How Can You Tell If A Serious Interviewer Is Interested In The Conversation?

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How Can You Tell If A Serious Interviewer Is Interested In The Conversation?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:17 pm

Had a CB this week consisting of 5 interviews. 2 of my interviewers were very serious and reserved and it was hard for me to tell if they were interested in me or the conversation. The interviews weren't filled with awkward pauses or anything and the conversation kept going. Anyone have experience with serious interviewers have anything to share regarding this?

Hikikomorist

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Re: How Can You Tell If A Serious Interviewer Is Interested In The Conversation?

Postby Hikikomorist » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:44 pm

Kind of a similar question: what's the correct approach with a more passive, more reserved interviewer? I normally go with a more enthusiastic approach in interviews, but is that still the right call with that type of personality, or should I be mirroring a more tempered demeanor?

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Re: How Can You Tell If A Serious Interviewer Is Interested In The Conversation?

Postby InterviewAccount » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:03 pm

Hikikomorist wrote:Kind of a similar question: what's the correct approach with a more passive, more reserved interviewer? I normally go with a more enthusiastic approach in interviews, but is that still the right call with that type of personality, or should I be mirroring a more tempered demeanor?


Mirror your interviewer. If they are soft-spoken, be more soft-spoken. If they are reserved and deadpan, come down a few levels while still smiling and sticking to your story. You don't want to be jarring and being excited to a reserved person will leave them never wanting to work with you.

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Re: How Can You Tell If A Serious Interviewer Is Interested In The Conversation?

Postby Hikikomorist » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:13 pm

InterviewAccount wrote:
Hikikomorist wrote:Kind of a similar question: what's the correct approach with a more passive, more reserved interviewer? I normally go with a more enthusiastic approach in interviews, but is that still the right call with that type of personality, or should I be mirroring a more tempered demeanor?


Mirror your interviewer. If they are soft-spoken, be more soft-spoken. If they are reserved and deadpan, come down a few levels while still smiling and sticking to your story. You don't want to be jarring and being excited to a reserved person will leave them never wanting to work with you.

Okay, this isn't a problem so much when I'm speaking to them, but it feels uncomfortable in combination with trying to seem like an attentive listener. It starts to feel robotic and unconvincing when I slow down my nods while listening, but should I just ignore that feeling?

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Re: How Can You Tell If A Serious Interviewer Is Interested In The Conversation?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:22 pm

Hikikomorist wrote:
InterviewAccount wrote:
Hikikomorist wrote:Kind of a similar question: what's the correct approach with a more passive, more reserved interviewer? I normally go with a more enthusiastic approach in interviews, but is that still the right call with that type of personality, or should I be mirroring a more tempered demeanor?


Mirror your interviewer. If they are soft-spoken, be more soft-spoken. If they are reserved and deadpan, come down a few levels while still smiling and sticking to your story. You don't want to be jarring and being excited to a reserved person will leave them never wanting to work with you.

Okay, this isn't a problem so much when I'm speaking to them, but it feels uncomfortable in combination with trying to seem like an attentive listener. It starts to feel robotic and unconvincing when I slow down my nods while listening, but should I just ignore that feeling?


I understand it can be difficult. I was acutely aware of how different I was behaving when my interviewer was reserved as opposed to others. However, ignore it. If you are mirroring your interviewer, they are just seeing behavior they are used to. It won't stand out to them.

EDIT: Apologies for the accidental anon.

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Re: How Can You Tell If A Serious Interviewer Is Interested In The Conversation?

Postby lavarman84 » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Had a CB this week consisting of 5 interviews. 2 of my interviewers were very serious and reserved and it was hard for me to tell if they were interested in me or the conversation. The interviews weren't filled with awkward pauses or anything and the conversation kept going. Anyone have experience with serious interviewers have anything to share regarding this?


It's very difficult to tell with some people. Some interviewers are just very reserved. With people like that, just keep the conversation going and keep them talking and engaged. It's the best you can do. It'll always be hard to get a read on an interview. I had an interview like that with a partner at the firm I SA'd at. Thought the partner didn't like me, but the partner actually liked me a lot. The partner was just the type of person who doesn't show his/her cards.

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Re: How Can You Tell If A Serious Interviewer Is Interested In The Conversation?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:55 pm

Watch their eyes. If they're not maintaining eye contact, that doesn't mean they're disinterested, but if their eyes are darting around the room or they're reading something for more than a moment or two, good bet they're bored.

You can also use the time between sentences as a test. Take an extra long pause at a period while you're in the exact middle of a story or answer. If they give a start or seem to scramble for a question to ask next, they were probably day-dreaming. If you finish an answer and they jump straight into the next question, they're probably just going through the motions and/or don't find you interesting.

Referencing earlier topics covered during the interview or referring to a particular part of your resume (with accompanying gesture to show you're referring to it) is one way of artificially getting them involved in the interview.

Honestly, it's a huge risk, but my favorite tactic (0 incidence of resultant foot-in-mouth during my OCI, but that was probably sheer luck) is to throw in a offhand joke (non-offensive) about their practice area or a self-deprecating joke about yourself. Ex., if the interviewer is a tax lawyer, "I'm interested in exec comp and employee benefits-- which means I am very grateful for your department," or "I'm interested in litigation. I did give tax a try last semester, but I just don't have your fortitude" or whatever. It shows that I know things about law and it gives them a chance to jump into the conversation.

Mostly, though, there's nothing you can do and nothing to worry about. 95% of "serious" interviewers are interested and paying attention, and the 5% that are day dreaming probably made their judgment on your application before you walked in.



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