How to Make Your Interviewer More Comfortable

Interviewing is an awkward thing. There’s a lot of pressure built into the process from the jump. You’re trying to put your best foot forward enough so that someone selects you for a long-term employment arrangement, one that typically lasts years. It’s akin to going on a few dates and then getting married. There’s pressure on both sides too. As an interviewee, you’re concerned with your performance, which is paramount. You’re in a position to articulate why you, above all other candidates, are the best-suited individual for the role. Your exceptional interview performance, however, is not enough. The other part of this Tango is ensuring your dance partner is having a great time. To do this, you need to make them as comfortable as possible. Here are three helpful tips to ensure your interviewer is receiving you optimally:

1.    Lead with warmth. Go in with a handshake that starts traditional but then touch their shaking hand with your non-shaking hand. This “hand hug” provides a professional and appropriately affectionate point of human connection that subconsciously signals to your interviewer, “this is a friend.” Yes, men, this move is for you too. Both sexes should lean into the “hand hug shake.” Then, throughout the interview, smile and add moments of levity to reinforce the notion that you’re on the same team.

2.    Make a meaningful connection. Before your interview, research your interview team. Do a little cyber-stalking to figure out where your interviewer is from, what school they went to, what organizations they’ve worked for, and any other stand-out pieces of their background. Once you have a few commonalities identified, consider discussing the topic that will set the best tone for your meeting. My recommendation is to aim for the deepest point of connection that you share or the one that provides you the most genuine interest. If you have nothing in common, express your excitement for being there, combined with gratitude for their time.

3.    Mirror their style. Mirroring as a means to subconsciously influence a person towards considering you as an extension of themselves has been around a while and is super effective at driving up your likeability quotient. If you become a mirror to someone, they think you are like them. Because we like ourselves, we also like people who are like us, plain and simple. In an interview, pay close attention to your interviewer’s body language, tone of voice, and word choice. Aim to match their energetic level. Small changes in your behavior can influence how your interviewer perceives the favorability of your candidacy. 

In your next interview, lead with warmth, make a meaningful connection, and mirror your interviewer’s style to increase your chemistry. Don’t forget to download my interview response strategy guide, which outlines how best to answer the top three interview questions. Good luck!