As a candidate in the interview process, you may wonder how you should go about building rapport with an interviewer. When you walk into a room, you don't have time for small talk and chit-chat, but it's a human being, and you need to connect. How do you build fast rapport in an interview situation?
Something very simple and very early in the process is that when the recruiter maybe calls you for a phone interview, answer, "Hello. This is Kim Haught. Nice to meet you." On many phone calls, the interviewee just says "Hello," on the other end. By introducing yourself, because you likely are expecting their call, is a great way to start building that fast rapport.
Don't be nervous. Be friendly. I always love when someone throws in small talk right away, usually it's because the candidate has maybe looked me up on LinkedIn, or sees that I live in the Orlando area and comments about the weather in the area. For example, their LinkedIn page might list that they’re a big advocate for golf and the USGA. Saying, "Oh, you know, I checked you out, I checked your company out. I see you like to play golf, I like to play golf, too," just a little chit-chat can really build that rapport very quickly. For a recruiter, that's showing that someone is truly interested and engaged in speaking with them, and so that little bit of effort will go a long way.
The other thing to build that rapport quickly is to just be prepared for the conversation. If you want to, practice with a friend, just chit-chatting about your past work experience. The more you do it, the more comfortable that you will be. This really keeps that human touch, that human element to the recruiting process. The human touch, the human element needs to remain there and if you do your part to investigate who you're talking to, make a little bit of small talk, it'll go a long way.
Before you meet with anyone, take the time to look them up on LinkedIn, or Google them and see if maybe they recently attended a seminar or a class that you’ve also been to. Or maybe they're a member of a volunteer organization that you're also a member of. Recruiters will be impressed when they can see you’re putting the time and effort in.
If you don't know the person or can't find the person on LinkedIn, you absolutely know the company that you're interviewing for, so research about the company. Did they just release Q2 results? Did they just win an award for a certain project that they're working on? Talk about that. A recruiter or a hiring manager is going to know about their company. That's another great way to do that if you can't connect with someone or find someone on LinkedIn.