It's Interview Time - How to Build Rapport in an Interview

What is rapport?

The dictionary definition is:

“A close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.”

Basically, two people getting on and finding common ground. When you have a small window to prove your worth this can be hard to get across. I cannot stress enough how important rapport is in an interview…

Being prepared and open in an interview will help you stand out, here are some handy tips…

Before the Interview:

Research the company

It is vital to look into the company before your interview so you have an understanding of what they do, but getting to grips with where the company has come from, where it is going and what drives it forward gives you more to talk about in the interview than just the vacancy.

Research the interviewer

Interviews are scary, as you try to convince a stranger that you are perfect for their company. But what if they aren’t a stranger? Do some research into the interviewer before you attend. Look on the company website for a profile or see if they are on LinkedIn. This will give you some context when trying to relate to them in interview. You never know, you may share a common interest, or come from a similar background.

Understand the company values

Here at Cummins Mellor, when we recruit internally, we look for our CORE VALUES in each candidate. As a result of this, everyone in the business aligns their behaviours and attitudes by demonstrating the same 5 core values. Most companies have such values, and if they do, they are easy to find on the internet. Knowing these will put you in good stead with any interviewer.


During the interview:

Ask open-ended questions

Interviews are not just about answering set questions to prove your worth, it is also an opportunity for you to ask the interviewer a few questions and assess whether you would like to work with them. Get to know them, ask how long have they been with the business? Why do they enjoy working for the company? Find out what makes them tick, and talk about that. Interviews where the conversation flows between two people are always a positive experience for both parties.

Mirror body language and tone

A recent study on mirroring body language stated, “Mirroring body language is a non-verbal way to say ‘I am like you, I feel the same’”. Make a note of their body language and tone of voice, and mirror this when appropriate.

Find common ground

You may not find something in common with every interviewer you meet or it may not seem appropriate to discuss pets, hobbies etc, but if you have something in common it could be a bonus to easing the nerves. I find I click with interviewees with common interests whether it’s pets or football teams and relaxes the atmosphere. However make sure it is appropriate to bring these up, and this leads me to my last point…

… Listen!

Not just to the questions, pay attention to what the person is saying, and find a topic you can talk about that’s not necessary related to the job in hand. You will seem more personable, and this will add an extra dimension to you when the interviewer is looking back and shortlisting.


After the Interview:


After an interview, following up with an email thanking them for their time leaves a final impression even after the interview. It’s that little extra touch that shows that you recognise the time and effort gone into interviewing you and that you are grateful. It will speak volumes about your attitude and personality, and more often than not lead to a nice response!


So there you go, my top tips on building rapport in interviews. If you have any tips of your own, let me know!

All I can suggest is be yourself, be personable, and take an interest in the person interviewing you. They may end up being your future boss!