Transformative resume building and interview coaching for college seniors


Helen Koster

When all the candidates for a job have similar credentials, the tiebreaker is chemistry.

Here’s what it sounds like: “They all could do the job. I don’t know what it is but I feel I would work really well with her.” That comment translates as “we had great chemistry.”

Sometimes chemistry in an interview just happens, sometimes it doesn’t. We all know the difference. There’s a sense, or not, that we are on the same page with the other person. There’s an ease in the conversation and a trust that the conversation is going in the right direction.

So what is chemistry? It’s the result you produce once you have undertaken the process of building rapport.

Much of rapport occurs at a subconscious level. Fortunately, it’s a skill and can be learned.

In this blog and others to follow, I will introduce you to important information about rapport and give you some exercises to practice in order to develop the skill.


Let’s start with the role the sound of your voice plays in rapport building.

Since so many first interviews take place over the phone, let’s start with the role the sound of your voice plays in rapport building.

Begin to distinguish voice sounds by listening to the tone, tempo, and timbre of people’s voices. Tones are high or low, loud or soft. Tempos are fast or slow with or without pauses. Human voice timbres have been described as gravely, cooing, sing-song, and squeaky. You get the idea!

Go ahead and choose people whom you know to be friends and have natural chemistry.

Listen to the sound of their voices.

Do their voices have similar characteristics? Do their voices share the same qualities in tone, tempo, and timbre?

Now recall the sound of someone’s voice you but feel there is no real chemistry between you. What do you hear? Where do the sounds of your voice match and where do they mismatch?

Stay with that recollection and begin to imagine moderating your voice to align more closely with his or hers.

The next time you are in conversation with that person, shift your voice to come closer to their tone, tempo or timbre.

Keep going until you feel more at ease until you feel like you have established some chemistry.

Yes, it will feel a little awkward at first but in spite of that why would you want to practice this?

Excellent communicators gain rapport by acknowledging the other person. One way to do that is to match the sound of someone’s voice. This is not manipulation or mimicry. It is two instruments in synch… And, the feeling you get from that is what you want to achieve in an interview. Chemistry!