Building a Rapport: Why and how?

Building a Rapport

Building a rapport with candidates and employees is essential

Building a rapport is an integral part of any recruitment process – if it isn’t in yours, it should be.

Having a rapport with someone is having a good understanding of someone, and the ability to communicate well with them – building a relationship through mutual trust and respect. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But, do you do it as often as you should in your recruitment process?

Initially, I’m going to look at the “why” you should be building a rapport, before addressing the speculation around “how”.


So, why is it necessary to build a rapport with a candidate?

Let’s look at this from two perspectives:

  • The candidate. The candidate sees all contact with representatives of the company as an insight into the employee culture. Many candidates may even reject jobs if no rapport is made, purely because this gives a negative reflection of the employee culture at that company. Think about it: would you want to be in a job in which nobody really speaks to you? You can lose a high-quality candidate, who knows what they’re looking for, as quickly as you can approve their application – their comfort is your benefit.
  • The interviewer. This gives you an opportunity, one-to-one with the candidate, to really get to know them. Make sure there’s nothing in the room to intimidate them, starting with yourself – open up your body, because if you look comfortable, they’ll start to feel more comfortable. Getting to know the candidate, and asking them more in-depth questions, gives you an insight into their personality and their capabilities in the workplace – both of which can be important factors when making a job offer. If you really get to know them, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about whether or not they are suited, not just to the role but, to the business.

Now, you know ‘why’ you should be building a rapport with all of your candidates.

So, ‘how’ do you build a rapport with your candidates?

  • Body language. As I previously said, opening up your body language will be less intimidating for the candidate. This will allow them to feel more comfortable in the environment and be more like themselves. Try this: don’t cross your arms. Don’t cross your legs. Try leaning slightly forward to show them that you are actually listening.
  • Eye contact. Some candidates may feel as though you’re being rude by not maintaining eye contact. This is enough to put the candidate off wanting the job. Maintaining eye contact when you’re listening shows that you are paying attention and taking in exactly what the candidate is saying. Maintaining eye contact when you’re talking shows that you are confident in your message which, in turn, makes the candidate believe what you are saying.
  • Take a genuine interest in them. Get to know what’s important to them – taking this time to do so can help you get to know the candidate, and also reaffirms their interest in your company by exhibiting the employee culture in a positive way.

The above points are some of the main things you can do to build a rapport with your candidates.


However, there are a number of simple things that you can start doing that will contribute to a strong rapport:

  • Offer them a firm, but not intimidating, handshake
  • Answer questions as honestly as possible
  • Relate to them on a personal level, if possible – do as much research on them as possible (e.g. “I see you’re from *****, my parents were born there).
  • Offer them a compliment, but don’t seem too enthusiastic about it (e.g. “I like your *****”)
  • Empathise with them – try and see things from their perspective. Understand how they feel about things.
  • Use their name regularly. This creates more of a ‘friendship’ feel about the process, whilst also reaffirming their name to yourself so you won’t risk forgetting it.

To build a rapport with a candidate, you don’t have to like or agree with everything they say. All you have to do is understand and respect it. There are a large number of things that you can do, that are extremely simple, to help you build a rapport with your candidates.


Your recruitment process should be an enjoyable experience for all of your candidates – building a rapport makes it easier for them to transition between stages, making it more comfortable and enjoyable for them, whilst also allowing you to pick out and grab hold of the best talent.

So, how will you go about building a rapport with your candidates?

Your Diverse Workforce

Stay Interviews – What Questions Should I Be Asking?

stay interview questions

Your Stay Interview questions are extremely important. But, with so many possible options available – where do you get started?

It’s important to get your Stay Interview questions right. Getting it wrong can mean that you invest your time, energy and resources into asking the wrong questions.

This can lead to poor retention data. If your data doesn’t tell you anything about why your employees stay – it’s a wasted opportunity.

At first, you will invest your time, energy and resources into figuring out which questions are most beneficial to your company. As a result, your data may be skewed for a short period of time. But, this investment will enable you to narrow down your questions to those which are most effective. It’s important to remember that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to the right questions to ask.


Download our e-book for more great tips on stay interviews and how they could help your business


Here at some tips to consider, when forming your set of perfect questions:


1. What do you want to do with the stay-interview data after?

First and foremost, this is a battle between qualitative and quantitative data.

Do you want to collate all of the data into a graph at the end? Then consider using questions that translate into quantitative data.

Do you want to file a report on all of the reasons why your employees leave or stay? If so, open and probing questions will deliver more qualitative data.

In our experience, a mix of both may be the best option. Qualitative data can take a long time to analyse. Our clients tell us that, if there is one thing they are guilty of, it’s not taking the time to properly analyse the results.

Similarly, too much quantitative data can generate simplistic evidence – it won’t explain everything in as much depth as may be beneficial.

retention interviews


2. Your company values

You would like to think, considering this individual has a job at your company, that they are familiar with your company values.

Better yet – you would like to think that, whilst they are at work, they live and breathe your company values.

Many companies have a set of core values. Consider incorporating your company values into yourStay Interview questions.

Try basing some of the questions entirely around your core values. This will, indirectly, allow you to get a feel as to how engaged the employee is.

retention interviews

3. Avoid questions that contribute to the ‘Company Ego’

Having reviewed hundreds of Stay Interviews, we know that questions such as “Why are we the best company to work for?” are, without a shadow of a doubt, to be avoided. However, they still crop up time and time again. You don’t want to give the impression to the employee that the ‘Company Ego’ is more important to you – especially not in their Retention Interview.

Asking these sorts of questions generates extremely biased data and feedback – meaning that it’s completely invaluable to you. If you ask questions with the obvious answer, don’t be surprised if the majority of people tell you about how amazing your company is.

Questions that go for an extra level of depth can be much more beneficial. Try one of our favourites – “If you were approached by an external recruiter about a new role elsewhere, what reasons would you give them for wanting to stay here?”

This type of situational question is more real-life. Your new hire will have time to reflect. This should allow you to elicit much better evidence about the new-starter experience.

The Stay Interview questions are just one piece of the puzzle – it must be right, but the questions must also align with how and when you conduct the interviews.

Are you finding you have high turnover and want to find out why your staff might be leaving? Click here to find out how Cohesion can help you. 

How do I conduct Retention Interviews?

Conducting Retention interviews is an integral part of your employee experience

Conducting Retention interviews is an integral part of your employee experience

Conducting Retention Interviews is a necessary part of your employee experience. Retention data is important – our clients tell us that, without clear data, they cannot make reliable decisions on which HR initiatives are likely to have the most positive impact on why employees choose to stay.

Employee benefits; such as better pay, better training, and a better benefits package – all come at a cost to your company. So, it makes sense that clear and robust retention data helps HR teams to pinpoint which initiatives will have the greatest impact. Conducting Retention Interviews in the way most suited to your company is massively important.

Choosing how to generate good retention data is key – get it wrong, and you’re unlikely to find out any more than you already know. But, how do you go about choosing the right tool?


Your preferred option should satisfy two needs – high response rate, and honest feedback.

So, what are your options?

  • Face-to-face

Conducting Retention Interviews face-to-face would, arguably, generate the highest response rate. Think about it – you can’t ignore your line manager, or your HR team, if they’re right in front you, can you?

This approach might, however, have a detrimental effect in terms of honest feedback – new-starters are less likely to point out the negatives with their Manager, especially if they have an issue which is directly related to their Manager. Consequently, conducting Retention Interviews face-to-face may be limited in delivering honest feedback.

Dependent on the size of your company, and staff turnover levels, face-to-face methods can put a lot of pressure on your HR or Operational resources. If you are unsure on whether you will be able to commit the resource to manage this internally, face-to-face might not produce the right outcomes.

  • Telephone

Another option is to conduct Retention Interviews over the telephone.

Arguably, telephone interviews may produce a similar amount of unreliable feedback as face-to-face interviews. However, this can be mitigated by addressing the lack of anonymity. You can do this by having them carried out by someone other than their immediate line manager.

Again, if the manager or HR team cannot commit to consistently conducting these interviews, the reliability of your data will suffer. The amount of people that you can speak to is directly related to response levels. In our experience, conducting telephone interviews outside of working hours is an effective way of driving the response rate upwards.

If you’re not convinced you can commit resources to constant telephone interviews, then your data is going to be just as unreliable. Another option, however, could be to collaborate with an outsourced provider. This will guarantee anonymity for the new-starter, improving the quality of the data whilst also gaining more of it – allowing your HR teams to make more reliable decisions. But, this option comes at a cost. So, be clear about your likely Return on Investment, before you invest.

  • Online/email

A third option would be asking your new-starters to conduct the Retention Interview via email/online. The response for this approach, as you may expect, can be considerably lower than the other two. Think about it – how easy is it to ignore an email?

However, much like the telephone interview, it can offer some form of anonymity. Therefore, this approach may generate good levels of honest feedback.

Your internal HR team, by all likelihood, will face a limited impact once you’re all set up.

Whilst it’s important to approach your audience in the right way – the best Retention Interviews will align with 3 components; the way you approach them; when you approach them, and; the questions that you ask.


From the point-of-view of an outsourced provider, we’ve tried and tested all three of these methods. Telephone Retention Interviews achieved by far the greatest level of response (achieving over an 80% average across our client base). They also produce a lot of actionable and honest feedback. This is why we don’t do it any other way!

How will you approach your employees? We’d love to hear in our comments below!

Conducting Retention Interviews

Candidate Referral Schemes – 3 Simple and Effective Steps

Candidate Referral Schemes

Candidate referral schemes might just be the answer to your recruitment issues.

It’s common knowledge that employers can use Candidate Referral Schemes.

However, “how” to ask for candidate referrals isn’t made entirely evident. Asking for referrals too soon can lead to poor referrals. Asking for them in the wrong way can be misconstrued by the candidate. Following these 3 simple and effective steps, coupled with an appropriate recruitment campaign, will help you to source the talent that you require, using Candidate Referral Schemes.


  • Plant the seed, before asking the candidate to water it

Don’t dive straight in after their first month and ask them for candidate referrals. Plant the seed – during one of their first meetings with their line manager, mention that you use Candidate Referral Schemes as a means of recruitment. This plants the seed because they begin thinking about who they would refer, whilst expecting you to ask the question at some point. This makes them feel more comfortable, as it’s not as though they’ve just joined the workforce and already they’re being asked to refer anyone they know.

Also, they may not even be enjoying their time working, but may feel obliged to refer someone. If they aren’t enjoying the work themselves, they may refer a bad candidate.

  • Let the candidate make the introduction

Provide them with a template for an email, so they cover the bits that you want to be covered. Through this, you get everything across that you would want, wrapped inside the friendly communication between the candidate and who they are referring. Ask them to touch on who you are, and why they are actually receiving the email. Accurate communication is key.

A communication stream has now been created between your company and the respondent. This is easy for you to follow up and chase after.

  • “Thank you”

Candidates have been referred. you’ve chased up the emails and pursued the lead. In the end, nothing comes of it. This is merely a technicality, and is by no stretch of the imagination the fault of the worker. It is imperative that you say thank you for each referral, regardless of the outcome. Perhaps try offering them a token of your appreciation. This shows that you are grateful for their effort, and encourages them to try again in the future. The last thing you would want to do is discourage your workers from referring anyone in the future.


Candidate Referral Schemes are arguably the most useful way of finding the candidates that are best-suited to any job. They boast the highest applicant to hire conversation rate (only 7% apply, but this accounts for 40% of all hires). 4 out of every 10 employees will have been recruited via means of employee/candidate referral, in short.

Try experimenting with your referral schemes: change the rewards you offer, use social media, set different guidelines etc. There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” when it comes to these referral schemes. You can only find your best one through a series of trial and error.

Using these 3 simple steps as a guideline to moulding the best Candidate Referral Scheme, coupled with a well-formed recruitment campaign, for your sector can provide you with the groundwork upon which you can build.

Improving employee engagement

 

5 Key Reasons You Need to be Using Glassdoor

Nowadays, it’s not always enough to offer candidates a good benefits package. What candidates want is so much more than just money – money doesn’t make you happy in your job role. What makes a candidate happy in their job role is the people around them – the Employee Culture. And, with the rise of the Internet, candidates don’t need to come to an interview to know about the Employee Culture. This is where Glassdoor comes in.

If you’re not familiar with Glassdoor – here’s an Infographic, outlining 5 key reasons why you need to be using it as a recruitment tool.

Own your Glassdoor account – own your recruitment.