You finally get the call (or email) you’ve been waiting for and now you have to sort through the thoughts bombarding your brain. Questions such as: “What will I wear?”, “Will my answers leave a favorable impression and represent my ability to excel in the role?” and “Is someone better qualified than I?” should be answered as you prepare for your interview. There is a question, however, that many applicants overlook when they prepare. The question is: “How will I connect with those conducting the interview?” Although we communicate electronically via social media, via text, via email, etc., successful employment candidates will need to communicate effectively and professionally in person. Building rapport is an important first step during an interview because ideally, you want the interview to flow smoothly.
In an effort to connect with your interviewer, I would suggest the following:
*Flexibility: If your interview is scheduled for 30 minutes, plan to spend at least 60 minutes with the employer. In the event the previous interview lasts longer than anticipated, there is a chance yours could extend longer than 30 minutes as well. Depending on how well you interview, you may have the opportunity to meet employees within the organization. Should this happen, you want to be the candidate who says, “Yes, I have a few minutes to meet Mr. Lucas and his team” vs. the candidate who says “Unfortunately, I have another appointment.”
*Follow the interviewer’s lead: Let’s pretend you’re having a guest over for the first time and the guest walks in, has a seat and begins to speak BEFORE you offer a seat or initiate conversation. What would your impression be? The same holds true when you arrive for an interview; one time to make a first impression and as a professional courtesy, allow the interview to take the lead. The job market is extremely competitive nowadays and there really isn’t room for errors that can be avoided.
As you prepare for an interview, remember building rapport makes the interview more enjoyable for both you and the interviewer. In essence, your relationship with a potential employer is a long-term investment that is ultimately shaped by your ability to connect during the interview. Consider as you prepare how your connection; your lasting impression will be made aside from your ability to answer questions effectively. Doing so can make the difference between receiving a job offer and waiting for someone else to contact you for yet another interview.