Tips for Connecting With Your Interviewer
There's a lot that determines your success in an interview, from how you answer questions to the questions you ask, from the quality of your resume and portfolio to your timeliness and manners.
How To Build Rapport During a Job Interview
Though it's always important to be polite and professional, establishing a rapport with your interviewer is also a key to success. If an interviewer feels an affinity for you as a person, he or she may feel positive about hiring you as an employee.
After all, employers look for recruits who interact effectively with co-workers, clients, and supervisors, and of course, everyone wants to work in an environment that is pleasant to be in each day.
If you fail to connect with your interviewer during the interview, he or she might assume that you might not interface well with others on the job if you were hired, so it's important to make a good impression.
Accordingly, your interview preparation should extend beyond what you say during your meeting. You should also think about how you'll relate to your interviewer on a personal level. The following suggestions will help you optimize the interpersonal component of your interview performance.
12 Tips for Connecting With Your Interviewer
- Start the interview the right way. Greet your recruiter warmly as if he or she were a person you were looking forward to meeting. Say something like "So glad to meet you" as you exchange a firm but not crushing handshake. Here’s how to introduce yourself at a job interview.
- Be friendly and personable. Smile and exude personal warmth whenever appropriate during your meeting. Be genuine in your interactions and express positive emotions about the position and the company. Interviewers are more likely to view affable candidates favorably, so it's important to be enthusiastic and optimistic.
- Show your interest in the person as well as the job. Show an interest in your interviewer during the warm-up phase of your interview by asking some questions about them. Making casual small talk before the substantive questioning begins can help to put your interviewer at ease. Questions like "How long have you worked here?," "Have you had other roles at the firm?," or "How long is your commute?" can help to draw out your interviewer.
- Make it personal. When appropriate, share some personal information about yourself. Revealing some of your outside interests or background information can help an interviewer relate to you as a person.
- Remember good posture. Sit up straight and lean slightly forward towards your interviewers to engage them and show an interest in what they are saying.
- Eye contact is important. Make frequent but not piercing eye contact with the interviewer to demonstrate that you are listening carefully.
- Show your interest. Nod and actively show that you are listening by saying things like "I see," "I understand," "Sounds good," and follow up with questions when appropriate.
- Pay attention to everyone. In multiple interviewer situations, make sure to distribute your attention to each person. It is important to establish a positive rapport with each interviewer, not just with those whom you feel a natural chemistry. Here’s how to handle a group interview.
- Show that you get it. Paraphrase important or complex messages delivered by your interviewer to demonstrate that you understand her point.
- Ask about company culture. Demonstrate your interest in the company culture, whether by asking a follow-up question or initiating the question on your own, so that your interviewer sees you're keen to become part of the team. For example, you might ask, "What's camaraderie like between employees?," "Do coworkers ever get together outside of the office?," or, "Do you offer any team bonding opportunities or excursions?"
- Thank your interviewers. Express your sincere gratitude for their time and the insight that they have provided as you complete the interview.
- Don’t wait to follow up. Follow up immediately with a thank you email or note, or even a phone call, and mention specific reasons why the interviewer was helpful. Include that you enjoyed meeting with them and hoped that you would have the opportunity to work together. If you have met with multiple interviewers, personalize your communications by adding something unique to each email.