Get the most out of Interviews by building a favorable relationship from the start.
2 years ago - 2 mins to read
People who feel safe and comfortable are more likely to share valuable information. Some desired insights might surface mistakes or struggles that people feel ashamed about. To comfortably talk about anything with everyone, you should build rapport (pronounced ‘rah-pore’) with your interviewees.
People look for themselves in others. The ‘similarity’ effect, from the field of sociology, says people will like you better if you seem similar. Commonality will help you build rapport during your interviews. Don’t shy away from sharing what you think is important or have experienced that they might value and understand. Just keep the interview goal in mind.
Tell them why and how important it is to you to solve their problem.
Align your appearance and the location with the values of your interviewee.
Respond to things they believe to be important with why it’s important to you too.
You might have heard of ‘mirroring’ before. By replicating someone’s posture and presence, you again create similarity on the spot. But don’t just copy their body language, people can see through this easily! There’s other things that you can mirror too. Think about tone of voice, emotion, use of words, and their points of view.
Notice someone’s energy and use it to set the tempo of the interview.
Ask questions using their language.
Empathise with things that are important to them.
Everyone appreciates feeling heard. Simply nodding your head is a simple gesture that lets someone know they’ve been heard. Affirming what people say will make it easier for them to keep talking. Be attentive to what people communicate and how. Make sure they keep talking about the things that you want to learn from them.
Use affirmative language, like ‘yes’, ‘ok’, ‘of course’ with a low voice.
Regularly return eye contact, but don’t make it weird.
Let moments of silence exist to let someone know you’re still listening (and waiting).
Bonus: Unless you want to end the interview, don’t look at your watch, phone, or turn too far away from the interviewee.
One final note. These techniques are valuable. But being honest and truthful is key. Stay as close as possible to what you’d normally do. If you look or feel like a ‘fake’, you instantly lose credibility and your shot at getting valuable information.