Are organized; can plan what they want to say and stay within allotted time

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May underplay their accomplishments and lack assertiveness

2.   May give answers that are too long and detailed, preventing interviewer from covering all the necessary ground

3.   May not be good at answering questions that require the use of their imagination such as “Where do you think you’ll be in five years?”

ESTPs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are engaging, friendly and verbal; keep conversation going

2.   Can shift gears quickly when necessary

3.   Are often charming and able to develop rapport quickly

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May come across as too casual and not communicate the depth of their seriousness about obtaining the job

2.   May be too talkative, undisciplined and go off on tangents

3.   May not have prepared adequately for the interview

ISTPs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are good listeners; attentive to interviewer’s questions

2.   Can stay objective and cool, even under pressure

3.   Have excellent memories and are able to recall relevant facts and stats

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May not have prepared adequately for the interview

2.   May not be good at answering questions that require the use of their imagination such as “Where do you think you’ll be in five years?”

3.   May not adequately express their appreciation and/or gratitude

ESFPs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are engaging, friendly and verbal; create an easy flow of information

2.   Are warm, open and develop rapport easily

3.   Can shift gears quickly when responding to questions

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May be too talkative and eat up valuable time

2.   May not have prepared adequately for the interview

3.   May not “read between the lines” and discern what the interviewer is really trying to discover by asking specific questions

ISFPs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are good listeners; attentive to interviewer’s questions

2.   Find ways to make a personal connection with interviewer

3.   Can recall lots of relevant facts and details

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May not be comfortable at selling themselves

2.   May not have prepared adequately for the interview

3.   May lose their enthusiasm if they do not personally like the interviewer

ENTJs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are friendly, articulate, and good conversationalists

2.   Think strategically and can usually anticipate the intention behind a question and come up with the best answer

3.   Usually exude confidence in their competence

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May be impatient listeners and force interviewer to compete with them

2.   May come across as overly confident or even arrogant and not properly deferential to the interviewer’s position or expertise

3.   May have an inordinate need to impress, thus turning the interviewer off

INTJs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are attentive listeners and responsive to the interviewer’s questions

2.   Are deep thinkers who will give thoughtful answers

3.   Think strategically and can anticipate the intention behind a question

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May give answers that are too long and / or complicated and prevent interviewer from covering all the necessary ground

2.   May come across as overly confident or even arrogant and not properly deferential to the interviewer’s position or expertise

3.    May fail to grasp the importance of making a personal connection

ENTPs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are friendly, charming, and verbal, good conversationalists

2.   Are strategic thinkers – can usually anticipate the intention behind a question and come up with the best answer

3.   Are good storytellers, able to engage interviewers and cite relevant accomplishments

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May try to sell their vision of what the job might be, rather than responding to why they would excel at the job as it exists

2.   May come across as overly confident or even arrogant and not properly deferential to the interviewer

3.   May come across as inauthentic and / or overly flattering to interviewer

INTPs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are attentive listeners and responsive to the interviewer’s questions

2.   Are strategic thinkers – can anticipate the intention behind a question

3.   Can ask thoughtful questions that indicate their understanding of the job and provide a preview of what they have to offer their employer

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May give answers that are too long or complicated, preventing the interviewer from covering all the necessary ground

2.   May not provide as many details and specifics as desired

3.   May fail to grasp the importance of making a personal connection

ENFJs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Easily develop rapport and quickly create a personal connection

2.   Are charming, friendly and articulate; create an easy flow of information

3.   Are enthusiastic and good at selling themselves

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May be too talkative and eat up valuable time

2.   May not answer interviewer’s questions with enough specificity

3.   May react defensively if asked a question they perceive as negative

INFJs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are good listeners who generally exude integrity and earnestness

2.   Are friendly and sincere – usually easily develop rapport and create a personal connection

3.   Are organized; plan what they want to say and stay within allotted time

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May give answers that are too long and complicated, preventing interviewer from covering all the necessary ground

2.   May not answer interviewer’s questions with enough specificity

3.   May not think to ask any questions until after the interview is over

ENFPs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are charming, friendly and verbal; quickly establish a personal connection

2.   Are naturally curious and ask good questions indicating their high level of interest in the job

3.   Are likely to offer creative ideas about how to improve the company, department, product, etc.

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May be too talkative, undisciplined, ramble and eat up valuable time

2.   May not answer interviewer’s questions with enough specificity

3.   May shut down prematurely if they do not personally like the interviewer

INFPs

Potential Interviewing Strengths

1.   Are good listeners; will be attentive to interviewer’s questions

2.   Are naturally curious and will ask good questions indicating their high level of interest in the job

3.   Are good at communicating what they are passionate about

Potential Interviewing Blind Spots

1.   May give answers that are too long, complicated or not on point, preventing interviewer from covering all the necessary ground

2.   May come across as overly idealistic – and not practical enough (depending on the nature of the job)

3.    May shut down prematurely if they do not personally like the interviewer

Identifying your greatest interviewing strength and biggest blind spot can help you present the best version of yourself. But you are only part of the equation. The interviewer, of course, is the other part.

Tomorrow, in Part II of this series, I’ll show “radar clues” that will help you SpeedRead interviewers – quickly identify their key drives, motivations and preferred style communicating, and tips for SpeedREACHing them – getting on their wavelength and making the strongest connection possible, in the shortest amount of time.

Paul Tieger

Paul D. Tieger is the Founder and CEO of SpeedReading People, LLC. He is an internationally recognized expert on – and author of five breakthrough books about – personality type including The Art of SpeedReading People and the one-million copy best-seller Do What You Are.
A jury consultant for twenty-five years, Paul pioneered the use of Personality Type to help trial attorneys understand and communicate with jurors and has worked on dozens of high profile civil and criminal cases including the first physician-assisted suicide trial of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Paul holds a BS degree in Psychology and an MS in Organizational Behavior.

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Erric Ravi (not verified) says...

personality assessment outperforms traditional data collection techniques by providing recruiters with objective insights that dramatically increase candidate selection. For example, personality assessments are based on the scientifically proven “Big Five” theoretical model. They provide insightful information about how candidates’ personalities will impact their workplace behaviour, allowing recruiters to understand how candidates interact with others, approach and solve problems, and manage their emotions.

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