One interview technique that I especially like to recommend to job seekers is the art of making a connection with the interviewer. Chances are, in this job market there is some pretty stiff competition for the position to which you’re applying. The person conducting your interview likely has or will interview quite a few candidates, and as you can imagine, all those people will start to blend together after a while. By making a personal connection, you will stand out in the crowd and give the interviewer a reason to remember you.
Another advantage of this interview technique is that it can help the
interviewer understand more about you personally, and how you interact
with people. If your job is people-facing, this can be an important
determining factor. Also, aside from your qualification and experience,
another important consideration for your interviewer is how you will
likely fit in with other people in the office.
Even if you are not particularly good at making small talk, this is
still a skill that you can learn. Here are some tips for using this
effective interview technique to weave in conversation that will help
you connect on a personal level with your potential employer.
- Look for Clues
Look around the
interviewer’s office for any personal effects that might open the door
to a connection. For example, if you see a photograph of a very large
family gathering, you comment on it and mention that you, too come from
a large family (if you do). Find something in the room that you can
personally connect with, and then make a casual and sincere comment
- Listen for Cues
The skill of listening is
just as important an interview technique as presenting yourself well.
If your interviewer seems uncomfortable talking about personal
information, follow his or her lead. You do not want your attempt to
feel forced or fake. However, if a conversation does develop, do not
take the reigns: let the interviewer remain in control of the
- Cost your Line
Once you have developed a
personal connection with your interviewer, use it as “bait” you cast
out with your line. For example, if you’ve discovered that you both
have read a certain book, offer to send an interesting review you found
recently. And here’s an extra-special tip: you can use this interview
technique if you haven’t actually read a review! Thanks to the
internet, you can always do some quick research and find one later.
Think creatively, and find some chance to follow up after the interview
- Follow up
continue the fishing analogy, don’t forget to “reel in” the bait you
left, and actually follow through on the offer you made. The purpose of
leaving the bait was so that you would have a valid excuse for
contacting your interviewer again, which further cements you in his or
her mind. Send the materials you promised
You never know – even if you are ultimately not chosen for the
position, making this connection may still be valuable to you if
additional positions become available with the company. And making
yourself stand out in the interviewers mind may help them remember to
recommend you to other hiring parties within their company or even
external contacts in his or her network.
So give this little-known interview technique a try in your next
interview. Making a personal connection with your interviewer may just
be the thing that tips the scales in your favor over other candidates
with the same skills and experience. I think you’ll find that it
increases your chance of winning a job position that is an excellent
fit for you.
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