It doesn’t always feel easy to establish a connection with someone you’ve just met and it’s particularly difficult in an interview situation when you only have an hour to get to know them. It’s a basic human instinct for people to like those who they can trust or at least that they like. Have you interviewed someone and felt as if you’ve known them for ages? Have you interviewed someone and instantly disliked them or felt uncomfortable for no apparent reason? Who are you most likely to hire?
Building rapport is just a fancy way of saying “making friends”. The ability to build rapport quickly and easily with anyone you meet is a useful skill even with those who you wouldn’t normally hit it off with in an interview. Why? Because the person that you get on best with might not be the person most suitable for the position you are hiring for. We want to show you 6 super easy ways in which you can make an instant connection with anyone that you meet:
Mirror body language- Did you know that 55% of communication comes from body language? Mirroring body language is a really easy and fast way to build rapport with someone, because it makes them feel instantly connected and relaxed with you. Next time you are with someone, look at their facial expressions, their posture- are they standing or sitting up straight or slouched? Do they have their legs crossed? What hand gestures do they use? Do they tilt their head to one side? This is all body language that you can mirror subtly.
Match their language- No, we’re not talking about having to learn another language! Matching language is about matching the words that someone uses- fair warning though, you’ll need fairly good listening skills for this one. People tend to prefer to communicate in one of three ways: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.
People who communicate using their visual senses are likely to say things like “I see what you mean”, “I get the picture” and “can you imagine that?”
People who communicate using their auditory senses are likely to say things like “I hear you”, “that rings a bell” and “tell me more”.
People who like to communicate using their kinaesthetic senses are likely to say things like “I get the feeling…”, “I need more evidence” and give me hard facts.
You can match all of these phrases by listening to the words that someone uses and mirror the language in the phrases you use such as “let me give you a clear picture”, “You’re going to hear something great”, or “I understand how you feel”.
Mirror tone-38% of our communication comes through the tone of our voice, the volume and rhythm at which we speak. You can instantly build rapport with someone by speaking at the same volume of the candidate throughout the interview, do they speak loudly or quietly? Do they use intonation or are they monotone? Do they speak in bursts or in a steady rhythm? Do they have a high pitched voice or a low pitched voice? By slightly changing your tone to match theirs, you’ll make yourself and your candidate feel instantly relaxed and at ease.
Match the pace at which they speak-Some people speak really really quickly and others talk s-l-o-w-l-y. If there is a mismatch on pace it can make people feel uncomfortable and especially in an interview situation they may become defensive. For example if they speak slowly and you speak quickly, they may feel intimidated by you. Conversely if they speak quickly and you speak slowly they might get the impression that you are not very switched on or interested in what they are saying.
Listen and approve-This is one of the most powerful and simple ways of building instant rapport but one that is easily forgotten. After the candidate gives you a response, repeat a very brief synopsis of what they’ve said and then approve with phrases such as “excellent”, “that’s great”, “wow, amazing” or “that’s exciting”. By doing this, you’ll show that you are actively listening to what they are saying and that you are interested. By actively listening to the candidate, you’ll establish empathy which key in building rapport.
Treat them like an old friend-Think about how you interact with your closest friends, the people that you trust completely and who completely trust you. How do you communicate with them? By treating candidates (and indeed any strangers) like you are already know them will send out subconscious signals that will make the candidate instantly feel welcome, secure and relaxed in your presence. If they feel like this they will be willing to open up, communicate and share information with you.
The key to building rapport is to not be obvious. It’s easy to build rapport with another once you understand that people like people who are like themselves. If you have friends then you already know how to build rapport naturally, the difference is with these easy tips, you’ll be able to intentionally make friends with anyone you meet. Why not give it a go?