The interview is the most important part of the hiring process. You might seem like the perfect fit for a position on paper but to land the job, connecting with the interviewer will likely determine whether or not you will move forward in the process. This is even more critical in today’s tech-savvy world where many first interviews are conducted virtually or via telephone. If you fail to connect with your interviewer during the interview, he or she might assess that you may not interact well with co-workers, so it’s important to make a good first impression.
An interviewer starts to form an opinion of you from the very first hello, whether it’s in person, on a computer screen, or over the phone.
So, how do you connect with someone you have never met before?
Do your research.
Do as much research beforehand as possible. By knowing exactly what the company does and what they are looking for in a candidate will help you be better prepared to answer questions and position yourself as the best candidate for the job. If you are working with a staffing firm to find your next position, you will also gain additional insights into the company and interviewers which can be very helpful in preparing for your interview.
Find some common ground.
If you know ahead of time who your interviewer will be, a quick LinkedIn or google search may reveal the person’s background as well as their position in the company. You may even uncover some common interests you both share such as where you attended college or even some similar hobbies that you can talk about to build rapport.
It is easy to let the interviewer ask all the questions in an interview, but by taking the initiative to ask them questions, you will show you are truly interested in them and in the position. And because you have done your research, your questions will show that you have taken the time to learn about the company and genuinely want to know more.
Ben Branch and Charles Baughman explain the importance of making a connection with the interviewer in the video below.