How to Build a Real Connection With Your Interviewer in 3 Easy Steps

By Chelsea Babin

When it comes to building a real connection with your interviewer, it’s as easy as one, two, three! Unfortunately, being qualified for the job isn’t always enough to get you the position. But, if you build a real connection with your interviewer, they’re more likely to fight for you or pick you over other qualified candidates. No, you don’t need to establish a life-long connection or become their best friend, but you do need to do these 3 things.

1. Listen and Show You’re Listening: Most people focus all of their preparation on what they’re going to say during an interview. When the time comes, it may be difficult to truly listen to your interviewer and show you’re listening if you’re busy thinking about what you’re going to say next. The best interviews feel like a conversation, a back-and-forth exchange that lets you get to know more about the company and lets the interviewer get to know more about you. That’s why it’s so important that you listen and show you’re listening by asking thoughtful questions, asking them to expand on a point they just made, and asking questions related to what they were just talking about. Additionally, you can show you’re listening through body language like leaning slightly forward and nodding your head when appropriate.

2. Show You’re Not a Square Peg in a Round Hole: A lot of companies are looking beyond qualifications and experience and hiring for personality and company culture fit. While you should still provide anecdotes that demonstrate your experience and relevant skills, you should also focus some of your interview time on why you think you’d be a good fit for this specific organization. To be able to do this effectively, you need to research the company before you ever step foot in the interview and ask questions during the interview process about their company culture. After all, you can’t demonstrate the fact that you’re not a square peg in a round hole if you have little or no idea about daily life at this organization. To demonstrate that you’d fit in while simultaneously building a connection with your interviewer, take your answers one step further. Don’t just say you want to work at this company because they’re doing innovative things, work a brief story into your response that shows your interest in innovative projects in the past and relate that to the work you’d be doing at this organization. Telling a story is the most effective way to simultaneously show you’re not a square peg in a round hole and establish a relationship with your interviewer.

3. A Thoughtful Thank You Note: Sending a thank you note is a thoughtful gesture but recruiters and online interview preparation articles regularly recommend it. Take your thank you note one step further! Thank them for their time and make a direct reference to something they said in an interview, or something the two of you discussed if you went off on a tangent about a shared interest. Taking the time to write the thank you note and send it promptly is good but adding that extra step of personalization establishes more of a connection between you and the interviewer than if you’d sent a generic thank you note or none at all.

Make it clear you’re the best candidate for the job and get the job offer you’ve been searching for. If you build a real connection with your interviewer, they’re more likely to fight for you over other qualified candidates. And it’s as easy as following these three steps!