Are you preparing for an upcoming interview? Congratulations! You’ve most likely put in a lot of effort to get to this point. Now that you’re getting ready for your interview, you might wonder how to make the discussion less awkward and more enjoyable.
While it might seem like the interviewer has all of the control, you have a part to play in how the interview flows as well. Since this is your first opportunity to truly interact with anyone from the company, it’s an excellent opportunity to begin building relationships.
And the better the rapport is during the interview, the easier it will be for the hiring manager to picture you on the team.
Building Rapport During Your Interview
Building rapport is the art of having a harmonious relationship where the conversation flows easily. Helping to create that kind of interaction makes you a memorable candidate that stands out as someone professional and easy to work with.
Here’s what you need to know about building rapport during your interview.
1. Research Thoroughly
Have you thoroughly researched the company and the interviewer? If not, that should be your first step. Building rapport with your interviewer starts long before you walk through the door.
Most people appreciate it when you are interested in them as individuals, so, if you can, try to find out some information about the person interviewing you. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for this, as you can usually get a sense of their career journey and what they’re interested in professionally.
You’ll be able to ask more relevant and thoughtful questions, as well as highlight any commonalities you have. Additionally, looking at the company’s website and social media pages can also give you some insights into the company culture and what they value.
2. Utilize Open and Friendly Body Language
First impressions are everything. When you meet your interviewer, you want to ensure you come across as confident, professional, and likable.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to give them a firm handshake, smile, and maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. By making an effort to appear open and friendly, you’ll be more likely to put your interviewer at ease and establish a good rapport.
Also, if you tend to talk more quickly when you’re nervous, make a concerted effort to speak slowly and clearly. It’ll help you project confidence and show you’re comfortable in the situation.
3. Practice Active Listening
Would you consider yourself a good listener? It’s easy to focus all your energy on preparing answers to curveball questions. If you find that you’re starting to answer the question before the interviewer has finished asking it, you might need to slow down and practice your active listening skills.
Active listening is a skill that’s invaluable in any professional setting, but it’s vital during an interview. When your interviewer is talking, give them your full attention and resist the urge to start planning your response in your head.
Instead, try to listen to what they’re saying and ask clarifying questions to understand what they’re asking. Next, take a conscious breath before answering, so you can slow your response and give a thoughtful answer.
4. Create a Conversation
When answering questions in an interview, it’s crucial to sound friendly, conversational, and enthusiastic. You don’t want to regurgitate the information they already have from your resume.
Instead, use this opportunity to elaborate on your skills and experience, giving the interviewer a better sense of who you are. While you want to be mindful of the time and keep your answer targeted, you can expand it a bit to provide context around your answers.
For example, if you’re asked about your favorite role and why, you might answer:
I would have to say my favorite role was my first role out of college. I worked for a small business as a marketing coordinator.
Instead, you could add more details and context that help them to relate to you better:
I’ve enjoyed all of the roles I’ve had so far, but if I had to choose one, I would say my favorite role was my first role out of college. I worked as a marketing coordinator for a small company and loved the creative freedom I had to develop new campaigns.
I enjoyed working with such a close-knit team. Everyone was so supportive and willing to help out, making coming to work every day enjoyable.
5. Avoid Negative Language
In any professional setting, it’s important to avoid using negative language. This is even more true in an interview. You want to come across as someone upbeat and positive, even in difficult situations.
So, when asked about past work experiences, don’t dwell on your challenges. Instead, focus on how you overcame them and what you learned. By doing so, you’ll show that you’re resilient and adaptable, which are two highly valued qualities in any workplace.
6. Be Enthusiastic About the Company and Role
One of the best ways to build rapport with your interviewer is to express how excited you are about the company and the role you’re interviewing for. You’ll highlight that you’ve done your research and are genuinely interested in working for the organization.
If you can, mention what drew you to the company and why you think you’d be a good fit for the role. As you establish a connection with your interviewer, you’ll set yourself apart from other candidates.
7. Ask Relevant Questions
Do you have a list of questions ready to ask the interviewer? To make a good impression, asking thoughtful, relevant questions that show you’re engaged in the conversation and genuinely interested in the role is essential.
For example, instead of asking self-focused questions about vacation days or salary, ask questions that will give you a better sense of the company culture or the day-to-day responsibilities of the job.
By asking investigative questions, you’ll build rapport with your interviewer and get the information you need to decide if the job is right for you. In turn, you’re showing the interviewer that you’re genuinely invested in learning if the role is a great fit.
Some great questions to ask include:
- What are the biggest challenges facing this department/company?
- What would you say is the company’s primary competitive advantage?
- What are the essential qualities for success in this role?
- Can you give me a brief overview of the team I’d be working with?
- What are some projects I could expect to work on in this role?
Questions like these will help establish a connection with your interviewer and demonstrate that you have the skills and qualities they’re looking for.
8. Follow Up After the Interview
Do you breathe a sigh of relief when you leave an interview and then wait a bit breathlessly for them to reach out? Your rapport and interview work are incomplete until you follow up to thank the interviewer for their time. And it’s an excellent opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position and how you would be a valuable asset to the team.
A simple thank-you note or email is usually sufficient. Just make sure to personalize it and mention something specific you discussed during the interview. You’ll create a more lasting impression and stay top of mind as they decide.
Relationship-Building During Your Interview
Building rapport during an interview is essential to landing the job. By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to establish a connection with your interviewer and demonstrate that you’re the right candidate for the role.
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