Personal Style and the Interview

Many articles have been written about perfecting your resume or honing your interviewing skills. While those are key elements, your interviewing style is rarely mentioned. Understanding style, both yours and that of the interviewer may help you ace an interview. One instrument to measure your style is the DiSC Classic.

Personal Style and the Interview

The DiSC behavioral assessment is based upon the research of William Moulton Marston (1928) on how people respond to various environmental effects. Studied and modified over the years, the DiSC is a tool used to assess your behavior and interpersonal skills and those of others.


DiSC Styles
While people are usually a combination of styles, the DiSC states that in certain situations, people usually behave in a consistent manner and fall into one or two of the following quadrants.


D: Dominance


  • Results oriented
  • Accepts challenges
  • Problem Solver
  • Questions Status Quo
  • Authoritative


i: Influence


  • People oriented
  • Articulate/optimistic
  • Enthusiastic
  • Motivational
  • Participatory


S: Steadiness


  • Skills oriented
  • Consistent
  • Good listener
  • Patient, Considerate
  • Promotes harmonious environment


C: Conscientious


  • Detail oriented
  • Analytical
  • Diplomatic
  • Systematic


DiSC Style and the Interview Process
Often, our personal style is reflected in our occupations. For example, a scientist may be a high€C€, while a sales representative may be high in €œI€. A manager may have high €œD€ tendencies and a writer may be higher in the €œS€ arena. Most job postings refer to certain competencies an employee would need to satisfactorily complete a job. Terms such as €œdetail oriented,€ €œteam player€, €œfocused€, or “outstanding customer service€ can give you an idea of the type of behavior needed for the job.


In an interview, your personal style and that of your interviewer should be taken into account. While it is vital to be prepared with specific examples of your past accomplishments, it is also important to consider how you present yourself to the interviewer. Keeping this in mind, reflect on your style and behaviors and follow the lead of the interviewer.  The chart below describes some of the behaviors demonstrated by the four DiSC styles and suggested responses to those questioning styles.


Dominance: Direct, Forceful, Decisive, Quick. Your responses should be direct and succinct.


Influence: Gregarious, Persuasive, Pleasant, Influential. You should be personable and cordial.

Steadiness: Passive, Patient, Team Oriented, Active Listener. Provide task clarification, display sincerity.


Conscientious: Accurate, Factual, Diplomatic, Systematic. If asked, provide detail and process.


The Last Word


It can be overwhelming to consider personal style along with all the other factors surrounding an interview. If this is the case, concentrate only on your style and recognize that you may respond to certain questions or situations based upon that style.


For more information about DiSC styles, please visit any of the websites devoted to the study of DiSC behavior.


Photo Credit Diane Pernet.


Nancy Anderson is another contestant who has submitted a blog post for a the Job Search Blogger Contest.  Vote for Nancy by leaving a comment until May 11th.




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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. Nathan says

    I guess you are most successful when your personal style is a good fit with the requirements of the position you are interviwing for. That’s something to think about.

  2. VH says

    I found this one of the few unique articles since my unemployment Thank you and good luck

  3. Kim Ho says

    Nancy, you are providing a much needed service and valuable advice to job seekers and moms looking to get back into the working world. Keep up the good work!



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