Building rapport is a huge factor in successful job interviews. It’s well known that feelings of personal connection, liking and trust–in other words, rapport or “chemistry”–are often the deciding factor in interviews. And in networking, a contact who likes you is much more likely to offer information and introductions.
We all have things we do naturally that foster rapport, such as being polite and considerate, smiling, and so on. Yet sometimes we may come away from a conversation thinking “somehow we just didn’t connect,” or “I don’t think they liked me.” So here’s an additional technique to help you consistently create positive connections.
How to build rapport with your interviewer and networking contacts through mirroring.
I’ve covered this topic in my blog before with another video, but the video below focuses more clearly on specific aspects of body language. I recommend you watch both.
Later in the post I’ll answer some commonly raised questions and even concerns. But first, here’s the video with Carol Kinsey Gorman, author of The Nonverbal Advantage.
You see how easy it is? Will you use it in your conversations today and in your next interview? If not, I wonder whether you have some reservations about consciously using this communication technique. Read on, please.
Let’s look at some common questions and concerns about intentionally mirroring body language.
“Won’t the other person know I’m mimicking them and be creeped out by it?”
Because we mirror each other unconsciously and naturally all the time, nobody will notice you doing it. If you don’t believe me, try it.
“I’ll feel weird/uncomfortable doing this.”
Maybe you will, but only at first. Try it first with a friend or family member. Once you have a little experience, mirroring an interviewer or a networking partner may actually make you feel more comfortable and relaxed, not less. Mirroring feels good!
“It seems manipulative.”
What about dressing nicely for the interview–more nicely than you’ll probably dress on the job–and planning your answers? Is that manipulative? If so, I guess you have to just throw on whatever you happen to have in the closet and go in without giving it much thought. That doesn’t make sense.
My own philosophy is that the best approach to interviewing and networking is both authentic and strategic. Mirroring is authentic if you do it in a spirit of friendliness and respect, as a way of putting people at ease.
Also, realize that your mirroring will affect you as much as the other person. Social psychologists know that action creates emotion and “fake it ’til you make it” is actually a wise saying. Done with good intentions, your mirroring will tend to make you sincerely like the other person. You start out with an imitation of rapport but it quickly becomes real.
Think of mirroring as a superpower: use it for good and not for evil! Build rapport in your job search networking and look for ways to help the other person as much as they’re helping you. Build rapport in job interviews and do a great job when they hire you. Use mirroring so both sides win.