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Interview Negotiation & Hiring Decision-making Styles

By: Vera Savany-Hughes, A Certified Employment Interview Professional

Let’s start with a very powerful strategy used in negotiation: Isopraxism – which is another word for Mirroring. We all have a natural ability to practice isopraxism. We've most likely practiced it many times but didn’t even realize it. One way you've probably practiced isopraxism/"mirroring" is by watching, evaluating, and then in one way or another emulating your boss – learning and growing in your leadership style...even if that sometimes means "mimicking" their ways and realizing that it isn't the most ideal, and therefore identifying a better approach/style. With that said, we must use this strategy of isopraxism to convey communication and establish a solid connection, rather than annoying someone. People naturally bond better with others, especially during an intentional conversation such as an interview, by adopting/mirroring another person's behavior, attitudes, and communication style innuendos.

How can we even pull off Mirroring in an interview setting in the first place?

First, we must understand the various “decision-making” styles because when you can identify the hiring decision-makers decision-making style, then it’s a lot easier to connect to it yourself. There are 4 Decision-Making Styles: Pragmatic, High Energy, Congenial, and Analytical.

Pragmatic decision-makers are very deliberate and are viewed as very rational individuals that place a lot of importance on maintaining balance in their work and life – it’s about solving problems in a sensible and practical way. They take charge in an interview and are a lover of facts. With a Pragmatic decision-maker, it is important to mirror by focusing and sharing facts and vital information that proves your case without too much emotion involved in the “storytelling” of your conversation – keep it short and factual and you’ll have their attention. Make sure you acknowledge their time and appreciation and focus on body language – if they were once forward-facing and you see them slump back into their seat – that’s a good indicator that they’re likely ready to move on to the next question. Consider asking something like, “I want to respect your time, so is that enough detail in my example, or would you like to learn more?” It’s a way for you to ‘read the room's temperature’ if body language isn’t necessarily giving it away.

High Energy decision-makers are emotional beings with an extroverted and dynamic approach to communication and life – exactly how you would imagine the interviewer to be because of the description. They usually try their best to make the interviewee feel good during the interview. With High Energy decision-makers, energy is the time to tune into your more emotionally charged and inspiring “storytelling” tactics. Speaking boldly with passion will be your best approach during your time with them – they want to feel “charged" and/or “energized” by your conversation – they have to “feel” that you are the right fit and will usually know it/make a decision in their mind right away, on the spot. This is the perfect person to focus on hitting those “emotional hot buttons” with because that is how they most connect with you. Using communications/interview answers that involve statements starting with “I feel…” would be a great platform to create connection magic.

Congenial decision-makers have a high likeability factor with a people-pleasing-focused communication style and approach when making connections. They avoid confrontation or making others feel uncomfortable – they will go out of their way to ensure you are happy and like them. With that said, you might not pick up on/know how they truly feel in the moment because they will make sure to keep things copacetic and positive during your time together. This is a perfect example of when you should really think of asking more interview questions so you can have more clarity as to how the interview went – a great question to ask a Congenial decision-maker to know at the moment how things are really going is, “according to our time together, do you see me an ideal fit for this role?” Mind you, they might possibly get a “yes” as a response – so immediately following their ‘yes,’ you can ask as a follow-up question, “wonderful, then is it safe to say I have your endorsement?” It’s highly unlikely (no matter what decision-making style) that someone will be untruthful when you ask that follow-up question.

Analytical decision-makers really think everything through thoroughly! They are not one to make haste decisions or “feel” their way through an interview – similar to the Pragmatic decision-makers, they are all about facts, but they are also not in a rush to make decisions because, above all else, they want to make sure they don’t make a mistake or the “wrong decision.” Where the Pragmatic can make swift decisions once they have the puzzle pieces, an Analytical will still want to take a look at the information presented again, just to make sure! Because that is the case, you can use that methodology to your advantage and do your part in being a part of their thought process while you have them there in front of you. Great questions to ask an Analytical decision-maker are, “is there anything you would like more clarification on or any other examples I can provide you?”, “I understand the importance of our time together, so are there any questions you have about my resume or the answers I provided so far?”, “Would you like more detail in reference to any job roles and my achievements? I would be happy to extrapolate on anything”.

Now that we’ve learned a little bit about the power of mirroring and the 4 different decision-making styles, let’s talk about the actual tool you can use when answering the question, “What would you like to be compensated for this position? What salary did you have in mind for this role?”

This is where researching is your absolute best friend when you want to give a solid answer – this is where you use the Compensation Model. First, you look at what the salary range is like geographically, then what it is company-specific, and you also take into consideration your personal requirements (your experience, education, skills, the value you bring to the table!) – then voila, you have an educated response and solid range backed with research and confidence.

One thing to always keep in mind from the moment you walk into an interview to when you begin talking numbers ($$$) – this is a partnership – it’s a two-way street, and you treat these conversations as such. Hiring professionals want it to feel like a conversation. They like to be surprised with true authenticity and walk away knowing that you genuinely care…that’s what causes you to be memorable and that ideal candidate they just can’t wait to learn more about.


Click here: Calendly - Vera Savany-Hughes, CPRW, CEIP, BACOM, to set up a discovery call with Vera Savany-Hughes, a Certified Interview Employment Professional with a passion for identifying your strengths and helping you learn to communicate your brilliance effectively.