People preparing for a job interview often ask how they can make an impression, how they can touch hearts.
One of the most important things to do during an interview is to facilitate connection building with the person you are interviewing with. A strong relationship between you and the interviewer can help you stand out as the better candidate when your skills and experience are similar to other candidates. It leaves the interviewer with a positive impression of who you are.
The connection building might even start earlier, even when you contact the company via phone or when you are greeted at the door. The interviewer or hiring manager may ask the greeter what their opinion of you was.
Southwest airlines have taken this all the way.
"If you're flying Southwest Airlines to interview at the company's Dallas headquarters, be sure to turn on the charm as soon as you enter the airport. Although it's not official company policy, flight attendants and other Southwest employees often submit comments about job candidates to those in charge of making the hire. A unique mix of southern hospitality and northern wisecracking is the hallmark of Southwest's corporate culture, particularly among those who serve the public. If you don't have it, other Southwest workers are likely to notice. "If one of our employees is impressed, or not so impressed, after talking with a candidate on a flight, they let us know," says Amy Webb, manager of employment in Southwest's People department. "They give us feedback proactively."
So keep in mind to be professional and show interest in the people who will eventually contribute to the decision-making of your hiring.
Once you have successfully made a strong connection with the interviewer, sustain it after the interview is over. Sending a follow-up email to thank the interviewer for their time is a great way to reinforce the connection that was made during the interview.
You can use this follow-up to reiterate an important topic you discussed during the interview and why you are looking forward to working with them. Doing this reminds the interviewer of the connection that was built during the interview and leaves a lasting impression that can lead to a job offer.