Ever wonder why, during an interview, you can’t seem to get your message across, you don’t seem to connect with the interviewer, or you have a series of miscommunications?


Each individual may be filtering the interview from a totally different perspective. Put more simply, the “filter” through which we speak or listen may be tuned to a different frequency. Eric Berne, famous psychiatrist called it TRANSACTION ANALYSIS. Berne said we talk and/or listen through three different filters:


Parent Filter: This individual speaks and listens as a parent would speak or listen. Substitute the word parent with teacher, interviewer or boss. They may “talk down” to others and speak through the language of a higher authority.


Adult Filter: This individual speaks and listens as an objective, calm and analytical communicator. They tend to speak or listen in direct response to the here and now. They talk in parallel to what they are thinking through the language of rationality and logic.


Child Filter: This individual speaks and listens reactively, is spontaneous, will show passion but lacks the objectivity of an Adult Filter. They tend to be impulsive in their behavior, which could end up as a shouting-match or laughing-spell through the language of emotion.


Once you understand these different filters, you can more easily understand the person with whom you interview, and then adjust your responses to get the most effective communications at the highest level possible. Here are some examples:


An interview where both parties are communicating out of their own Parent Filter will tend to talk past each other. Both are trying to make their points to the other without listening to the other point of view. Parents, teachers and bosses who use this communications method, may fail to get the best result. Switch to an Adult Filter for a more favorable outcome of the interview.


An interview where both parties are communicating out of their Adult Filter will tend to be objective, calm and problem-solve the content in an unemotional way. Both will seem like Mister Spock, from the planet Vulcan, from the television series “Star Trek”. Add a bit of humor (Child) and a little strategy (Parent) to optimize the interview.


An interview where both parties are communicating out of their own Child Filter will be spontaneous, uninhibited and passionate, but will react to another Child Filter the way children often do, on impulse. Move out of the Child Filter as soon as possible. It’s unproductive.


As an exercise, take each filter and pair it with each of the other two. Develop the best strategy-solution for each combination in order to create the most productive interview.


Transactional Analysis can be used as an effective job interviewing technique. Understanding the filters through which we see the world can provide a very fruitful interview for you.


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