January 27, 2023

How to build rapport with candidates in an interview?

Many people think that during a job interview recruiters must be as cold as ice, inexpressive, critical and severe. That’s not true! Actually, recruiters really want each candidate to have a comfortable and friendly interview session. People that feel good during the interview can speak with ease about their skills and knowledge. That helps us get a better perspective of their capabilities and the way they would fit in the organization. 

For candidates to have an optimal interview, you need to create rapport. You probably have heard about this concept. Do you know how to build rapport with candidates? At T2W, we have an extensive experience in recruitment and personnel selection, so we are familiar with this. In this article, we’ll delve into rapport and the steps to build it during a job interview. 

What is rapport? 

This is a French term that refers to a link or connection between people. Beyond its origin and definition, rapport is also a technique that allows us to create a bond of trust with another person to ensure better communication. The rapport technique is comprised of a series of actions that can be applied to many different situations. 

Rapport in a job interview 

In the context of an interview, rapport is a tool that any recruiter must be familiar with. After all, good communication is key in all job interviews. However, it is really difficult talking comfortably to strangers. That is a common problem for many candidates and it can make us lose the best talent. This is where rapport enters the picture. 

There is a key element to really understand rapport and be able to build it: empathy. As you know, empathy is the ability to recognize and share the emotions of another person. The rapport techniques is built through empathy. During an interview, it’s important noticing the way candidates feel. 

Many of them will show visible signs of nervousness of even many levels of fear. As recruiters, we must be able to identify this and act appropriately to ensure a good interview for each person. It’s important being aware of other people’s emotions because if you don’t, you won’t be able to create rapport. 

How to build rapport in a job interview? 

How to build rapport in a job interview? 

1. The right greeting 

Building rapport is a process that must begin with the correct greeting. Whether you are having a virtual or an on-site interview, it’s important starting it with a visible smile in the face and an enthusiastic greeting. Smiling is key since it’s a basic action to stablish nonverbal communication. This will be the first action to build rapport. You should offer a smile that is visible and genuine. 

On the other hand, in the case of on-site interviews, don’t wait for the candidate to enter the office. Approach to the door and receive the person yourself. That initial gesture can help you a lot when it comes to building rapport. Most of the time, the small details are the ones that can create empathy, key ingredient to build rapport. 

2. Breaking the ice 

In general, the first minutes of any job interview are silent and awkward. You have to break the ice and create an environment where applicants can feel comfortable. A good recruiter can break that ice by stablishing similarities with the candidate. How to do it exactly? One of the best tools to find similarities with another person and build rapport are stories.  

A good story can build a bond between two people that have nothing in common. It shouldn’t be any story. It has to be about a situation that the applicant can relate to, such as the first day at a new job, college life, the easy or difficult access to the interview place, etc. The story has to be fun and relaxing so that candidates can ease the tension they have when they start the interview. 

You might like: 7 types of bias that can affect the recruitment process 

3. Don’t start with difficult questions 

Some questions during a job interview are difficult for candidates. For example, situational questions are very important in modern interviews, but they can be difficult to answer. Those questions, just like behavioral questions, are made to put the person in a problematic situation. Starting the interview with those questions is not a good way to build rapport. 

It’s best to leave these questions for the end or when the interview is at a mid-point. You can start by making a short review of candidates’ professional experience or academic background. Checking this information is very simple, so you can review those details when the interview begins. 

4. Encourage them to ask questions 

While in a job interview the person who carries the conversation is the recruiter, it doesn’t mean that the applicants can’t take initiative. After all, conversations are two-way roads. Candidates will have a series of questions regarding the position, the company, the working style, etc. It’s important having a special moment to solve all the candidate’s questions. 

The right moment will depend on the way each recruiter structures the interview. Some people usually ask if the candidate has any questions by the end of the session. If that is the case, you have to announce at the beginning of the interview that there will be a moment for candidates to ask questions. This shows empathy and help us build rapport. 

These are the main factors you need to consider to create rapport in a job interview. Keep in mind that, if you want to identify the best candidate for the position, rapport will be the most valuable tool during the interview process. 

At Talent2Win, we strive to align your company’s business objectives with the best Talent Acquisition strategies available. If you want to learn more about the services we offer, do not hesitate to contact us.     

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