Recruitment & Selection
Rapport-Building in Structured Interviews
- Competence – How competent does the applicant appear to be initially?
- Affect – How likable is the applicant?
- Similarity – How similar is the applicant to the interviewer?
Rapport-Building FindingsThe interviewer’s initial impressions of affect and similarity did impact interview scores and the likeliness of a job offer. Furthermore, initial impressions of the applicant’s competence influenced interview scores and the likelihood of receiving a job offer above and beyond initial impressions of affect and similarity. Overall, better initial impression ratings led to higher interview scores and greater likelihood of receiving a job offer.
Practical ImplicationsInitial competence ratings may be useful pieces of information when made early in the selection process, such as during career fair recruiting or during a screening interview. These intuitive impressions of the applicant’s competence are more suitable as a “select-out”, rather than a “select-in”, decision aid. Secondly, initial competence ratings may prove useful for jobs that require a lot of brief, meet-and-greet interactions with a variety of people. In this case, the applicant’s ability to interact effectively during the rapport-building stage of the interview may lend credit to the applicant’s social competence at handling similar social interactions on the job. As a way to capitalize on initial competence ratings, the DeGarmo Group would suggest implementing a structured scoring system that will guide interviewers in rating this interpersonal skill. Finally, organizations should be cautious about eliminating the initial rapport-building stage altogether from the structured interview for two reasons:
- Interviewers tend to naturally form initial impressions of applicants no matter what.
- The initial rapport-building stage can increase the applicant’s satisfaction with the interview and can function as an opportunity to further recruit the applicant.
This was a summary of the research and practice implications from: Barrick, M.R., Swider, B.W., & Stewart, G.L. (2010). Initial evaluations in the interview: Relationships with subsequent interviewer evaluations and employment offers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(6), 1163-1172.