Developing Your Career

Developing Your Career

Interviewing Tip: How to Quickly Establish Rapport

By Jean Baur on October 8, 2013

In the context of an interview, it’s important to establish a mutual sense of trust and interest. Doing so helps you to create rapport and allows both interviewer and interviewee to engage in a more authentic, open discussion.

How you do establish rapport? Some suggestions:

  • Be prepared. You’ve researched both the organization and the person you’re meeting with and want to demonstrate interest in both. Ask questions that allow your interviewer to share some of his or her experiences. This helps you to create a personal connection.
  • Take note of your surroundings. During the “ice-breaker” or initial questions, comment on something in the office – photos, awards, trophies – and ask a question or express interest. Look for commonalities that allow you to reveal something about yourself.
  • Dress professionally and conservatively. In a survey of 2,000 bosses, 77 percent aren’t looking for candidates to be fashionable and trendy. And, 65 percent of bosses say clothes could be a deciding factor when selecting one candidate over another.
  • Practice your handshake. This simple gesture has significant power – and has negatively influenced hiring decisions. While not a fair measure of your candidacy for a job, it shouldn’t be overlooked.  You can practice your technique and overcome “handshake errors.”
  • Focus on how you can meet the company’s needs. Gain clarity and understanding around the needs of the company so that you can share examples of past work experience that demonstrate how you will be able to help them achieve their goals.

Remember, people hire people they like so use your interpersonal skills to establish rapport and interview more effectively.

2 Responses to “Interviewing Tip: How to Quickly Establish Rapport”

    • Jean Baur

      Thanks, Ron for commenting on the blog. As a career coach who has prepared thousands of people in transition for their interviews, I’ve discovered that it’s often the little things that trip them up. So you’re right–nothing new, but hopefully these are good, practical reminders. The bottom line is people hire people they like, so we all have to attend to the details that make us likeable.


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