Successful Interviewing with Rapport

 herc   September 6, 2018  Interviewing

(This article originally appeared on the website in April 2012)Consider this. You have just been for an interview for a job that you really want. You wake up the next morning feeling good about your chances of getting the job. You answered all of their questions and you got across all the points that you wanted to make. You know that it would benefit them to take you on because you would be good at the job and you fit all of their requirements…..and then you get the telephone call… have not been “successful.”

The reason for your non success? “There were other candidates that were more suitable for the position than you.”

What does that mean exactly? “More suitable than you?” If they were prepared to interview you, then they must have to have considered taking you on. Your application or your CV must certainly have given them grounds for considering you for the job, otherwise they were wasting their own time.

On the face of it then, you did meet their criteria, so what was it? Did they not like you? I am sure that you did make a good impression on them and that they did like you. It is just that they liked someone else more than they liked you.

The bond that you establish with your interviewers is the single most important factor in achieving success in job interviews. In their eyes, when they meet you, they are considering working with you. Depending on the job, you may well end up spending more time with the people that you work with than you do your own family, so you would not recruit someone to work with you who you did not feel absolutely comfortable with, would you?

Now, in an everyday, relaxed situation, when you meet someone, I am sure that you make a great impression. I am sure that you can turn on the charm and that in no time at all, you are bonding together nicely. The thing is that a job interview is not an everyday situation, you are not relaxed, and you do not necessarily behave in your natural way.

The chances are that at the beginning of a job interview you are a bit nervous, you are really concentrating on what you are saying and what the interviewers are asking you. You are trying not to make any mistakes and really trying to make a good impression by answering their questions to the absolute best of your ability.

This is all completely normal, and you are not doing anything wrong, it is just that you are leaving it to chance as to whether you establish that ‘connection’ with your interviewers. That unconscious ‘connection’ that will mean that you connected with them better than all of the other interviewees.

You know what I mean by that ‘connection,’ don’t you? It is that ‘connection’ that will leave them with a feeling of a warm glow inside as you leave the room. It is the presence or not of that feeling of connectedness when they perform their review of the candidates at the end of the day, or the next morning, that will probably determine whether you get the job. That ‘connection’ is called Rapport.

The good news is that building Rapport is a process that you can learn. It is a process that you can carry out at the beginning of an interview that will produce that feeling of energetic connectedness with the interviewer, and it might just give you that edge that you need to get the job. I have worked with people who have used this process to succeed in being offered senior jobs in fields where they have no experience and I have had people succeed in getting rapid promotions also by using this process.

The key to building great Rapport is to work at an unconscious level to get the other person to think that you are like them. If they think that you are like them, then they will like you. Think about it. Do you and your friends have common interests? Yes, that is why they are your friends. Think about someone that you met recently and you got on really well with. What sort of things did you talk about? Did you have certain things in common? The chances are that you did.

One of the ways that we can build Rapport with someone is to discuss what we refer to as commonalities. Such as where you went to school, where you grew up, where you go on holiday, your favourite sport, social networking, and so on. The trouble is that it is not always suitable to talk about these things at the start of an interview, is it? Well, it is, but not for long. There will be a small period of time before the interview proper begins, where you will have a chance to discuss a commonality. As you are being greeted, before you sit down in your interview chair, that is the right moment. What can you say? Well even something related to the weather, such as “what a beautiful day, isn’t it?” That will get them agreeing with you, as long as it is a nice day, otherwise they may think that you are mad! The weather is something that you have in common and that is a good starting point for your bonding.

What else can you do to build this unconscious energetic feeling of Rapport? There are a whole host of things that you can do: you can match (copy) their breathing, you can match their tone of voice, you can match the words that they use, the phrases that they use, and you can match their body posture and body movements.

Copying breathing is a good one, and it can be really effective. Give this a go. When you next sit down to chat with someone, copy their breathing. When they breathe in, you breathe in. When they breathe out, you breathe out. Don’t worry, they will not notice you doing it! The best way to tell if someone is breathing in or out is to watch their shoulders go up and down. A tip also here is that if they are talking, then they are breathing out, otherwise they choke to death! Notice how you feel, notice how they respond. Notice if you get that feeling of being in rapport?

The key to success with any process is practice, so practise this skill in non interview situations before you go ‘live’ with it. The process of building Rapport works, it works brilliantly in interview situations, and it might just be the thing that helps you to get your dream job.

If you wish to know more about this process, then go to and visit the free NLP Resources section of the website.

To your success.

-Anthony Beardsell, Excellence Assured

This article was provided by HERC Trustee Partner As the leading International job board for careers in research, science and academia, can help you access, attract and engage with the best faculty talent from around the world, whilst providing a time- and cost-effective solution for optimizing your institution’s recruitment.

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