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Forming a Connection with Your Interviewer

July 24th, 2015

Your interview is scheduled for later this week, and you know you have what it takes to step into this job and excel. You have all the skills you need and years of experience with this specific type of work, so your credentials aren’t really subject to doubt. But what about everything else? You already know that landing a job and thriving in your new role will depend on your relationships even more than your job-specific skills. So what if you and this interviewer just don’t seem to click? What if she doesn’t get you? What if you don’t get her? What if the two of you just can’t find an inch of common ground?

Don’t worry. If you keep an open mind and take these considerations to heart, you’ll increase your chances of making a positive and lasting impression.

Be receptive and flexible.

Despite what some advisors may tell you, you really don’t land jobs (or make friends) by striding in the door with your chest puffed, as if you’re going into battle. Your interviewer is not your enemy or you adversary, and this is not the time to channel your inner warrior. Despite what you might like to believe, you don’t know everything about this industry, and every encounter should be seen as an opportunity to learn something — or meet someone — new. During the entire session, try to listen more than you speak, and remember the things you hear.

Observe and dial in.

If your interviewer is like most, they will tell you exactly how to win them over and land the job…but they probably won’t deliver this message with words. If they frown over a certain questionable detail of your resume, that means you’ll need to determine what their concerns are and address them. If they ask you how you feel about extensive travel or public speaking, that means these things will be central to this job. If you excel in these areas, say so. If not, say so. Be honest. Give — and receive — all of the available information that can lead both of you to an informed decision. Help them to help you.

Ask questions.

Ask as many questions as you answer regarding this job and this company. Ask your interviewer about their own experience here. People like to explain their stories and share their opinions, and they usually appreciate signs of engagement, curiosity, and interest.

Show evidence of research and preparation.

Tighten your elevator pitch and conduct thorough research on the company before you walk in the door. Have a printed copy of your resume in hand and demonstrate that you respect your interviewer and the significance of this opportunity. Make it clear that you appreciate the opportunity to form a partnership, regardless of the outcome of this meeting.

For more on how to connect with your interviewer and earn their support, contact the staffing and employment team at Merritt.

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