Establishing rapport is one of the most essential elements to a good job interview. You know it when you feel it – you come away from an interview feeling like you made a connection with the interviewer and that the interview went well.   Rapport doesn’t have to be an accident – you can do your best to create it.  Here’s how:

Do your research

Read as much as you can about the organisation and the person who is interviewing you to see if there is a common connection there.  There are many connections such as the type of work, common connections, matter types, and personal interests, or you might have a friend working in the organisation.

Dress the part

Make sure you are dressed appropriately for the role.  If necessary look at Google Images for pictures of your interviewer to look at their style of dress.  Look  at images of others who work in the organisation.

Use a firm handshake when introduced

Male or female, always extend your right hand on introduction, and make eye contact and smile.

Use people’s names

Repeat the person’s name on introduction, for example saying ‘Nice to meet you, Frank’.  Not only will it help you remember the name but it develops a personal connection. Of course if the interviewer is an older person resist using the first name until you are invited to do so.

Make Eye Contact

Always look into people’s eyes when speaking and if more than one person make sure you direct your attention to both of them.  Your answer to any question should be directed predominantly to the person who asked it, but every now and then look at the other person to include them and make the answer conversational.

Body language

Your body language is very important in developing rapport.  Use ‘open’ body language – avoid crossing your arms, and keep a relaxed but upright posture.  Subtly mirror the interviewer’s body language where possible.

Be sincere

Notwithstanding all of the above, it is, of course, necessary to be sincere.  Rehearsed rapport will not create rapport, but may inhibit it.