It’s not enough to rehearse answers to hypothetical interview questions that will show your well-rounded experience and abilities. If you want to get an offer in your next interview, you’ll need to build rapport with your interviewer(s). An interview can be intimidating and stressful if you try to navigate the waters relying solely on your instincts. Instead, use these tips and you’ll find yourself building the kind of natural rapport you need to snag the job!
Before the Interview:
1. Commonalities: A bit of research before your interview is always recommended but, if you know who your interviewer(s) will be, try to research them as well as the company itself. If you find any commonalities between your life or work experiences, keep these in mind for your interview the next day. Establishing common ground can be a great way to quickly build rapport!
2. Current Events: From press releases to other open job positions, there are a lot of sources you can use to find out information about the company prior to your interview. If any of this seems relevant to bring up during the interview—whether through a question or an anecdote—showing your interest in the company your interviewer represents will help them open up to you.
3. Questions: It’s always a good idea to come up with a set of questions you want answered during your interview. Make sure these questions are not something you could just find the answer to online and ask them throughout the interview to establish a back-and-forth conversation. The less one sided your interview is the more likely it is that you will build strong rapport!
During the Interview:
1. Body language: Most people will recommend that you subtly mirror your interviewer’s body language to create physical commonality between the two of you and build rapport. This is excellent advice to follow, unless your interviewer’s body language is projecting a negative, closed off attitude. Some interviewers will have their arms crossed, they will slump in their chairs or even forget to create eye contact. If this is the case you need to counteract their negative body language with positive smiles, open posture and great eye contact.
2. Listen Closely: Rapport is all about establishing a great back-and-forth conversation, rather than having your interview default to a one-sided question and answer session. Any good conversation relies on listening as much as it relies on speaking. To show you’re listening you can use body language cues such as nodding or leaning in. You can also repeat a portion of your interviewer’s question or previous statement before giving your answer or expanding on that point.
3. Inject Your Personality: If you’re a nervous, sweaty mess in your interview who is only projecting stiffness, you’ll never get your personality across! Make sure to take deep breaths and stay relaxed throughout the process so you can inject your personality—your interests, your sense of humor, etc.—throughout the interview. This will let your interviewer see who you really are and help them figure out if you’d fit in well at their organization.
After the Interview
1. Contact Info: Keep the rapport going by getting all of your interviewers’ contact information! Grabbing a business card from every person who interviews you allows you to signal your continued interest in the position and keeps the rapport going beyond the initial interview process.
2. Handshake: Ending a great, rapport-building interview with a handshake is like the frosting on a cake. You could eat it without, but why would you? Maintain eye contact and shake the hands of everyone who interviewed you before you leave to end the interview on the right note.
3. Gratitude: But wait, it’s not over yet! When you get home you can keep that rapport going by emailing thoughtful thank-you letters to everyone who interviewed you. Express gratitude and thank them for taking the time to consider you for the position. If you can, mix a bit more of your personality or previous conversation into the content of the letter and you’ll reaffirm that previously created rapport!
If you want to have a successful interview, you’ll need to think of it as a conversation instead of a one-sided question and answer session. Follow all of the aforementioned tips to establish great rapport and snag that job offer you’ve been waiting for!