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How to Use Psychology to Ace the Interview


8/16/2011 5:10:23 PM

How to Use Psychology to Ace the Interview By Joy Bridges, Legacy MedSearch

According to TRACOM group’s Social Styles Model, each of us can be categorized as one of four personalities. The model divides people based on two factors, assertiveness and responsiveness, and these traits affect what hiring managers look for in their employees. Some are focused on your previous achievements, others need you to work well on a team, but each social style has a sweet spot and picking up on that can help you tailor your answers to their specific tastes.

The Four Social Styles

Expressive: Assertive and responsive. Expressives are energetic, fast-paced, and visionary.

How can you tell?

Expressives are more fashion forward in their dress and tend to have cluttered offices. The desk chair may be beside the interviewer rather than across the desk to allow for more connection during the interview. They often have bright and flamboyant personalities as well.

What do they want to hear?

Personal rapport will get you much further than it would with other social styles. Expressives want to like and be liked, so building a relationship with the interviewer is nearly essential. Also, a career portfolio will help the interviewer visualize your achievements.

Driver: High assertiveness, low responsiveness. Drivers want to get ahead and are the typical alpha personality. They are results-oriented and like to be in control.

How can you tell?

The office may be neat and covered in awards and evidence of the interviewer’s achievements. He or she will likely be dressed conservatively and the guest’s chair will be across the desk to build a barrier of professionalism.

What do they want to hear?

Drivers are quick decision makers who focus on the bottom line. Elaborate on what you can do for the company and keep “return on investment” in mind as you craft your responses.



Amiable: Low assertiveness, high responsiveness, the team builder. Amiables want everyone to be happy.

How can you tell?

The guest’s chair will likely not be across the desk; rather it will be beside it. Pictures of friends and family will be displayed prominently in the office.

What do they want to hear?

Amiables want peace and cohesion in the workplace, so focus on your ability to work well with others and be nonaggressive and friendly to build trust.

Analytical: Low assertiveness and responsiveness. Often known as the thinker, this personality type is focused on logic and reasoning. They are detail-oriented and methodical decision makers.

How can you tell?

Expect an incredibly neat, organized office. This personality type is less emotional than expressives or amiables so the interviewer will seem less energetic or opinionated and likely will dress conservatively. The guest chair may be across the desk as it would be with a driver.

What do they want to hear?

Behavioral interviewing questions may be the focus of the meeting. Analytical interviewers believe that history repeats itself so be sure to have a wealth of concise, personal anecdotes that illustrate your best traits. Any way you can quantify your achievements will help put your successes in logical terms as well.

The Social Style Model is focused on helping different personality types harmonize, and to that end numerous books have been written on the subject. Here are a few resources and recommendations:

A sample report from the Assessment Business Center. It has helpful tips on getting along with each personality type.

The TRACOM Group

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