Having a well-crafted résumé is only half the battle when it comes to the job search. The other half involves the job interview, and while the ability to convey your skills to others is helpful, building a rapport with your interviewer is just as essential to getting the job.
Regardless of what people may say, human emotions do play a large role in the hiring process. They have to. An applicant may have all the skills in the world but not be a good fit for the company due to a bad attitude. Candidates need to be likable, and a good way to demonstrate likability is to win over the people who may offer you the job.
Here are some tips:
1. You can build rapport with the interviewer by asking some of the following questions at the end of the interview (for a list of questions NOT to ask, click here):
- Can you tell me about the company culture? What do you like about working here? — This is a good question, because the interviewer has the opportunity to discuss him or herself to some degree, which allows you to create a personal dialogue while also giving you real insight into what it might be like to work for the company.
- How will our roles intersect? — This may have already been answered at some point, but you should get some elaboration on how you might work with your interviewer. If you will be interacting regularly, it’s important to know not only what the interviewer personally expects from you, but whether the two of you are a good fit for one another.
- How can I make your job easier? — If you are going to be working directly for your interviewer, this is a good follow-up question. It shows that you are invested in making your relationship with the interviewer work (i.e. managing up) while also demonstrating your willingness to be a team player, both of which are important factors in the hiring decision.
2. You should avoid making things too personal. Don’t allow yourself to get lost in the interview. The interviewer is not your friend, regardless of how well the conversation is going. Sharing personal stories could come back to haunt you. Something as innocuous as talking about your children and how much you like spending time with them may suggest that you aren’t interested in working long hours, which may be necessary for the job at hand.
3. Don’t badmouth anyone. Remember, you are trying to show that you will make a positive impact on the company. Bringing negativity into the interview has the exact opposite result. Speaking negatively about former managers implies that you do not get along with authority figures who criticize you. It also suggests that in the future you might speak poorly about management to co-workers. Both of these traits will be major red flags to employers.
4. Follow Up. You should always write a thank-you email to your interviewer. It’s important to personalize it to demonstrate that the conversation resonated with you. And, if there is a holiday approaching, make sure to wish the person well, etc. Your email should be professional with a friendly touch. It’s those little things that will allow you to stand out from other applicants.
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