1) I always try to stay cool but at a certain point it changes the vibe in the interview. How can I prevent this?
I don’t think you really can because:
- They may do this on purpose to see how you react or
- They may just have a bad day (you may think “This is not a good reason to act like a jerk!” And you are right. But we are humans and the interviewer may not always act in the best possible way )
2) How could you instantly connect with the interviewer in a sense that they no longer try to do this to you?
The best way to connect is to relate to something you both share at the beginning of the interview.
Think about it. If you meet someone new, when do you connect with them? When you share something with them (eg common experiences or interests).
This is difficult to engineer or develop quickly, in particular if you have only a few minutes at the beginning of an interview. The best way to learn this is to work in sales (even just with an internship). I learned this the hard way doing door-to-door sales for my first company (it was not fun, but learned a ton).
If you are at the beginning of your career, I honestly believe an internship in any sales department could be one of the best investments to learn how to connect with people. And yes, it is not a quick fix and it is likely going to suck at the beginning (no one likes rejections) but you are going to learn something very useful for the rest of your life.
Other things you can work on are:
- Sound of your voice. Try to avoid (i) monotone voice and (ii) speaking too fast. The easiest way I know to learn how to speak differently is to listen to a podcast/audiobook with a speaker you like. You will “absorb” their style and start to speak in the same way without noticing in a week or so.
- Smiling. You probably know this already. If you smile, you are going to connect more with the person. Yes, even if your smile is fake (ok, maybe don’t make it clearly fake. But you got the point).
- Eye contact. You don’t need to look the interviewer in the eyes all the time – I mean, that would be weird ;) But you should not look around ALL the time, that would also be strange for the interviewer.
- Ability to break the ice. This is very important at the start of the interview. If you have good icebreakers, you can learn more about the person. On the other hand, if you don't have experience with this, it is difficult to sound natural when you do so. Which is why working in sales helps so much.
- Posture. Avoid closed body language (eg crossing arms). Unless the interviewer is doing that. If they do show signs of closed body language, mirror them and then move to an open body language (eg hands apart) later on. Chances are, they will follow you.
I know, it is a lot of stuff. Which is why working in sales helps so much. You will learn how to apply this in a real setting (by doing several mistakes and learning step-by-step).
Besides that, do your research on the interviewer and prepare good questions for him/her in advance to ask at the end – this is something they will appreciate.
Hope this helps,