How to Build Rapport with On-Campus Recruiters
The Bragging Point Technique
After the initial introductions are made, there is usually a long, silent walk back to the interview room. It may be a short period of time, but it can often feel like a death march. Instead of walking silently behind the interviewer, take the opportunity to establish a basic level of rapport. As you begin "the walk," whether it is 5 feet or 500 feet, comment to the interviewer, "I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you today." Wait for a response, then prompt with a well-selected bragging point about the interviewer's company, showing that you have done your research. A bragging point is something the employees of the company would be particularly proud to note. It can usually be found in the President's letter to the shareholders in the company's annual report.
An example would be: "I understand that your company has been growing at over 30 percent per year for the last five years. It must be an exciting time to be working for XYZ." Always choose what you feel will be the number one bragging point for the company. Turn the tables and look at it from the employer's point of view. What would be their selling point in attracting new employees to work for their company? When you show that you have detailed knowledge of the company in one area, it will be assumed that you have even greater knowledge about the company in general. Set up this bragging point as an opener on your way to the interview room and you will not only show your knowledge of the company, you will also set a level of rapport that will guide you through the course of the interview.
How to Immediately Impress a Recruiter
If you have done your job well in researching the company, carry the company information with you to the interview—not packed away in your folder, but out where it can be seen. Most recruiters will notice immediately that you have an advanced edition of what they may have been giving to others at the end of the interview. It shows that you have done your homework in advance.
Where to get this information? The Career Center usually has a company folder with materials gathered from past visits. Don't worry if the information is six months or a year out of date, since it will give the recruiter the opportunity to update you on the latest. You can also find some of this information online in the Careers section of the corporate website, especially if they have a College subsection.
Make sure you know the information inside and out. This is not just a prop to use for show, since you will be expected to have read the full contents if you are carrying it. Be ready and willing to demonstrate your basic understanding of the company when asked. Good preparation will always impress an on-campus recruiter, whose day often consists of explaining, over and over ad nauseum, what their company does for a living. Finally, someone who understands in advance. You have made an instant and valuable connection at the front-end, giving you a distinct advantage.