handshake - interviewIt’s not always the best candidate who gets the job. Often it’s the person who interviews well.

People hire people they like. So, while your skills and experience are important elements to securing a job offer, your ability to build rapport in an interview is just as important. If you learn how to build rapport and engage with your interviewer, you are more likely to be successful.

All employers are asking themselves the same questions:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you do the job?
  • Will you be a good team/cultural fit?
  • Can they manage you?
  • Can they afford you?

Good rapport can help them have a good feeling about the answers to these questions. Here are a few tips on how to build that critical rapport and give yourself the best possible chance of landing a job offer.


1.First Impressions Are Crucial

You want your interviewer to have an immediate gut reaction that they like you. Remember positive body language — smile, make eye contact and lean in when you want to really engage. You are appealing to the interviewer on a subconscious level.


2. Matching and Mirroring

I’ve learned this technique in a sales training, and many salespeople certainly use it. If you do very subtle occasional mirroring of the interviewer’s posture, speech pattern or tone of voice for just a few moments, it will unconsciously make them feel that you’re fully engaged with them.

For example, if they lean back slightly in their chair, you can briefly do the same. You could also copy the pitch or volume of their voice. I tried this for the first time many years ago when I worked in sales for a small book publishing house. I went to a meeting with someone who spoke very slowly, so I did the same. Had I continued with my usual fast talking, I’d have never been able to connect with this person.


3. Use the Person’s Name Whenever Possible

People like to hear their own name. If possible, learn the names of your interviewers, shake their hands and address them personally by name, both upon your arrival and again when you leave.

Keep it businesslike, though — building rapport doesn’t mean you’re looking for a new best friend.


4. Take a Genuine Interest in the Interviewer

Most people tend to like talking about themselves, so ask some follow-up questions and show genuine interest. Check out the interviewer on LinkedIn. Do you have people in common? What does their LinkedIn profile tell you about them, their interests, likes and dislikes?

Any chance you get to indicate commonality will give the interviewer the impression you could be a potential friend in the future. If there is a similarity of interests, the interviewer will be inclined to move you up the shortlist.


5. Ask Intelligent Questions

If you want others to like you, you have to listen to them, and one way you can show you’re listening is by asking intelligent questions.

Before you go in for an interview, look over the company’s website for news events. Most company websites have a media/press section, but also look for most recent information on Google News. Did the company you’re interviewing with just sign a significant partnership or launch a new product? The more you know, the more it seems that you’re on top of what’s going on at the company or industry, and this shows you have a genuine interest in the company.

Some great questions to ask:

  • What are your most important goals for the next six months or year?
  • What work issues keep you up at night?
  • What are the main challenges of your department right now?
  • What would you expect me to achieve in the first 6 – 12 months here?
  • Describe your ideal candidate to me. Why are those qualities important to you?

Asking questions like these makes the interviewer more likely to remember you over other candidates.


Parting Words

Finally, be courteous and enthusiastic; show yourself off as open, confident and honest. Listen well and don’t relax too much.

Other applicants may have similar skills and experience, but if your presentation, personality and approach are different and better, you will be the star candidate. (Click here to tweet this thought.)

Interviewers want to know how suitable you are for their role, so let them know you are someone who can work well with the team and you will be on course to ace the interview.

What are some ways you foster rapport with an interviewer? Share in the comments!

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