Top 5 Ways to Build a Great Rapport With Your Interviewer

Interviewee sitting at table and smiling

A successful job interview is inexact science. On the one hand, your candidacy rests on your ability – on your job application materials and in the interview – to communicate how your skills and experiences have prepared you for success in the role. On the other, whether or not you’re ultimately offered the job also depends a lot on the chemistry you have with the interviewers and whether or not they think you (and your personality) would be a good fit for their team and company culture.

In essence, a good interview often comes down to “likeability” and if you’re able to establish a friendly rapport with the interviewer(s). Remember, they are evaluating you, not just as a walking set of skills or experiences, but as a potential future colleague, collaborator, team member, and friend.

To establish a good connection with your interviewer and set yourself apart as a more memorable, likeable candidate, keep these 5 highly effective rapport-building techniques in mind as you interview:

1. Show interest and empathy

Give some thought before and during the meeting to the interviewer’s priorities and goals. Put yourself in their shoes and see if you can figure out the most important topics or skills they seem to be looking for in your candidacy. Craft your answers to meet their needs, and always keep their perspective in mind.

Also, take a personal interest in them or their experience with the organization by inquiring how long they have worked their or how they got their start. This will help you to establish a friendly rapport and show your interviewer you’re not just focused on yourself but interested in getting to know all the people who may end up being your future colleagues.

2. Observe and adjust

Mirroring the behavior or tone of the people you’re in conversation with is a common human behavior in social situations. Be especially mindful of this when you’re in the job interview. If the interviewer seems to be setting a more serious, formal tone and is not engaging in small talk, you don’t want to make any overt gestures to be funny or over-the-top. Likewise, if your interviewer seems more relaxed and conversational, taking an opposite tone that is more formal may give them the impression that you are cold or perhaps even a little rude. Know how to “read” your interviewer, and keep your demeanor, gestures, body language, and tone in line with the example the set.

3. Be genuine, be yourself

Of course, you don’t want to make such an effort to align your overall demeanor and presence with the interviewer that you completely suppress your own personality. Don’t let your nerves or any underlying insecurities get the better of you and prevent you from being yourself. Interviewers can tell very quickly when job candidates don’t seem genuine or transparent, so it’s always in your best interest to, ultimately, just be yourself.

4. Start a conversation

A great job interview should not be a one-sided interrogation where you spend the entire time firing off answers in a high-pressure Q&A situation. The best interviews are interactive exchanges, real back-and-forth conversations between yourself and the interviewer(s). One of the best ways to facilitate this is by asking great questions to the interviewer. And you also don’t have to hold off until the end of the interview to ask all of your questions. Look for ways to naturally raise your questions throughout the meeting to create more of an authentic conversation.

5. Show gratitude, enthusiasm

When looking for new hires, employers are not just interested in finding someone with the right skill set for the job. They also want an employee who wants to be there and who is excited and motivated to become a valuable member of their organization. Openly express your interest in the position or the company to the interviewer, giving specific reasons why you are so attracted to the position and the team. Also, always remember to communicate how much you appreciate the opportunity to be considered for the role and express how much you enjoyed meeting them and the interview. No more than 24 hours after the interview, send a personalized email or hand-written note to each person you interviewed with thanking them for their time and attention and also reiterating your enthusiasm for the job and the organization.

Back to news