Career advice

How to build rapport during your interview

Successful interviews usually happen when the interviewer and interviewee are, at some level, on the same page. Building rapport with your interviewer is easier when there is an apparent and mutual liking but because of the nature of the meeting, a personal connection is not essential. It is, however, necessary to leave a positive lasting impression, so creating professional rapport during your interview should be a primary focus. Try the tips outlined below to make a good impression.

Before the interview

It’s easier to build rapport with someone you have something in common with, so researching the company before the interview is important. Aside from the fact that you’ll come across as disinterested if you don’t know about the organisation you wish to work at, finding out some details and current issues will give you an easy topic to discuss during the interview.
Dress appropriately. If you’re interviewing at an organisation with a smart dress code, mirror your interviewer by wearing a suit.

Starting the interview

Although building rapport fairly swiftly is important, starting an interview in an overly familiar way can be perceived as inappropriate behaviour. Ask open-ended questions in order to encourage conversation. The ability to demonstrate genuine interest in a role and organisation in a friendly, relaxed way ensures that the interview starts on a positive note. On the basis that all candidates interviewing will probably have a similar skill set and level of experience, it’s often the person who seems the most enthusiastic the opportunity who makes the best impression.

During the interview

  • Where possible, try subtly mirroring your interviewer’s body language. It shouldn’t be obvious you’re trying to copy them, but people generally respond to those who seem to be engaged with them.
  • Listen to everything your interviewer says; echoing your interviewer’s responses shows that you’ve listened and understood. Repeat some of their comments back to them, and show you approve of what they say.
  • Avoid talking about politics or religion; it may cause awkwardness or even offence. Keep to topics that are related to the industry, organisation and role, unless the interviewer asks an informal question.

After the interview

Follow up with a thank you email, either directly to the interviewer or via your recruiter if you used an agency to secure the interview. This is a way of continuing the dialogue and shows that you enjoyed the meeting.
The basic aim of building rapport in your interview is to increase the impression that you think along the same lines as your interviewer, showing them that you share a similar professional outlook and way of working.
Don’t forget that while trying to build rapport in an interview you’re actually there to prove you can do the job too! Make sure to demonstrate your relevant skills and experience as banter alone rarely gets someone a job.