Chances are that you’re more nervous about your interview than the hiring manager, but that doesn’t mean that they should do all the work during the interview. Interviews are a two way process, you must sell your skills and expertise and position yourself as a good fit for the role, and the interviewer should sell the organisation to you.
Building rapport in an interview starts with arriving on time and being dressed appropriately for the organisation you’re meeting with. If you turn up in jeans and a t-shirt, while your interviewer is wearing a suit, there is already a noticeable difference between you and it could create an awkward atmosphere, possibly hindering your chances of being offered the job.
Following the below techniques may help you to build rapport in an interview:
1. Mirroring body language
Where possible, subtly imitate your interviewer’s body language to show you’re in line with them. So, if they’re leaning forward to engage with you, try not to slouch down in your chair. You don’t have to copy every single gesture and movement the interviewer makes (it would probably look quite strange anyway), but it will show you’re likeminded.
2. Listening to what’s being said
Make sure you’re paying attention to everything the interviewer says to you; mishearing or misunderstanding might mean you answer the wrong question, which can be embarrassing. Listening is important for connecting with your interviewer; don’t spend all your time thinking about what you’re going to say next or you’ll miss what they’ve said to you.
3. Avoiding sensitive issues
Don’t talk politics or religion. Unless you’re interviewing for a role in either sector, there is no need for anyone in an interview room to know those details about each other. You also risk offending your interviewer by discussing personal issues like these.
4. Answering honestly
The best way to build rapport with someone is to be yourself; by answering honestly you won’t need to keep a check of what you’ve said and your interview will feel far more natural, making it easier to talk.
5. Making eye contact
Keeping eye contact with your interviewer is an essential part of building rapport; it shows you’re engaged, listening and on board with what they’re saying. Avoiding eye contact can look shifty too; you don’t want to make the interviewer suspicious!
Building rapport is just one element of interviewing well, don’t forget to demonstrate your skills and experience too. Hopefully, rapport will build up naturally over the course of the interview so you won’t have to concentrate on this the whole time, but remembering the above techniques may help you create a friendly and professional atmosphere.
If you’ve got an interview coming up, have you made sure you know how to answer competency based questions?