Establishing Rapport with the Interviewer
Making a positive impression on the interviewer will go a long way, in some ways it can help you get the job.
So, connecting with the interviewer is important. This requires more than just smooth talking, dressing sharply, dropping names of high-profile contacts in the industry, or just plain being polite. It helps if your personalities click and you both have some common interests. But you don’t need to rely on mutual interests to establish a good rapport with the interviewer. A way to generate good vibes is to listen attentively. However, this does not mean that you need to ask them about their personal likes and dislikes.
Use empathetic body language.
HANDSHAKE: Your handshake should be firm but not too aggressive. Extend your hand so it is perpendicular to the floor. If you extend your hand with your palm facing down, you indicate that you need to be in control. If you extend your hand with your palm facing up, you can appear overly docile. Try extending your hand with your palm relatively flat, so that you offer to make full contact with the other person’s hand. If you cup your hand, you indicate that you distrust the other person. Avoid a fist bump in the interview since this is reserved for someone who is close to the interviewer. Keep it professional.
POSTURE: Leaning back shows boredom or gives the impression of insolence. It is better to sit up straight and lean forward slightly, facing the interviewer directly. Crossing your arms in front of you may indicate that you are defensive. Try to keep your arms open, even if your legs are crossed.
EYE CONTACT: Eye contact is crucial. Look the person in the eye when you are speaking and listening. To avoid giving the interviewer the impression that you are bored, look away to the left or right.
Mirror the interviewer.
If you notice the interviewer is smiling, smile back. But if the interviewer smokes, don’t light up. Mirroring works not only for behaviors, but also verbal statements. Again, this listening tool should be used with discretion. Too much can be awkward, so be alert and watch for your cue.
Ask clarifying questions.
If you do not fully understand a question, ask for clarification. Doing so signals to the interviewer that you are interested in what he or she is saying. These questions can be tricky, however If you ask questions that seek clarification on issues that are tangential to the interviewer’s communication, they derail the person’s train of thought and cause people to become defensive or withdrawn. Yet asking questions that ask for repeat information will give the interviewer the impression that you are not paying attention. Before interrupting the interviewer to clarify a point, make sure that you are listening attentively. Follow the train of thought of the speaker, and then pose a question.
Ask open-ended questions.
Open-ended questions allow the interviewer to respond as he or she desires, and also demonstrates that you are open to what the interviewer says. The responses might challenge your assumptions, so they mitigate miscommunication. They also allow you to steer the interview in a way that gives you information about the company and job. The information you gather from these questions will assist you in evaluating the interviewer and the company.