Hiring: Take the Rapport Test

As you interview candidates for pivotal leadership roles at your company, ask yourself the question "Will this person be able to work effectively with the key internal stakeholders of the role, such as the CEO, the management team and with external stakeholders such as clients and suppliers?"

To build connections, maintain rapport and motivate such a wide variety of people, a candidate needs to demonstrate such character traits as an interest in others, humility, humor, willingness to share information, reasonableness, listening skills and respect for opinions that may not agree with their own. These traits may become apparent during your interviews. But to identify them accurately, you'll need to pay attention not just to the candidates' answers to your questions but also to the way in which they deliver those answers.

As you observe the candidates' behavior, ask yourself, "How will they actually behave in this role in this organization? Will they contribute to open discussions in meetings? Will they listen to the ideas of others? Will they work collaboratively? Will they represent the company positively?"

The Rapport Test

This test will provide you with some insight in determining a candidate's ability to build rapport.

1. Was the individual willing to share information with you? Did their body language demonstrate openness?

2. When you shared your perspective, did the candidate respect your opinion or dismiss it out of hand? Was the candidate comfortable maintaining optimal eye contact?

3. Did they initiate any conversation? Did they take active steps to connect with you? Did their facial expression and body posture show genuine interest?

4. Was the candidate straightforward and sincere with their answers, and did their body language deliver the same message? Did you gain a sense of trust?

5. Did the candidate manage to get on the same wavelength with you? Did they demonstrate empathy in a professional manner? Could they relate to your needs?

These questions are critical in evaluating the rapport building skills of a potential leadership candidate, so you should always take a moment after the interview to review and articulate what you've just observed.