Personality matters during weather job interviews!

09   Jan ,  2012 | 5

In my previous post about “What is the opportunity cost to get a Masters or PHD in Meteorology”, I mentioned that in today’s economic climate experience matters more than a Masters or PHD degree.  Outside of education and experience, I also mentioned that one key factor that also matters to a weather employer is personality.

Much of what I’m about to say is common sense…but you’d be surprised how many people shy away from their personality during interviews in an effort to act “professional.”  Many times I’ve seen the candidate comes across as boring and “nerdy” in the interview…especially for private operational forecasting jobs.

Hiring managers need to get to know you on a personal level.   Why?  Because they want to see how you will fit in as part of the “team”.   And they also want to see if you’re just an overall nice guy or gal with no drama or baggage.  Yea it’s sort of like a relationship.   Because your hiring manager and/or meteorology team will probably be spending more time with you than with their own family.  Feel me so far?

So now the question is…how can you integrate more of your personality within weather interviews?  Let’s start with a couple of non-verbal cues you can show to a prospective hiring manager.

1) Always look into the person’s eyes when you’re speaking.  I know it can be a little weird sometimes…but it shows confidence.

2) Smile or Laugh on occasion.  The more opportunities you have to smile or laugh, the more it comes off that you have an easy-going personality.   It also gives the perception that you are “comfortable” in your current environment.  Obviously you can’t fake it and it has to be sincere :)

Again, these are just some soft non-verbal cues you can give to the hiring manager to make you appear like a cool, confident, easy-going person.

But there are ways to integrate your personality even during “questions” that relate to the meteorology job itself.   For example, let’s pretend an employer asks you the following question for a junior energy trade floor meteorologist role:

“Let’s say you have made an inaccurate forecast to a trader.  How would you handle it if they were upset?”

So let’s say you answer it by saying “I always try my best to make accurate forecasts.   But if I’m wrong, I’ll let the trader know that I’m sorry and it will never happen again.”   (And yes, I’ve heard this before during my interviews with candidates)

Wow, this says a lot about your personality.  Here’s what I would infer from this statement.

1) Saying “it will never happen again” is nonsense.  Of course you will be wrong again, it’s part of the weather forecasting business.

2) You come off as “defensive”.   I already gave you an example of making an inaccurate forecast, and the first thing you told me was “But my forecasts are usually accurate!”  It infers to me that you can’t take criticism well.

3) Telling the trader you’re “sorry”.  The trader wants to hear an explanation of what happened.  Not that you are “sorry”.   This is not elementary school.

Here’s what I would have liked to hear:

“I understand that each second matters on a trade floor…so I’d try to let them know of my inaccurate forecast as soon as possible.  And if the trader was still upset with me, I would tell them exactly why I missed the forecast and physically show them what went wrong.

And here’s what I would now infer:

1) It tells me that you did your research and read the FreshAJ blog :) It infers you understand the fast changing dynamics of the trade floor.

2) It tells me that your customer service/communication skills are great because you care enough about your clientele that you would physically show them what went wrong.

3) It infers that you are not afraid of owning up to your mistake.

Bottom line, everything you say in your weather interview reveals your personality.  And that’s why you have to be cognizant of how you answer your questions during the interview process. How you act in certain situations…what you like to do for fun, how you dress, or your etiquette during lunch tells a lot about your character and personality.  Your goal is to leave a lasting impression on your interviewer.   Remember that next time you have your next weather interview!

If you have any thoughts or comments, would love to hear them. (Photo credit:

Posted by AJ on January 9, 2012

  • Curtis

    I’m printing out these tips….now I want to read the freshaj blog about how to get an interview, because those are few and far between these days :) or maybe its in my resume ;) anyway… can I get MORE interviews????

    • Anonymous

      Hey Curtis, sure thing. I’ll be talking more about resume tips this week…and will also be expanding the FreshAJ blog to help students like yourself hopefully get more interviews. Stay tuned on the details!

    • Brian Hughes

      Curtis, while a good resume is essential, these days, it’s all about networking. I recommend a book called “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazi. Find your local AMS chapter and participate, also join Meetup and find some groups outside of weather and begin developing those relationships. Toastmasters is a great organization to develop a professional network and learn public speaking in a relaxed atmosphere. Order or make some business cards, always have them ready to hand out.

      • Anonymous

        Brian is absolutely right. I’ve talked about “building relationships” in many of the previous posts….it’s essentially what you have to do in order to get recognized. I’ll be writing a post on networking here shortly. Thanks for your input Brian! And also appreciate the book recommendation!

  • SPLbeater

    Good post AJ, your blogs have helped tremendously as I figure out my career with meteorology. Keep up the good work! :D