Qualified. Interviewed. Rejected. Why?
They told me I was the most qualified for the job but they didn’t hire me. Why?
The One Secret to Interview Success
Chances are you missed the one secret ingredient to interview success.
What happened? Or didn’t?
Have you noticed some people have a knack for connecting? They always seem to be heard in meetings, liked by their peers, subordinates and bosses. And, they always seem to land the job of their dreams. You want to hate them, but they’re just so darned likeable. Is their secret sauce really such a secret? Maybe they’ve mastered “Rapport.” Good news! It is a skill that can be learned.
What is rapport?
The word rapport derives from the French verb rapporter, translated as “to return or bring back”. The English dictionary definition is “a sympathetic relationship or understanding.”
Rapport is the connection between two people, the spoken and unspoken words that say “we’re on the same page.” You know you’ve established rapport when you engage comfortably with someone.
With true rapport you can successfully connect with anyone, anywhere, regardless of age, gender, ethnic background, mood or situation.
Why build rapport?
This skill is never more important than in an interview where the interviewer’s immediate positive impression of you is essential. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what position you hold – knowing how to build rapport can bring you countless opportunities. Once you’ve established rapport, they will want to help you – even if you don’t get the job.
How to build rapport with anyone quickly!*
1. Stay in the same body position as they do.
(ex. Are they leaning back, feet outstretched and spread apart? Or do they sit up straight at the edge of their chair?)
2. Match their gestures in a similar way.
(ex. What are their hand gestures? What is their eye contact? Are their facial expressions expressive or flat?)
3. Match their tone of speaking.
(ex. Are they soft-spoken or loud? Variable or monotone?)
4. Match their speed of speaking.
(ex. Are they fast and enthusiastic or slow and relaxed, with lots of pauses?)
5. Use their same choice of words if possible.
(ex. Creativity or problem solving? Opportunity or challenge?)
6. Match their breathing with yours if possible.
(ex. Long, deliberate and deep, fast and furious?)
7. Listen for their values and emulate them in your speech and actions back to them.
(ex. Do they stress flexibility or sticking with the plan?
*List courtesy of master rapport-builder and professional trainer Thomas Caddy.
Job interview rapport building tips.
• Your First Impression. You have a fraction of a second to make your first impression (for more pre-interview prep tips on this, click here). Focus on your appearance. How you dress is a key component to making a great first impression and to building rapport. Learn as much as you can about the company dress code before the interview and dress accordingly. Your handshake, eye contact, smile and body posture all contribute to a positive first impression and to the establishment of rapport. If you look and act like you already belong there, the subtle, unspoken process of building rapport will have begun.
• Research the company and industry for news and current events. Being familiar with and asking questions about the company and industry’s current events are topics will help you build rapport. Your sincere interest in the company showcases a commonality with the interviewer. More in common = the more they will like you = more rapport.
• Meaningful Small talk counts. Rapport is all about finding alignment or common ground, claims Ronnie Noize, The Marketing Coach. “Both introverts and extroverts can build rapport; they just tend to do it differently. Extroverts may tend to rely on small talk to build rapport. Introverts, who generally shy away from small talk, may rely more on asking questions, listening carefully then responding.” Checking out the interview panel’s LinkedIn profiles and Googling will help you to find common ground (interests, hobbies, educational background, etc.). Opening and closing your interviews with common ground helps establish a stronger bond and rapport.

Of course the purpose of the interview is to determine if your skills and experience are a match for the open position. Interviewers are still people, and people like to hire people that they like. Focusing on building rapport with your interviewer or interview panel ensures you will be heard. It is your one secret to interview success.
Posted by one of my successful clients
Connie Dorigan, CPC
Dorigan + Associates
The Top Talent Recruiters
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