By Mark Murphy
Have you ever introduced an outstanding candidate to a great hiring manager, only to find they didn’t hit it off?
There are myriad reasons why two people don’t click, but near the top of the list are conflicting communication styles. In fact, research shows that when an employee’s communication style drastically differs from their manager’s, their engagement is 20% to 30% lower than if their styles were more aligned.
To avoid the wasted time and frustration that comes from sending your hiring managers candidates with whom they’re likely to clash, you’ll want to give interviewers a bit of background on communication styles. It’s a shame to miss out on great candidates simply because the initial conversations weren’t effortless. Mismatched styles are not a death knell for a productive working relationship, as long as the hiring manager can recognize and adapt to a different style of communicating.
There are four primary communication styles:
Analytical communicators thrive on hard data and precision, often seeking concrete facts and eschewing vague terminology.
Personal communicators prioritize emotional connections, often delving into feelings and personal experiences to create meaningful interactions.
Intuitive communicators cut to the chase, favoring broad overviews over detailed narratives, and are adept at grasping the bigger picture without getting mired in minutiae.
Functional communicators are detail-oriented, valuing step-by-step processes and comprehensive plans, ensuring no detail is overlooked.
Armed with that bit of background, you’ll want to teach hiring managers the different ways that candidates with those four styles might answer interview questions.
In an interview setting, analytical communicators will provide responses grounded in data and concrete facts. They’re likely to cite specific numbers, percentages, or quantifiable outcomes when discussing their accomplishments. If asked about their performance, they won’t just say they improved a process; they’ll tell you they increased efficiency by 15%.
Additionally, analytical communicators prefer clarity and precision in language, steering clear of ambiguous terms. Interviewers can expect thorough, fact-based answers and should be ready to provide specifics when this type of communicator asks for more information.
When answering interview questions, intuitive communicators are all about getting straight to the point. They won’t wade through unnecessary details but will quickly give you a top-level overview of their experience or the situation.
If discussing a project, intuitive communicators might jump directly to the end results or the main objective without delving into every single step that got them there. For interviewers, this means getting succinct and impactful answers, but they might need to probe further if they want more detailed insights.
Functional communicators are likely to be meticulous in their responses. They prefer explaining things sequentially, ensuring that the interviewer understands the process they went through in their experiences.
If functional communicators are describing a successful project, they won’t just jump to the results; they’ll walk you through the entire process from conception to completion, ensuring you grasp every step. Interviewers can expect detailed, methodical answers and should be patient, understanding that for such communicators, every piece of the puzzle is essential.
Finally, personal communicators aim to create an emotional connection. Their answers often weave in feelings, beliefs, and personal anecdotes. They might describe not only the tasks they accomplished but also how they felt during the process and how they fostered relationships with team members along the way.
Personal communicators excel at reading the room and often tailor their responses to resonate emotionally with the interviewer. Interviewers can expect answers that emphasize interpersonal relationships and emotional intelligence, and they might even find themselves sharing or connecting on a personal level during the conversation.
If hiring managers can recognize the diverse communication styles candidates might employ, they can avoid dismissing highly qualified candidates simply because they communicate differently than expected. Embracing a bit of open-mindedness and adaptability not only broadens the talent pool but also fosters a multifaceted team, essential for innovation, problem-solving, and growth.