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Candidate Help & Advice

Interviews are About Understanding the Psychology of the Interviewer

We may not recognize or admit it, but each of us is driven by our own personal psychology–and so is the interviewer. Therefore, the better we understand the decision maker the better we can answer his questions thus improving the chances for getting the job. This sounds logical doesn’t it? So let’s talk about the types of interviewers one may face.

There are a number of systems that are used to label people; DISC is one of them and there are others as well. While working for a major pharmaceutical company, I was introduced to another system, called MBS, Management By Strengths. MBS is very simple to use and could prove extremely helpful. As a job candidate, if you can quickly identify what type of person the interviewer is and adapt to his style and needs, you’ve already achieved at least 50 percent success.

MBS recognizes four types of people, and to make the system memorable, the people are identified by colors as follows.

  • RED stands for directness. Red types focus on the result, on being in control, and on solving problems. They have strong egos and are hard-driving and decisive. Most of the time reds are calm, but occasionally they erupt like volcanoes, letting you have it. And then everything goes back to normal. Being interviewed by a red requires that you be direct and to the point. Red will want you to explain WHAT. Focus on results, and talk about actions.
  • GREEN stands for extroversion. Here the focus is on people. Green types are outgoing, cheerful, mostly positive, enthusiastic, and pleasant. They like teamwork–working with people. Greens are talkative: Have you had an interview where the interviewer did the lion’s share of the talking? How frustrating! During an interview with a green, you should show enthusiasm, be interactive, and explain WHO. Elaborate on your involvement with teams, act friendly, and be open.
  • BLUE stands for pace. Blue types value timing, harmony, and cooperation. They seem cool under pressure. They hate being rushed and are therefore excellent planners. Schedules and deadlines are very important to blues. They seem relaxed and easygoing. When interviewing with a blue, show that you’re calm and in control. Explain WHEN. Focus on timing and harmony. Show how you kept everything under control and on time.
  • YELLOW stands for structure. Yellow types are constantly taking notes. They believe that if it’s in writing, then it’s a fact. In their lives, everything is filed away for future use. In their offices there are papers, files, books everywhere. Yellows are naturally good organizers. They love to be right and hate to be criticized. Therefore they gather all the facts and are very careful and slow in making decisions. Yellows don’t take change well. They appreciate knowing the rules, expectations, and instructions. When interviewing with a yellow, explain WHY. Be as detailed as possible. Focus on doing the right things. Talk about documented facts. Act organized and specific.

So, now that you know the basics about these four types of people, your job is to quickly decide what color your interviewer is. If you’re able to align with the interviewer’s traits, your chances for a successful interview are immensely increased. Here is a video which summarizes this concept: