Most people going into an interview unfortunately concentrate their efforts trying to demonstrate competence rather than establish rapport with the person they are interviewing with.
You may be the most brilliant specimen in the candidate line up, but if you can’t connect with the other person on a human level and build trust you won’t get to first base. Once you have established trust, others will want to hear what you have to say.
Think about the first few moments of an interview. This is the time first impressions are made. These are the critical moments when the person interviewing you will either check out entirely or hopefully tune in if you have done a good job connecting with them. Once they are ready to listen you are in a position to influence them by demonstrating competence and marketing yourself.
Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and Harvard Business School professor has this to say about building trust. “You must understand the people you are trying to influence by building trust first before demonstrating competence and power. Show them that you can relate to them. It’s only then that they can really hear you and be open to your ideas.”
Connecting with others in an interview can be challenging particularly if we are nervous to begin with. We are usually so consumed with how we think others perceive us that we forget how to connect. One tip I use with coaching clients is to encourage them to get in the mindset of being curious. Curiosity takes the focus off of you and places it onto the other person. If you have done your homework on the company you should have plenty of questions you would like answered during the interview.