Interviews can be stressful, even if you feel well prepared. Despite going over every question you can think of and watching yourself in the mirror, you may still find yourself worried that you haven’t done enough. You have a short window to impress the interviewer and prove you have what it takes.
What can you do?
We’ve asked nine professionals to share their advice on how to handle connecting with an interviewer in a short period of time, so that you can walk into your next interview with confidence.
Review Their LinkedIn Profile
Personal connection is always the best, I believe. Before the interview, the candidate should review the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile. Check to see if you have anything in common. If so, bring that up in the interview as an ice-breaker. Also, make sure that you are molding your answers to reflect the values of the company. This can also be a great way to connect.
Dana Felix, HR Analyst
Start With a Good First Impression
An interviewer will make their decision on whether you are likable or not within the first 5 minutes of the interview. One thing they will consider is your overall presentation. Recruiters like someone who appears neat, composed, charming (without speaking!) and one who appears prepared. To achieve this, go into your with confidence. Wear a moderate smile, one that does not reveal your teeth. Greet the interviewer formally and sit upright, looking directly into their face without being too hard as it might appear rude. Finally, speak fluently and respond as accurately as possible without stuttering or referring back to your documents.
James Jason, Mitrade
Connect In a Blink
Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink makes the argument that people make judgements about others within a blink of an eye. No pressure, but candidates need to connect with an interviewer in that first blink. Sometimes, that first two seconds tells an interviewer more about that candidate than a 30-minute conversation. It’s just human nature. So how can you connect in two seconds? Calm the nerves prior to the first interaction. When it comes time to shine (or turn on Zoom video), be yourself, smile and make eye contact. Just connecting in a non-verbal way in the first two seconds helps pave the way for the rest of the interview.
Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
Be Personable and Outgoing
One of the best things you can do to connect in a short amount of time is be personable and outgoing as soon as you enter the interview. You might not necessarily have time to discuss things you have in common, but the interviewer will feel drawn to you because you gave off a positive persona. They will see that you are passionate and can have a conversation with anyone even if you are meeting for the first time.
Henry Babich, Stomadent Dental Lab
Body language is so important in interviews. Sit up straight, make eye contact and smile when you can to give off a good impression to your interviewer. In virtual interviews, use hand motions and try to look at the camera when speaking, allowing the interviewer to feel as if you are making eye contact with them.
Jon Schneider, Recruiterie
Make it a Two-Way Conversation
Do your best to not let the interview be one-sided. When it feels natural, ask the interviewer a question or two about their work or about the company to break up the rapid-fire of questions. Try to create a back and forth conversation to make the interview more comfortable for both parties involved.
Candi Luciano, Y Scouts
Ask Them About Themselves
Avoid talking about the weather or asking general questions such as “how are you?” Rather ask something contextual and specific such as “How have you been adjusting to being back in the office/working from home during the shelter-in-place?” This shows the interviewer that you see people beyond just their roles and your approach to work will likely be more relational rather than transactional. If it is a company that cares about culture then they will love this about you!
Philip Botha, Culture Advantage
Match the Interviewers Energy
Unless there has been no application vetting process whatsoever, interviewers already know plenty about who you are from your resume, background checks and social media investigations. Here are a few ways for candidates to connect quickly with their future job interviewer: You have about 90 seconds to make a great first impression so focus on non-verbal cues, match the interviewers energy (cadence, physical gestures, etc), ask measured questions to get them talking, find common bonds (often doing research before the interview on LinkedIn profiles, search “About” section on website, etc), captivate them with relevant personal stories and last but not least pretend you already have the job as you want them to visualize you on the job.
Mark Christensen, People & Partnerships
Interviewers Remember Personality
It sounds obvious but I personally always remember people who have shown some of their personality in their answers, rather than being robotically professional. The “worst” case scenario is that the interviewer won’t gel with your personality, but then the likelihood is that you wouldn’t be a good fit for that company, anyway — so it’s no loss.
Rosalind Smith, Mauve Group