Tel: +353 1 676 8998


Making the emotional connection at executive interviews

by: Ruaidhri | Posted May 5, 2017


We have spoken in previous blogs about the dynamics of executive job interviews, and how they are not always the easiest or most fluid of social interactions.

With the stakes high – especially at a senior management level – it can sometimes be difficult to make an emotional connection with interviewers who may feel under pressure to pick the right candidate for the role.

One way that you can achieve ‘cut through’ and avoid a potentially tense interview dynamic which could affect your interview performance,  is to begin the process of getting the interviewer to ‘resonate’ with your point of view.

You can do this by looking for opportunities to build an emotional connection with the interviewer – based on communicating your past experiences more effectively than the other candidates competing for the role.


Understand your challenge:

‘Getting along’ with an interviewer is great – when it happens. However, this does not necessarily translate into showing the interviewer how well equipped you are to take on the new role.

The interviewer’s challenge is to get a picture of how well you will adapt to the company culture; your ability to get the most out of your team, and what it will be like to work with you on a wet Wednesday morning when everybody is under pressure.

The communication challenge you face at interview is assisting the interviewer with this visualisation process.


Use emotion to your advantage

Getting your interviewer emotionally invested in an example that you are communicating, or giving them an insight into how you approach certain situations demonstrate how you will build an emotional connection with your interviewers.

One simple technique you can use to set yourself apart from your competitors is to ‘crystallise the dilemma’ when communicating an issue that you faced in a previous role.

Instead of solely focusing on the actions you took, bring the interviewer into your situation, the emotion you were feeling, the pressure you were under and the consequences that would have arisen, had you not handled the task at hand optimally.

In doing this, you are allowing the interviewer to ‘see’ you in action by showcasing how you felt at that specific time.


Preparation is critical

Harnessing the emotive context of your examples by giving interviewers a real insight into how you actually felt, can go a long way in achieving resonation with interviewers; it shows them how you think, and who you really are – which is what we are trying to achieve in getting them to view you as a potential colleague.

Interviewers will consistently come across candidates who tell them everything they think they want the interviewer to hear – but the interviewer has to try and see through this façade of perfection to get a proper understanding of who they are dealing with.

You don’t build a façade – you invite interviewers to assess you. And it is here where all your preparation should be of real value, as you work to ensure that your ability to communicate your worth and value is better than the other candidates going for the role.

Crystallising the dilemma is one of the simpler techniques that we use in getting the interviewer to stop viewing you as a ‘candidate’, and to view you instead as somebody with the potential to be a leader within their company.

Having the ability to connect emotionally with your interviewer is a critical component of your interview, as any social barrier that exists in this pressured environment lessens your ability to get the interviewer to ‘see’ you in the potential new role.

Looking granularly at each area of your preparation for opportunities to gain marginal gains over your competitor can be the difference between winning and losing at an executive interview level.


Ruaidhrí Finnegan is a communications consultant at Communiqué International where his focus is on executive job interview preparation. Communiqué International’s tested communication methodologies and frameworks ensure that our candidates extract the full value from their past experiences and communicate their full potential in a competitive interview. Whether you are thinking of starting your job search, have a job interview coming up or simply wish to improve your communications skills in your current role, the team at Communiqué can assist you.  Tel: +353 1 676 8998 or E-mail:

Communique's objective is to help our clients persuade people to their point of view.