What is Rapport? How to Build it, and Questions to Ask Along the Way

What is Rapport? Innovo Staffing


What is rapport? Why does it matter, and how do you build it? Rapport is defined by Lexico as “a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas, and communicate well.” It’s important to have rapport in relationships, friendships, and family life in order to make sure that parties understand each other and create intimacy. 


In a new work setting, rapport can be difficult to build. Work can cause tension in people and can make them feel less relaxed. You have to meet a lot of people who you don’t know yet and build rapport quickly. Rapport is super helpful for closing deals, making good hires, and finding the right job. Knowing how to build it will help you and your business succeed.

Rapport and Asking for Raises

When you’re asking for a raise in person, you’ll need rapport. People want to help out their friends, and if you can have the person making money decisions on your team, you can get an increase in your salary. This isn’t to say that you should “suck up” to your boss or anything. Rapport is between equals—not between an inferior and superior.


When you ask, make sure to display humility without being deferential. Say that you love the company environment and the work that you get to do, and that you’d appreciate an increase in payment commensurate with your performance. Be humble with your attitude, but also don’t look away and speak as if you’re being a bother. Be confident about your position in the company, and honest about your desire for a raise. Thinking about rapport and what it is can help you go into a meeting and ask for a raise, playing to the strengths that you’ve already established in your relationship with your boss.


How to Ask for a Raise in Writing Innovo Staffing
Ask for a Raise

How to Ask for a Raise in Writing

Depending on your company culture and systems, you may have to ask for a raise in writing. If this is the case, you’ll need to display the same humble yet confident attitude. Do this by using proper punctuation, keeping the letter/email short and to-the-point, and reference your qualifications for earning a raise.


You can leverage the rapport that you’ve built with your superiors, by referencing personal times where you really came through for them. Maybe you worked overtime often, or worked closely with them in a season. Maybe you made a play alongside them with a client. Talk about yourself as though you’re a key teammate with your superior.

Rapport in Interviews

Rapport-Building Questions

It’s not that people don’t like small talk. People generally can tell when you’re asking small talk questions to get behind the small talk questions to the authentic person, versus when you’re asking small talk questions to avoid going beyond the small talk questions.


It’s great to ask a candidate or interviewer where they’re from, where they went to college, and what they like to do. However, questions like that should be used to create a certain amount of authenticity and honesty, and not for the questions themselves. It’s hard to balance professionalism and friendliness in interview settings. Creating intimacy can help the interview go smoothly. However, it’s important to maintain professionalism so that it stays comfortable and is a good representation of yourself or your company. Remember, ask yourself: What is rapport? A relationship with good communication is key.. Try to go deeper than small talk to get to the person beneath it without getting too personal. In this case, the way that you ask the questions will matter far more than the content of the questions that you ask. Consider some of these questions for building rapport:

  • What are some comedians or comedy shows, movies, or podcasts that you really enjoy?
  • What is your favorite restaurant, and why?
  • What are some things you’re trying to improve about your lifestyle?
  • What are qualities that you look up to in some of your friends?
  • What is the most emotional album of all time for you?

The Psychology of Rapport

Building rapport is about basic, human psychology. What makes human beings connect with each other, and want to work together? Unlock that, and you’ll have the secret to getting everyone who interviews to want your job, the secret to getting offered many of the jobs you interview for, and the secret to landing raises and promotions.


For example, mirroring body language can be a powerful tool. Doing this in interviews can help establish powerful associations that can drive teamwork and help you get the job. If you are the one who is performing the interview, try mirroring in order to relax your interviewee, and help them feel confident. 


Verbal cues are important as well. Interviewing remotely or over the phone is a similar ballgame to interviewing in person, but since there isn’t any body language to play off of, you have to rely on speech. Make sure to use kind words, be careful with jokes that might not translate well over the phone, and be sure to speak slowly and clearly. 

Building Rapport With Your Interviewees

It can be difficult to get what you pay for in a hire. It is important to build rapport with interviewees so that you can see the more open, authentic sides of them.


Interviewing isn’t only stressful for the person interviewing for the job; it can also be stressful for the person conducting the interview. If you’re the interviewer, you have things at stake as well. A great candidate that has a bad interview experience may end up signing with a different company. A great candidate might seem like a mediocre candidate if they aren’t given a clear interview structure, one that allows them to really flourish and control the room. Build rapport with interviewees by asking clear and clarifying questions to avoid confusion. 


That being said, the amount of rapport you can build during an interview is highly proportionate to the quality of your candidates. Rapport with a mediocre candidate won’t get you the great candidate your company needs. Rapport with a great candidate will make them take your job. Consider using a staffing agency to land more great candidates in your next hiring search.


Building Rapport With Your Interviewees Innovo Staffing
Building Rapport

Building Rapport With Your Interviewer

Presenting yourself as a confident candidate is critical to landing a job. Confidence, initiative, and self-awareness are some of the most valuable soft skills that a company can ask for in their employees.


How should you build rapport in an interview? Use stories and storytelling to seem casual and reveal simple things about yourself. Storytelling captivates audiences, and helps your interviewers open up and connect with you as a candidate. For maximum success, brush up on your skills, and research common and critical mistakes made in interviews. And remember: Be loose and relaxed. If you are, your interviewer will be, too.  


Building rapport when you are the one being interviewed is a simple matter of being likable, and being competent. Convince the interviewer that they can see themselves hanging out with you in a break room, and convince them that you’re a stable, good hire that won’t bring them under scrutiny for their hiring practices.


Final Thoughts

When you’re trying to find a job, consider working with a staffing agency. When you come across an employer’s desk through a staffing agency, you’ll come recommended to them by a source that they trust to send them good candidates. In that way, you’ll have a certain amount of rapport built before you even show up for the interview.

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