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Key strategies for building trust in interviews

By 5 March, 2024No Comments

Two professionals having a conversation in an office setting. One woman is wearing a bright red blazer, and the other woman has her back turned to the camera.

5 March 2024 — In every job interview, one crucial question looms large: Can the interviewer trust you? The last thing you want is for them to feel uncertain about you. Building trust is therefore crucial.

I once had an interviewer express confidence in me, citing potential improvements I could make to their call centre metrics and customer satisfaction scores. Being young, slightly cocky, but intuitively knowing I’ll not get hired if my interviewer didn’t like or trust me, I replied, “Don’t just like me – trust me.”

This approach earned me a second interview and a subsequent job offer, which I respectfully declined.

Successful job searches hinge on several factors:

  • Networking: Leveraging connections can significantly expedite the job search process, as referrals often carry more weight than cold applications.
  • LinkedIn profile and resume: These documents should highlight not just skills and experience, but also tangible results achieved.
  • Likeability: Being likeable can outweigh technical skills and professional background in some cases.
  • Communication skills: Articulating yourself clearly and confidently is key to building trust during interviews.

However, none of these factors matter if the employer lacks trust in you. Trust is the foundation upon which all professional relationships are built. Without it, your qualifications become irrelevant. Employers assess trustworthiness based on these five fundamental questions:

  1. Can you deliver results?
  2. Will you be easy to manage?
  3. Are you a good fit for the team and company culture?
  4. Can you be relied upon?
  5. Do you exhibit professionalism and integrity?

Building trust during the application process

Managers need assurance that you can fulfil your responsibilities, collaborate effectively, and maintain integrity. Instances of candidates failing to deliver despite promising otherwise are unfortunately common, leading to more cautious hiring practices.

To gain a competitive edge, prioritize building trust throughout the job search process. Trust-building begins at the initial application stage, where networking and referrals can significantly enhance credibility.

Although it may not always be possible to network into a company, you can still use LinkedIn and other social media platforms to create a personal brand and establish yourself as a SME (Subject Matter Expert). A key method of building trust is becoming known within your industry and profession. We tend to trust those we know, even if we only know them by their reputation.

Presenting your results numerically, while your competition is just offering opinions (“I’m a team player,” “I love to sell,” “I’m a JAVA coding Ninja”), establishes trust. Your LinkedIn profile and resume should be void of opinions and solely populated with results you’ve achieved. (“In 2023, I managed an Inside Sales Team of 15 agents, generating $17.6 million in sales. The average order size was $4,250.”)

Enhancing trust during the interview stage

When interviewing, be honest, clear, and specific about your skills, experience, and career goals. Never make contradictions or exaggerations. Above all, be your authentic self. Authenticity is the primary driver to creating trust.

I’m not implying that the times you weren’t hired were due to your interviewer not trusting you; many factors go into making a hiring decision. The harsh truth is that while your interviewer may have trusted you, they trusted the candidate they hired more.

Ultimately, the goal is to leave interviewers feeling confident in your abilities and character. So, before every interview, ask yourself: How can I instil trust in the interviewer, even as a stranger?

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to