About the author

Darren Cronian, the author of this guide, has spent eight years securing remote jobs and building a successful freelancing business. His goal is to help people escape the office. Read more >

Building rapport in a remote job interview is a nuanced process that goes beyond the usual “be yourself” advice. The absence of physical presence can make it challenging to establish a connection, but it’s not impossible

Here’s how to build rapport in a remote interview, focusing on the subtleties that can make a significant difference.

How to Build Rapport in a Remote Job Interview
Pre-Interview Research: Know Your Interviewer

Before the interview, research the person who will be interviewing you. Look at their LinkedIn profile, read any articles they’ve written, or watch interviews they’ve given. It is not about stalking but understanding their professional background and interests.

This knowledge will allow you to tailor your conversation, ask insightful questions, and find common ground.

For example, if you find out your interviewer has a background in project management, you might discuss your experience with software that has helped keep you productive, even if the job you’re applying for isn’t directly related to project management.

The Importance of the First Few Minutes

The beginning of the interview sets the tone for the entire conversation. After the initial greetings, engage in a small amount of small talk—but make it meaningful. If you’ve done your pre-interview research, this is the time to drop what you’ve learned subtly.

For instance, if you know they recently published an article, you might say, “I read your recent piece on remote team dynamics; it gave me a lot to think about.” These conversation starters show you’ve done your homework and are engaged in the industry dialogue.

Non-Verbal Cues: The Devil is in the Details

The camera angle, background, and lighting can send non-verbal cues in a remote setting. Position your camera at eye level to simulate eye contact, which is crucial because it’s the closest you can get to making eye contact, a cornerstone of building rapport.

Ensure your background is free from distractions. Good lighting can also make the interaction more pleasant and create a positive impression.

Active Listening: More Than Just Nodding

Active listening in a remote setting involves more than nodding your head. Use verbal affirmations like “I see,” “That makes sense,” or “I understand” to show you’re engaged with the interviewer.

If there’s a natural pause in the conversation, briefly summarize what the interviewer has said before giving your response. This not only shows that you’re listening but also that you’re processing the information.

Mirroring: Subtly Reflect Their Communication Style

Mirroring is a psychological tactic where you subtly mimic the other person’s behavior, tone, or speech patterns. If your interviewer is formal, maintain a standard style.

Feel free to incorporate a lighter tone in your responses if they’re more casual, and use humor to create a sense of familiarity and comfort, which can go a long way in building rapport.

Ask Thoughtful Questions

When it’s your turn to ask questions, go beyond the usual “What’s the company culture like?” or “What are the next steps in the interview process?”

Instead, ask questions demonstrating your interest in the role and the company. For example, “What challenges is the team currently facing, and how can someone in this role contribute to overcoming them?”

Post-Interview Follow-Up: The Final Touch

After the interview, send a personalized thank you email.

Reference specific topics discussed during the interview to show you were engaged and serious about the role. For example, “I enjoyed our discussion about [specific project or challenge the company is facing], and it got me thinking about [your thoughts or solutions].”

How to Build Rapport in a Remote Job Interview

Building rapport in a remote interview is an art that involves preparation, keen attention to detail, and a deep understanding of human psychology.

It’s not just about answering questions competently; it’s about creating a genuine connection in a virtual environment. By implementing these strategies, you’ll stand out as a candidate for the remote job.

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