The interview process provides an often-overlooked opportunity to start working on relationships before your first day in the office.
Throughout the job search, you’re likely to focus on the job responsibilities and the challenges and opportunities of each position. You’ll carefully evaluate whether the role will best use your skills and advance your career. And during the interview, when being grilled by the search committee, you will undoubtedly concentrate on presenting yourself in the best possible light, possibly overlooking important signals about committee members’ personalities. While you’ll be very conscious that you’re being evaluated, the search committee will be less likely to realize that these meetings can be two-way streets, revealing as much information about themselves as they are trying to find out about you. This means they’re unwittingly providing you with important data that will help you be successful if you take the position. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity!
Effective relationships are critical to being successful in a position, and that means learning to manage the quirks and personalities of those around you. Throughout the interview process, you’ll see personality indicators in the form of questions posed, tone of voice, body posture and even the casual chit-chat that sometimes takes place around the edges of the interview. During this time, you should be trying to gauge the personality of everyone you interact with, from the boss’s administrative assistant to the person who has a neighboring office. Things to look for include:
o Who is resistant to change?
o Who is the eager beaver?
o Which person has the best understanding of organizational history?
o Who could see your arrival as threatening?
o Who is likely to be your most stalwart internal champion?
o Who sees him/herself as the smartest person in the room?
Obviously you won’t be able to develop a complete picture of your future colleagues from these interactions, but should you take the job you will have some important data to give you an early read on the various personalities you will have to navigate as you begin to build relationships across the organization.