Building Rapport in Job Interviews

January 5, 2016

By Christy Fox, Marketing Specialist

A new year brings new opportunities to make positive first impressions, whether it’s with new clients, networking connections, or with job interviewers. Especially in job interviews, hiring managers are looking for a certain skillset, but research is showing that building rapport is becoming increasingly as important. This could be described as communication that develops trust, chemistry, and establishes good relationships.

In a recent study led by Brian W. Swider, Georgia Institute of Technology, 163 mock interviewers were rated by competency after introductory small talk with an interviewer. The study showed that those who sparked a sense of trust with the interviewer received higher overall scores than those who did just as well on the interview, but did not build the same chemistry as the others (Wall Street Journal).
Although interviews can be nerve-wracking, it is important for candidates to show personality and try to build chemistry with the interviewer. Here are 3 tips to building rapport during an interview:

1. First and foremost, remember basic interview etiquette. Make sure that your appearance is appropriate for your interview and the job itself with how you dress and accessorize. Aside from dress, be aware of your body language and what you might be communicating with it. Make eye contact, smile, and avoid sitting with legs and arms crossed. Additionally, be polite and genuine when answering interview questions.

2. Find common ground with the interviewer. Making small talk is the key to building rapport, especially by finding shared experiences the two of you have in common. This can be done by actively listening to the interviewer, or simply paying attention to your surroundings. For example, you may walk into your interviewer’s office and notice that you are a fan of the same sports team, which immediately gives you a way to make a connection with him or her. Take note to analyze the situation first and be certain that the hiring manager is open to small talk to avoid coming off as too familiar and casual.

3. Show your personality. Interviews are chances to show off your personality that may not be obvious on your cover letter or resume. Being prepared to discuss your experience with real-life examples of work related other activities you are involved in. Remember to be yourself in your interview no matter how nervous you might be, and have a sense of humor. It is important to showcase the qualities that will give the interviewer a sense of how it might be to work with you.

Building rapport is a useful skillset to have not only for interviews, but also a variety of professions. What strategies have you used to build rapport during interviews?

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