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Know What to Say on a Job Interview

Establishing Rapport with Interviewers

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More tips and techniques for establishing rapport with interviewers are below.

Mirror your interviewer. 

People feel comfortable when you do the same things that they do, if your imitations are not obvious. For example, if your interviewer smiles, smile back; if your interviewer furrows her brow in concern and you have the same concern, show that you share her concern by doing the same.

Mirroring works not only for behaviors, but also verbal statements. If you briefly repeat or summarize what your interviewer said, you're indicating that you are connected and paying close attention. But, use this "engaged" listening tool with discretion. Too much can be awkward.

Example: If your interviewer says "Our company has doubled personnel and tripled revenue over the last five years", then you might raise your eyebrows slightly and nod in approval, while repeating "Tripled in revenue!"

Ask well-placed, clarifying questions. 

If you do not fully understand something that your interviewer said, then politely ask for clarification. Doing so signals to your interviewer that you are invested in what she is saying. However, asking for clarification can be tricky.

For example, if you ask for clarification about issues that are of little relevance to the thrust of your interviewer's topic, it might derail your interviewer's train of thought and cause her to become defensive or withdrawn; if you seek information that your interviewer just gave to you, then your interviewer will know that you weren't paying attention.

In other words, don't interrupt your interviewer to clarify a point, if you weren't listening attentively in the first place. First, try to follow your interviewer's train of thought, then pose a question when you need clarification.

Example: I'm sorry, but I don't think that I fully understand the reporting structure for this position. Would I have one or two supervisors to whom I'd report?

Ask open-ended questions. 

Asking open-ended questions allows your interviewer to respond as she desires and demonstrates that you are open to what your interviewer has to say. It also allows you to subtly steer the interview in a direction that you'd like it to go. The information you gather from open-ended questions will assist you in evaluating the job and company.

Example: What are the greatest challenges of this position to the person who fills it?

Send post-interview thank you notes.

Always send a thank you note to each of your interviewers within 24 hours.

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