Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist
Image of Isaiah Hankel sitting in armchair

Join Isaiah as he explains why you need to build rapport with your interviewer if you want employers to remember you and offer you a job

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah talks about why you’re failing to move past the initial interview stages, even if you’re a perfect fit for the role
  • Next, Isaiah reviews the best strategy to use if you want to build rapport with your interviewer
  • Finally, Isaiah discusses the importance of non-verbal cues when it comes to building rapport

From This Week’s Show… 

Why You’re Failing To Get Your Dream Job

Have you ever felt like you were the perfect candidate for a job, only to be ghosted by the company after your first interview?

At that point, you’re probably wondering what on earth happened. Chances are, you didn’t establish a rapport with the interviewer.

Many PhDs leave academia thinking the only thing employers are going to care about is what they can do – emphasis on the doing, especially the skills, because that’s what’s important in academia.

But in industry, you’re not only expected to do a job; you’re also expected to integrate into a team. This means that the interviewer is assessing your capabilities while also deciding whether you’re easy to get along with.

How To Build Rapport With Your Interviewer

To start, do your research ahead of time – your interviewer will likely have an online presence, whether it be through LinkedIn or Twitter. Take note of where they’re from, where they studied, if they have a PhD – what they studied, what sports team or organization they’re interested in, and so on.

Once you have a good idea of who they are, try to find commonalities. And yeah, I know what you’re thinking… “what if we have nothing in common?!” Try and find something. Even if it’s just that a good friend of yours went to their alma mater and told you how much they loved it there.

Mention this in the interview – ask about their experience there. If you didn’t have the time or resources to find out much about them prior to your interview, try looking for environmental queues.

If the interview takes place in their office, see if they have photos or collectibles on their shelves. If you can’t come up with a shared interest or experience on the spot, even just commenting on something helps build rapport.

Tell them the photo of their puppy is adorable…if they have sports memorabilia from a particular team, ask if they grew up there. Finding something (anything!) that will allow them to remember you days or weeks later is key to making a good first impression.

The Importance Of Non-verbal Cues

Another great way to build rapport is to use nonverbal cues.

When they greet you, extend your hand and a warm smile. Look engaged and show enthusiasm. Convey your interest by continuing to smile. Nod throughout the interview and sit towards the edge of your chair.

Make sure to ask engaging questions that direct the focus towards them – ask what they like most about their job or the company, or how they ended up in their current position.  

And lastly, do your best to keep the interview light! That means you should avoid bringing up contentious topics – like politics or religion or their proprietary information – and steer clear of employer/employee bashing.

You may not like your former boss or the team that you worked with – but keep this to yourself. If pressed about why you’re leaving your current job, focus on characteristics of the job and offset your statement with something positive.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

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