How to Get That Personal Chemistry for Interviews

Career Development

It’s probably happened to you a hundred times: you go to a major store, hoping to find that specific item you’re after, and you have to walk away disappointed. Either the item was not available or, most likely, you were looking for something uncommon or unusual that the store didn’t have. Such a scenario often occurs in interview situations: You as a candidate seemed very prepared, and when someone asks you later how the interview went, you reply positively and with confidence. After all, you have every required skill the interviewer was looking for, you have plenty of experience, and you were able to answer smartly all of the interviewer’s questions. So, why didn’t you hear back? What went wrong?

The answers to those questions are repeats of answers to the shopping situation—when you couldn’t find that specific item. Evidently, the interviewer, too, was looking for something specific that you did not surface and demonstrate. In this case, it’s likely the interviewer was looking for something totally unrelated to skills or experience. So, what is that something and how can the interviewer find out you have it?

It’s all about compatibility, or so-called chemistry, which is a very heavily weighted element in the hirer’s decision-making process. Many call it the fit factor and it could easily be by far the decisive issue in the entire interview. As an interview coach, I work with my clients and prepare them to learn to how to “read” interviewers so they can discern that fit factor.

There are many well-known, documented, and respected studies about types of people. Some of the studies find that if a candidate is unable to align with the interviewer—sometimes an impossibility—then the chances of being considered for the position are minimized. That’s the reason someone else gets the job.

You may have heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the DISC assessment, and other personality tests. I’m familiar with another, called MBS, or Management By Strengths. The MBS Survey is a self-assessment that attempts to align relationships and communications between parties. It deals with understanding the decision-making process, whether the process is based on facts or on gut feelings. For more information on the MBS test of personality type, visit

In summary, in an interview situation it’s hugely to your benefit if you’re able to “read” the interviewer and adapt to the interviewer’s style, because it’s well-known that hirers like to hire people like themselves.