Job interviews are often most successful when the interviewer and interviewee are, at some level, on the same page. While you don’t have to establish a personal connection with an interviewer, leaving a positive, lasting impression by building professional rapport while interviewing can help increase your chances of securing the job.

Interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience, so preparing as much as possible will help calm any worries you have. Start with these job interview tips to make a good impression at your next interview.

Research the interviewer and the company

Researching the company before the interview is important. Aside from the fact that you’ll come across as disinterested if you don’t know anything about the organisation, finding out about some details and current business or industry-related issues will give you an easy topic to discuss during the interview. This will also help prevent you from floundering if you are asked a tricky question.

You can also look up your interviewer, if you know their name. Start on LinkedIn to gather some information about their current role, objectives, and any articles or posts they’ve created on the platform.

Plan some icebreaker conversation

Be well-prepared by planning for the few moments between being met at reception and being shown to the meeting room. Have some background questions to break the ice before the actual interview starts – such as asking the person how long they’ve been in the organisation.

In general, it’s a good idea to ask open-ended questions to encourage conversation. The ability to demonstrate genuine interest in a role and organisation in a friendly, relaxed way will set a positive tone for the interview. On the basis that all candidates interviewing will probably have a similar skill set and level of experience, it’s often the person who seems the most enthusiastic about the opportunity who makes a stronger impression.

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Watch your body language

During the interview, aim to maintain positive body language during the interview and avoid closed gestures such as keeping your arms crossed or not directly facing your interviewer.

Where possible, also try to subtly mirror your interviewer’s body language. It shouldn’t be obvious that you’re trying to copy them, but people generally respond to those who seem to be engaged with them.

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Listen closely to your interviewer

Being a good listener is one of the most important interview skills (and life skills) to have. Listen to everything your interviewer says –  echoing your interviewer’s responses shows that you’ve listened and understood. Repeat some of their comments back to them, and show you approve of what they say.

A good way to do this is to answer in full sentences, for example, answering a question like, “What would you say are key challenges for marketing leaders and their teams this year?” with, “I think that marketing leaders and their teams are facing these key challenges this year…”.

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Avoid sensitive topics

Avoid talking about politics or religion as it may cause awkwardness or even offence. Stick to topics that are related to the industry, organisation and role, unless the interviewer asks an informal question.

It’s also a good idea not to badmouth a current or previous employer – it may feel like you’re proving your interest in a new role and even that it’s a shortcut to connecting with your interviewer, but it’s unprofessional and can create a negative atmosphere.

Prepare some interview questions

Ask questions that will help you make a decision about whether or not to take the role, should it be offered to you. It often helps to prepare a list of questions in advance about what you would want to know about the role and organisation –  the culture, the challenges of the role, what qualities people need to succeed within the organisation, even elements like corporate social responsibility.

This will not only help you make a clearer decision but will also show that you’re engaged and have a strong interest in the organisation.

Follow up after the interview

Many people don’t realise that the interview doesn’t have to stop when you leave the room – it’s always a good idea to get in touch again after the interview, just as you would when meeting someone at a networking event, for example. Follow up with a polite thank you email, either directly to the interviewer or via your recruiter if you used an agency to secure the interview. This is a way of continuing the dialogue and shows that you enjoyed the meeting.

Don’t forget that while trying to build rapport in an interview, you’re also there to prove you can do the job too. Make sure your questions and responses strongly showcase and demonstrate your relevant skills and experience – banter alone rarely gets someone a job.

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