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Adi

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8

How to create chemistry with the interviewer?

How to create chemistry with the interviewer? This is so hard to catch

How to create chemistry with the interviewer? This is so hard to catch

8 answers

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Hey there,

Fantastic question and indeed a tricky one to tackle.

Personally I have developed a style of approaching rapport building with interviewers just the same way you would approach when you meet anyone for the first time.

In the book Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, author Amy Cuddy summarises that people within seconds (if not within minutes) answer two questions for themselves when they first meet you:

1. Can I trust this person

2. Can I respect this person

Ideally you may want to get some details on the person before you meet them- their likes/dislikes, passions, style (social, anlaytical) etc- but this may not be feasible. If you can get this detail before hand it will allow to find some common talking points with them.

If not, your starting point is zero. In this instance having some understanding of social styles will help you to deal with them better. Have a look at this- https://tracom.com/social-style-training/model

Here's my top tips:

1. Present your best self- on time, looking sharp and joyful

2. Just be yourself and dont exaggerate to come across as likeable; dont fake. You will the most impact when you stop worrying about proving yourself every 30 sec and trying to impress them. Just try and enjoy that interaction and opportunity to the fullest. This will require a lot of mental self-talk :)

3. Show interest in them- ask simple questions to get to know them; avoid the classic weather talk

4. Try and find some common ground if you can- common people you may know, similar backgrounds/countries/passions etc etc

5. Listen intently and don't interrupt or finish the sentences for them

6. Come across as trust worthy

I also highly recommend this book- The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister

Overall this is something you will get better at with time and practice.

Good luck and feel free to buzz me if you need more detailed strategies and tools.

Adi

Hey there,

Fantastic question and indeed a tricky one to tackle.

Personally I have developed a style of approaching rapport building with interviewers just the same way you would approach when you meet anyone for the first time.

In the book Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, author Amy Cuddy summarises that people within seconds (if not within minutes) answer two questions for themselves when they first meet you:

1. Can I trust this person

2. Can I respect this person

Ideally you may want to get some details on the person before you meet them- their likes/dislikes, passions, style (social, anlaytical) etc- but this may not be feasible. If you can get this detail before hand it will allow to find some common talking points with them.

If not, your starting point is zero. In this instance having some understanding of social styles will help you to deal with them better. Have a look at this- https://tracom.com/social-style-training/model

Here's my top tips:

1. Present your best self- on time, looking sharp and joyful

2. Just be yourself and dont exaggerate to come across as likeable; dont fake. You will the most impact when you stop worrying about proving yourself every 30 sec and trying to impress them. Just try and enjoy that interaction and opportunity to the fullest. This will require a lot of mental self-talk :)

3. Show interest in them- ask simple questions to get to know them; avoid the classic weather talk

4. Try and find some common ground if you can- common people you may know, similar backgrounds/countries/passions etc etc

5. Listen intently and don't interrupt or finish the sentences for them

6. Come across as trust worthy

I also highly recommend this book- The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister

Overall this is something you will get better at with time and practice.

Good luck and feel free to buzz me if you need more detailed strategies and tools.

Adi

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Hi A,

I understand your concerns - establishing contact might be key to a successful interview.

What you could actually do:

  • Show up on time. Punctuality is a great quality.
  • Break the ice by starting a friendly small talk.
  • Be yourself. This might seem obvious but being honest and open is very important.
  • Self-confidence. The whole appearance - everything from your outfit to your smile, voice, and posture.

Nevertheless, you should not overthink the whole situation trying too hard and pretending someone you are not in order to please the interviewer.

After all, the interviewer is just a human and you have to learn to read his/her body language to understand how you should act and to "create the chemistry".

Was this helpful?

GB

Hi A,

I understand your concerns - establishing contact might be key to a successful interview.

What you could actually do:

  • Show up on time. Punctuality is a great quality.
  • Break the ice by starting a friendly small talk.
  • Be yourself. This might seem obvious but being honest and open is very important.
  • Self-confidence. The whole appearance - everything from your outfit to your smile, voice, and posture.

Nevertheless, you should not overthink the whole situation trying too hard and pretending someone you are not in order to please the interviewer.

After all, the interviewer is just a human and you have to learn to read his/her body language to understand how you should act and to "create the chemistry".

Was this helpful?

GB

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Hi there,

First, don't try "too hard". If the interviewer isn't interested in having a chat at the beginning, doens't allow for rapport to be created, then don't force it!

If they appear open, well, this is really just the same as being a human being! Leverage your EQ and talk to them like you would anyone. The first few minutes can be spent asking about their day, talking casually about a few things, general small talk. Then during both the case and the question phase of the interview, you want to connect with them through intriguing questions, showing genuine interest, even letting out a few jokes (careful ones of course).

In general, be you and treat them like a regular person!

Hi there,

First, don't try "too hard". If the interviewer isn't interested in having a chat at the beginning, doens't allow for rapport to be created, then don't force it!

If they appear open, well, this is really just the same as being a human being! Leverage your EQ and talk to them like you would anyone. The first few minutes can be spent asking about their day, talking casually about a few things, general small talk. Then during both the case and the question phase of the interview, you want to connect with them through intriguing questions, showing genuine interest, even letting out a few jokes (careful ones of course).

In general, be you and treat them like a regular person!

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Hi there,

Creating chemistry with the interviewer reinforces you self confidence, which is very important to make a first good impression and be comfortable in your interview. There are numerous ways you can do that, among which:

  • Showing up early: make you sure to get to the office at least 15 min. before the interview. If you are interviewing online, make sure your internet connexion is stable. Also, make sure you will not be disturbed during the interview
  • Dressing appropriately: business attire no matter if the interview is in the office or remotely
  • Demonstrating confidence: smiling helps you demonstrate self-confidence
  • ...

I hope this helps!

Mehdi

Hi there,

Creating chemistry with the interviewer reinforces you self confidence, which is very important to make a first good impression and be comfortable in your interview. There are numerous ways you can do that, among which:

  • Showing up early: make you sure to get to the office at least 15 min. before the interview. If you are interviewing online, make sure your internet connexion is stable. Also, make sure you will not be disturbed during the interview
  • Dressing appropriately: business attire no matter if the interview is in the office or remotely
  • Demonstrating confidence: smiling helps you demonstrate self-confidence
  • ...

I hope this helps!

Mehdi

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Hi there,

The following are elements that can improve your communication and connect with the interviewer.

  1. Sound of your voice. Monotone voice is one of the major elements of poor communication. Speaking fast is also another element that can give an impression of lack of confidence. If you have issues on this area I would suggest to listen to podcasts with great speakers for 30min – 1h per day with headphones. After some days you will start to speak in a similar way, as you will absorb their communication style.
  2. Smile. Smiling can be a powerful element to show you enjoy the interview (and interviewer) and are not afraid. You can force smiles (although not too much) in case you get feedback you are not doing that.
  3. Eye contact. You should not always look the interviewer in the eyes. But you should not look away when he/she asks you something (in particular in case you get questions such as “Why should we hire you”)
  4. Ability to break the ice. Confident people are not afraid to start small talks with interviewers from the beginning. Keeping silence creates less connection and may be considered a sign of lack of confidence
  5. Posture. Leaning too much towards the interviewer is a sign of lack of confidence. You should keep a straight position most of the time.

Besides that do your research on the interviewer and prepare good questions for him/her in advance – this is for sure something they will appreciate.

Best,
Francesco

Hi there,

The following are elements that can improve your communication and connect with the interviewer.

  1. Sound of your voice. Monotone voice is one of the major elements of poor communication. Speaking fast is also another element that can give an impression of lack of confidence. If you have issues on this area I would suggest to listen to podcasts with great speakers for 30min – 1h per day with headphones. After some days you will start to speak in a similar way, as you will absorb their communication style.
  2. Smile. Smiling can be a powerful element to show you enjoy the interview (and interviewer) and are not afraid. You can force smiles (although not too much) in case you get feedback you are not doing that.
  3. Eye contact. You should not always look the interviewer in the eyes. But you should not look away when he/she asks you something (in particular in case you get questions such as “Why should we hire you”)
  4. Ability to break the ice. Confident people are not afraid to start small talks with interviewers from the beginning. Keeping silence creates less connection and may be considered a sign of lack of confidence
  5. Posture. Leaning too much towards the interviewer is a sign of lack of confidence. You should keep a straight position most of the time.

Besides that do your research on the interviewer and prepare good questions for him/her in advance – this is for sure something they will appreciate.

Best,
Francesco

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The interesting thing is that most firms are trying to minimize the impact of unconscious bias on the rating - and you are trying to exploit it ;)

My general advise is: Don't overthink this. Be a decent human being. Don't be a dick, but also don't try to suck up to them. Show genuine excitement about the case and the intellectual question they present to you. Make sure you come across as a professional.

Everything beyond that is snake oil.

The interesting thing is that most firms are trying to minimize the impact of unconscious bias on the rating - and you are trying to exploit it ;)

My general advise is: Don't overthink this. Be a decent human being. Don't be a dick, but also don't try to suck up to them. Show genuine excitement about the case and the intellectual question they present to you. Make sure you come across as a professional.

Everything beyond that is snake oil.

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Hi Anonmyous,

My honest evaluation of this is that you are trying to over-prepare and over-optimize something which you can't really influence. Either the chemistry is there and the interviewer allows it, or not.

Being a complete jerk obviously won't help in your interviews - but in any case it's about your interview performance. So focus on doing a great case and have strong answers to fit questions - THAT will make you a remarkable candidate, and not if the interviewer wants to be friends with you.

Hope this helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the upvote button below!

Robert

Hi Anonmyous,

My honest evaluation of this is that you are trying to over-prepare and over-optimize something which you can't really influence. Either the chemistry is there and the interviewer allows it, or not.

Being a complete jerk obviously won't help in your interviews - but in any case it's about your interview performance. So focus on doing a great case and have strong answers to fit questions - THAT will make you a remarkable candidate, and not if the interviewer wants to be friends with you.

Hope this helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the upvote button below!

Robert

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You're absolutely right where it's difficult to catch and not all interviewers will proactively try to do so as they are also trying to assess you objectively. It's very easy to have unconcious bias towards a candidate when they went to the same school, same personal interests, etc. (or the opposite) and consultancies like McKinsey are putting a lot of effort lately to make sure that is not the case.

Probably not the answer you want to hear but the best way to objectively build a connection with your interviewer is by acing the case (e.g., energy/drive, coming up with unique ideas, really thinking about what drives the business, communicating clearly, etc.) and sharing an interesting PEI story that really engages your interviewer. When you start showing some of those signs, interviewers naturally will open up more as they start seeing you more as a potential colleague and someone they want on their team as opposed to one of the many candidates they will have to interview that day/week.

You're absolutely right where it's difficult to catch and not all interviewers will proactively try to do so as they are also trying to assess you objectively. It's very easy to have unconcious bias towards a candidate when they went to the same school, same personal interests, etc. (or the opposite) and consultancies like McKinsey are putting a lot of effort lately to make sure that is not the case.

Probably not the answer you want to hear but the best way to objectively build a connection with your interviewer is by acing the case (e.g., energy/drive, coming up with unique ideas, really thinking about what drives the business, communicating clearly, etc.) and sharing an interesting PEI story that really engages your interviewer. When you start showing some of those signs, interviewers naturally will open up more as they start seeing you more as a potential colleague and someone they want on their team as opposed to one of the many candidates they will have to interview that day/week.

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