FWIW: Interviewing - Make-or-Break Interview Mistakes

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Sadly, it is a truism that the corporate mindset is:
"the company comes first above all else."

Even customers, as important as they may seem, are replaceable in the minds of many top corporate officers.

Tens of years ago, I met an author, Robert Ringer, who wrote "Winning Through Intimidation" and "Looking Out for Number One." Only now do I realize a large part of his success in using ploys to counter folks who were out to suppress him hinged on being able to make "cold reads" of the various personalities he encountered so he could employ the proper counter measures and be successful in his business operations.

Essentially, he was "outconning" the con artists masquerading as bosses, real estate brokers, bankers, customers, employees, etc., who were trying to take advantage of him.

Bob wrote about the little clues he picked up during research and personal meetings which he incorporated into his own approach to be able to tell people what they wanted to hear and to avoid setting off their inner alarms.

A lot of little clues combine to give a pretty good portrait of the person you are facing in an interview. Interviewers learn this and do a lot of things to mask such clues. For example, most interviewers realize their own offices give too many clues about themselves, so they conduct interviews on neutral ground (a bare bones conference room) or in a place which exudes power (the corporate Board Room, if you are applying for a top level job.)

Smart interviewers will use a room with no phones so the interviewee will get no clues about personality based on listening to the interviewer's side of a phone conversation.

Conversely, an interviewer who brings a candidate into his own office may either be trying to impress the candidate or completely oblivious to the signals he sends:
  • office messy or super neat?
  • answer a lot of phone calls during the interview?
  • pictures of family or of company products?
  • awards and certificates on the walls?
  • other candidate's resumé in plain view?
  • spend more time bragging up the company than interviewing the candidate?
  • open or reticent about previous incumbent of the position for which the candidate is applying?
  • seem more like "selling" the benefits of the position than "buying" the benefits of the candidate?
  • interviewer's own personal grooming and clothing choice?
  • any consistent "tells" which might indicate lying about aspects of the position, company, or available salary range?
I won't bother to give a dissertation about such clues; other writers have done it and yet more writers will do it in the future. Suffice to say, there is value in trying to pick up verbal and non verbal clues which will help "ace" an interview, by being able to pinpoint the answer the interviewer WANTS to hear for the implied question in EVERY interview:
"What's in it for me [and for my company?]" [if I hire you?]
Top Bottom