12 Proven Ways to Build Rapport With Your Interviewer

Ways to Build Rapport With Your Interviewer
Ways to Build Rapport With Your Interviewer

Table of Contents

Discovering effective ways to build rapport with your interviewer can significantly transform your success rates of landing a high paying job.

Establishing a connection with your interviewer is not just about making small talk or smiling at the right moments; it’s a strategic approach that can greatly enhance your chances of securing the job.

In this article, we will explore 12 proven strategies that help you connect authentically, communicate effectively, and leave a memorable impression on your potential employer.

By mastering these techniques, candidates can demonstrate their suitability for the role not only through their answers but also through their ability to engage and build a connection with the interviewer.

Whether it’s maintaining eye contact, leveraging body language, or expressing genuine enthusiasm, each tip will bring you closer to that coveted job offer.

Key Takeaways

  1. Utilize smiles to create a warm atmosphere.
  2. Use the interviewer’s name to personalize the conversation.
  3. Maintain appropriate eye contact to convey confidence.
  4. Demonstrate active listening to engage deeply.
  5. Mirror body language to subconsciously build trust.

The Importance of Building Rapport in a Job Interview

Rapport is the bridge of mutual understanding and trust built between two people, making it a crucial element in job interviews.

It goes beyond simple conversation, involving active listening, appropriate gestures, and a sense of commonality that fosters a positive connection.

In the context of an interview, building rapport with the interviewer can transform the atmosphere from a formal interrogation into an engaging discussion, allowing your personality and professionalism to shine through.

Why is Building Rapport Crucial?

  • Enhances Communication: Rapport encourages open-ended questions and casual conversation, leading to a more thorough exchange of information and mutual understanding.
  • Eases Nerves: A good rapport reduces stress for both the interviewer and the candidate, fostering more genuine interactions and allowing the candidate to showcase their best self.
  • Influences Perceptions: Beyond evaluating skills and qualifications, they assess if a candidate’s demeanor and interpersonal skills align with the team and company culture. Effective rapport can highlight these qualities.
  • Facilitates Feedback: Good rapport often leads to more direct and constructive feedback, providing valuable insights into areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.
  • Strengthens Candidate Positioning: Candidates who build strong rapport are more likely to leave a memorable impression, distinguishing themselves in competitive job markets.

By leveraging tools like firm handshakes, thoughtful nods, and engaging storytelling, candidates can demonstrate their potential as valuable additions to the company.

Remember, the strength of your connection can significantly impact your interview outcomes.

How to Establish Rapport with Your Interviewer

Building rapport is essential for creating a positive connection that can influence the hiring process.

Here are 12 proven strategies to effectively build rapport with your interviewer:

1. Smile Genuinely

A genuine smile can instantly warm up the atmosphere, making them feel more comfortable and open.

Tip: Smile warmly as you greet them and at moments of agreement during the conversation to reinforce a positive interaction.

2. Use the Interviewer's Name

Using the interviewer’s name during the conversation personalizes the interaction and demonstrates attentiveness.

Tip: Incorporate the interviewer’s name naturally at the beginning and end of the interview, and sparingly in between to avoid sounding repetitive.

3. Make Appropriate Eye Contact

Maintaining balanced eye contact shows confidence, sincerity, and a connection without coming across as too intense.

Tip: Aim for a steady gaze that occasionally breaks away to avoid staring, especially when listening or considering a response.

4. Practice Active Listening

Active listening involves not just hearing but understanding and responding appropriately.

Tip: Nod in agreement, paraphrase what was said for clarity, and respond thoughtfully to demonstrate that you are fully engaged.

Man having an interview and building rapport

5. Mirror Body Language

Mirroring the body language of your interviewer can subconsciously build trust and connection.

Tip: Subtly reflect movements like tilting the head or leaning forward, but keep it natural to avoid seeming mimetic.

6. Share Common Interests

Before the meeting, research the person or company to identify any common interests that can be woven into the conversation.

Tip: Introduce shared interests or experiences as they relate to the conversation to create common ground and deepen the connection.

7. Use Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations during the meeting can reassure them of your interest and agreement.

Tip: Use phrases like “That’s a great point,” or “I completely agree,” to affirm the interviewer’s statements positively.

8. Exhibit Enthusiasm

Showing genuine enthusiasm for the position and the company conveys your interest and energy.

Tip: Use enthusiastic verbal cues and energetic inflections, like sitting forward in your chair and using expressive hand gestures.

Unlock Job Market Secrets: Stay Ahead of the Curve

Join hundreds of other career focused professionals and get the latest job openings, tips, and career-transforming advice delivered straight to your inbox.

9. Display Open Body Language

Open body language includes uncrossed arms, a slight forward lean, and open hands, which signal openness and receptivity.

Tip: Ensure your posture is relaxed yet attentive, with hands visible and welcoming.

10. Be Punctual

Arriving on time shows respect for the interviewer’s time and sets a professional tone.

Tip: Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early to allow yourself time to settle and prepare mentally without rushing.

11. Dress Appropriately

Dressing appropriately for an meeting shows respect and consideration for the company’s culture and standards.

Tip: Match your attire to the company’s dress code; when in doubt, err on the side of being slightly more formal than the daily wear.

12. Follow Up With A Thank You Note With Specific Details from the Interview

Sending a personalized follow-up note after the meeting can reinforce your interest and what you’ve discussed.

Tip: Reference specific topics or anecdotes shared during the meeting to make your follow-up memorable and relevant.

These strategies can help you build a positive connection with your interviewer, potentially enhancing your chances of progressing in the hiring process.

Each technique contributes to a respectful and engaging interaction that can leave a lasting impression.

If you want to practice your interview skills or need questions answered, check out our free mentorship sessions.

Woman in an interview

Verbal Indicators To Build Rapport

Using specific phrases and language techniques can greatly enhance rapport by conveying respect and interest. Here are some effective verbal strategies:

  • Express Interest: Use phrases like “That’s fascinating,” or “I’d love to learn more about that.”
  • Show Appreciation: Saying “Thank you for sharing that,” or “I appreciate your perspective,” demonstrates gratitude and respect.
  • Affirm Positively: Phrases such as “Absolutely,” or “I completely agree,” help affirm and validate the interviewer’s points.
  • Mirror Language Style: Adapt to the interviewer’s vocabulary and speech patterns subtly. If they use technical terms, incorporate some into your responses where appropriate.
  • Encourage Dialogue: Invite further discussion with open-ended questions like “Could you tell me more about…?” or “How do you see this evolving?”

These techniques not only show that you are actively listening but also that you are genuinely engaged in the conversation, helping to build a connection based on mutual respect and interest.

Non-Verbal Indicators When Interviewing 

Non-verbal cues play a critical role in building trust.

  • Eye Contact: Maintaining steady eye contact shows confidence and interest. However, it’s important to balance this with natural breaks to avoid staring.
  • Posture: Sit up straight but relaxed, leaning slightly forward to show engagement without appearing tense.
  • Hand Gestures: Use open hand gestures when speaking to communicate openness and honesty. Avoid crossing your arms as it can appear defensive.
  • Nodding: A simple nod while listening is a non-verbal affirmation, showing you understand and are following the conversation.
  • Facial Expressions: Smile naturally and use varied expressions to convey that you are responsive and reactive to the discussion.

Together, these non-verbal behaviors contribute significantly to the perception of authenticity and engagement, making them essential for building rapport.

They help break the ice and make both the interviewer and interviewee feel more comfortable, fostering a cooperative atmosphere conducive to honest and fruitful dialogue.

How do you ask Questions to Build Rapport as an Interviewee?

Asking questions during an interview isn’t just about clarifying details or learning more about the position; it’s a strategic approach to building rapport.

Strategic questioning demonstrates your interest in the role and the company, while also showing that you value the interviewer’s insights.

Purpose of Strategic Questioning

Strategic questioning serves multiple purposes:

  • Engages the Interviewer: It turns a one-sided interview into a dynamic conversation.
  • Demonstrates Interest: Asking insightful questions shows you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in the role and the company.
  • Establishes a Connection: Questions can reveal common ground, or shared values and goals, which enhance rapport.

Types of Questions to Ask

To engage your interviewer effectively, focus on open-ended questions that prompt detailed responses and foster a conversational atmosphere:

  • “What do you find most rewarding about working here?”
  • “How does this company define and measure success for this position?”
  • “Can you describe the team culture I would be working with?”
  • “What are the biggest challenges the team is currently facing?”
  • “How does this role contribute to the overall goals of the department and company?”

Examples of Rapport-Building Interview Questions

Here’s a list of targeted questions designed to establish and deepen rapport, along with explanations of their potential impact:

  1. “What inspired you to join this company?”
    • Impact: Personalizes the conversation and allows the interviewer to share their own experiences and motivations.
  2. “What skills and qualities do you see as essential for success in this role?”
    • Impact: Shows your eagerness to understand exactly what the job entails and signals your intention to align with the company’s expectations.
  3. “How has the position evolved since it was created?”
    • Impact: Demonstrates your interest in the role’s development and the company’s future, indicating long-term thinking.
  4. “What are the next steps in the interview process?”
    • Impact: Indicates your interest in moving forward and your respect for the hiring process, while also giving you critical information about the timeline.
  5. “What are the team’s priorities for the next quarter, and how could someone in this role contribute?”
    • Impact: Highlights your proactive thinking about contributing to team goals and shows your ability to think strategically about the role.

By integrating these questions, you not only gain valuable insights but also actively participate in building a relationship with the interviewer, which can significantly influence their perception of you as a fitting candidate.


Throughout this article, we’ve explored a variety of effective strategies for building rapport during job interviews, from using positive body language and engaging in active listening to asking insightful, open-ended questions.

These techniques not only enhance your communication skills but also make you feel more comfortable and authentic during the interview process.

By mirroring the interviewer’s language style and demonstrating genuine enthusiasm, you can establish a connection that goes beyond the typical interview dynamic.

As you prepare for your next interview, remember that each interaction is an opportunity to demonstrate your fit for the role and to learn as much as you can about the potential employer.

Apply these tips on how to build rapport and use this time to create a memorable impression. We encourage all job seekers to embrace these methods with curiosity and confidence, as they could very well be the key to unlocking your next career opportunity.

Nelson Ingle | Founder of Simply Agile

Coach Nelson has 10+ years of experience leading software development teams. As a lifelong learner, he’s passionate about helping community members discover and pursue their ikigai every day.

Related Articles