Interview tips: How to build rapport

“Thank you for your application. We were really impressed with your background and would like to invite you to an interview at our office to tell you more about the role, and to get to know you a little better.”

So you’ve just received your invitation to an interview, that’s fantastic. The job sounded perfect for you, you have all the skills required and you’ve already prepared answers for any question that may be thrown your way. All that is left is to make a positive lasting impression.

If you’re at an interview, the interviewer already knows if you have the background needed to do the job from your CV. But so will all the other interviewees. What makes you stand out is one of the things they’re looking for, seeing is if they would like you to become part of their team and that you’re both on the same page.

The rapport you build during an interview can have a huge impact on the impression you’ll leave behind, so let’s have a look at where and how this can be done to make sure the interview goes as well as it can for you.

Before the interview

You actually have some homework to do before you step foot in the interview room. Researching a company before an interview is important, and will provide you with a good platform to build the interview from.

It can help you get to know the organisation and the current affairs that surround it, and will provide you with topics and subjects that you can discuss in the interview. Most companies will have news pages, blogs or social media available, and is often a good place to start.

Starting the interview

Once you understand that all interviewees should be fully equipped to perform the role, you start to realise how it’s your enthusiasm towards the job that can make you stand out.

Being relaxed and being yourself by using small talk at the start of an interview is a great way show you have a genuine interest in the role and the company. But remember, don’t be over friendly, or engage in a familiar way unless the interviewer initiates it. Think about some questions that relate to the interviewer or company; how long they’ve worked there, what is it they do, even physical observations about the location or building itself are good ways to show interest.

During the interview

There are a few things to keep in mind during the interview itself, but one stands out more than anything … BE ENGAGING. Interviews are not there to be a one-sided interrogation. Yes, the interviewer wants to make sure you’ve had the right real world experience, but make this a discussion, not a questioning.

Don’t be afraid to ask any questions or look for clarification, and create a two way conversation that allows you to put yourself in the best possible light while gaining a further insight into the role. Not only will this show you’re listening and want to see the bigger picture, but it’ll also allow you to gain a better understanding of what the interviewer is looking for from a candidate. If you think of a question but the timing isn’t right, make a note and ask during the natural pauses in the flow of the conversation, just make sure it doesn’t sound forced. But as with the small talk, make sure your questions are relevant to the role, business or the conversation itself.

Your personality and attitude is important, and could be a contributing factor in you getting the job. As long as you keep it appropriate, show your sense of humour … laugh and smile, it doesn’t have to be a tense situation. It’s worth mentioning body language here as well. While not strictly rapport, the way you hold yourself, your facial expressions, eye contact and how you sit are all gestures that can boost the interaction between you and the interviewer.

After the interview

The interview is over, all you have to do now is sit back and replay every moment of the interview until you hear the response right?

Well actually no, this is the perfect opportunity to use the relationship you’ve just built to once again show your enthusiasm to work for the organisation. Let the interviewer know how much you’ve enjoyed the conversation and how you’re looking forward to hearing from them.

Also ask them for their business card or e-mail address. A follow up e-mail to your interviewer that remarks on a topic from your conversation that ignited a further interest in the company is a great way to continue your discussion, and shows that you enjoyed the meeting.

We’ll be in touch

A CV is a fantastic place to show what skills you have and accomplishments you’ve achieved, but the interview is your chance to show your personality as well as your ability to do the job.

While you’ll never be able to guarantee you’ll get along perfectly with every interviewer, it’s about showing that you both think along the same lines and have the same professional outlook. If you build rapport in the right way, you’ll be able to make sure that no matter what, you left that positive lasting impression.

Prep to success!

If you've found this helpful, read our previous blog which talks through the best practices around getting ready for your interview.