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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Do social with style - 'The social style matrix'

Hi, I’m Chris and I’m a student at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. I take a keen interest in employability and graduate attributes and write a blog on this area; chrismilborrow.tumblr.com

I’d like to take this opportunity to share my experiences and thoughts having spoken with graduate employers and recruitment and HR specialists and I hope you find some value in what I have to say.
I’d like to start by asking a question. Why do employers use interview in order to select candidates?

I believe there are two main reasons.
We all have a tendency of coming across very confidently on a CV.  If we didn’t, then we wouldn’t even get to interview stage. As a result, we may over exaggerate our skills and experiences and, let’s face it, going on CV content almost everyone I know describes themselves as an ‘Ambitious leaders with the ability to work well on their own and in a team.’

And, you know what, we all probably do demonstrate skills similar to one another, it’s very public knowledge that organisations are looking for a certain skill set and I’m not disputing that a large number of applicants have, and can demonstrate, these skills in some context or another.

This brings me nicely onto reason number two.
The main reason why recruiters use interviews is because a huge part of any professional role is based on interpersonal relationships and how we interact with others.

Employers don’t want CV writers; they want driven, impactful individuals who are going to add value to the organisation.

I have come to realise, having gone through recruitment processes and having worked for a short time in recruitment marketing, that recruiters are looking for students who not only have the skills but that can also communicate them effectively.

This being the case, I believe that knowing who you are communicating with and, importantly, what kind of person you are and how you communicate, is vitally important in being successful in both interviews and eventually when you are in a job.

While participating briefly in the Southwestern Advantage sales internship programme in the summer of 2012, I was introduced to the ‘Social style matrix.’ (Below)


What the social style matrix can be used for is to begin to understand your attributes and your personality traits. Have a look at the grid and ask yourself, ‘Where do I fit? Am I assertive? Am I responsive?’  

Become self-aware and tailor how you interact with others.

When we begin to understand the kind of people we are, the easier it is to begin to identify things in other people. We are all different, have different skills, we respond to different things. By knowing your audience, by knowing how they act, how they generally think and how they respond, you can begin to tailor the way you work and communicate to achieve and to avoid conflict.

I definitely found this matrix very useful in building rapport with others and tailoring how I approached different situation, including interviews. I hope you can gain something from it too.

I really appreciate you taking the time to read this blog post and would welcome any feedback and am happy to connect with anyone to discuss and share experiences and knowledge. Find me on twitter @ChrisMilborrow or Tumblr chrismilborrow.tumblr.com and on LinkedIn and Facebook.