Build Rapport with the interviewer is a common advice given to MBA hopefuls. But no one has dissected what it means to build rapport. You can do a lot to create first impression – a genuine smile, positive thoughts about the interviewer, firm handshake, and steady eye contact without staring. The first impression rituals last for about 1 to 2 minutes. Beyond that, it is all about building rapport.
The need for building rapport is because of our instinctive behavior – the more we like a person the more we want her to succeed. This instinct has led to the success of writers, artists, actors, sportsmen, politicians and even “YouTube” personalities. No matter how antagonizing their opinions are, or how boorishly they behave, we like them because they have built a rapport.
Since humans have evolved to believe that anyone dissimilar is a threat, we constantly search for similarities. Those who were not alert to dissimilarity perished. This trait has been passed on from our ancestors. Even when there are no similarities, we subconsciously search for any evidence of similarity. The radar is always up, and we are receptive towards any clue, even deluding ourselves with false signals.
More important than evolutionary thinking is our selfish need to massage our egos. We are attracted to people who think, act, or dress up like us. One of the three dimensions should be touched to build rapport. Since we cannot risk dressing up casually even if the interviewer is dressed casually, we are left with two dimensions – thought and behavior.
Here is how you build rapport:
1) Mimic Motion
Don’t start mimicking the interviewer’s action as Mr. Bean or Charlie Chaplin but subtle tilting of your head like the interviewer, or hand on the table, or similar pace of conversation would give the illusion that you are like the interviewer. Focus more on the non-verbal cues. If the interviewer realizes what you are doing then you better change the strategy. There is nothing worse than using magic tricks on a magician.
2) Coincidental Similarity
We are not saying to make up a similarity but rare similarities..like....
1) Booth School of Business
2) Columbia Business School
3) Ivey Business School
4) Johnson Graduate School of Management
6) Kellogg School of Management
7) Stanford Graduate School of Business
8) London Business School
9) Harvard Business School
10) MIT Sloan School of Management
11) Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Team Discussion Strategy + Interview Tips)
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