How to Interview by establishing rapport

Nobody has to teach you about establishing rapport. You’re already good at it. Because you’ve maintained relationships with your family, friends, and business associates over the years, people already like you. And so will job interviewers when you make establishing rapport with them your top priority.

Why establishing rapport is the key to acing interviews

While all interviewing tips are important, there’s no substitute for establishing rapport with job interviewers. Because rapport—having harmonious relationships—is how to be liked by prospective employers, establishing rapport needs to be your top priority at interviews, networking, and business meetings.

A survey by the human resources department of a Fortune 500 Company makes the point. The study shows that interviewers base hiring decisions on three questions they ask themselves as soon as you enter the room:

  1. Do I like this candidate?
  2. Will she fit in with the rest of my staff?
  3. And can he do the job?

Which of those three questions contributes most to winning interviews? The first. Getting interviewers to like you by establishing rapport is he key ingredient of a successful interview. The study also shows establishing rapport is even more important than your ability to perform on the job. To be liked is what sets you apart from other candidates.

An easy way to establish rapport with job interviewers

Be truthful and have a desire to help. You must translate with words and gestures, inflections and expressions that you’re happy to be there and have come to help. This attitude holds true whether you’re fact-finding at a networking meeting, telephoning to request an appointment, or interviewing for your next job.

To be shrewd, slick, or clever may produce some results. But it isn’t the straightforward approach that enables you to establish rapport with an interviewer who is as interested in getting facts as well as providing them.

Even when you find yourself being interviewed by a group of several executives (the dreaded group interview), it’s still a conversation between two people. That’s because you’ll talk to and establish rapport with one of those executives at a time.

Another way for establishing rapport at an interview is to connect with your interviewer almost as you would with a friend. You’ll make interviews more spontaneous when thinking of them as conversations.

Social conversations versus interviews

What do you think separates a social conversation from an interview? With the later you’re aiming towards a specific goal other than the mutual enjoyment of the conversation itself. Otherwise, there is the same give and take between you and interviewers as there is between you, friends, and business colleagues.

When you consider all of the interviewing tips that are available, establishing rapport with your interviewer is the best tip of all for making a winning impression and acing an interview.

You’ll learn more about how to establish instant rapport with job interviewers in the chapter titled, “How to Turn Interviews Into Job Offers” in my new book, “Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach.” Click here to order.

Copyright ©2016 by Ransom (Randy) Place

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.