Interviews are more than a series of questions and answers. To make the most out of your interview, make a connection with the interviewer by initiating small talk. This will allow the interviewer to see a little bit more of your personality, establish rapport and leave them feeling as if they know more about you than just what’s on your résumé.
Effective small talk can help you set yourself apart from the competition. To help you get started, here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind when engaging in small talk.
Do stick to safe topics. Asking the interviewer if they had a nice weekend or commenting on the weather, is a great opener when beginning the interview. This gets the conversation going and helps the interviewer see that you’re comfortable interacting with others under stressful situations.
Don’t overuse flattery. Most interviewers don’t appreciate false praise. While being positive and friendly are great traits, telling the interviewer that you love their suit or wish you had a haircut just like theirs is a little much. So, try not to over do it on the compliments during an interview.
Don’t be negative. If the interviewer asks how your drive in was this morning, avoid negative remarks such as: “The traffic was horrendous, the lights took too long, and there wasn’t a parking spot close to the building.” Instead, focus on positive thoughts – your excitement for the interview, pleasant songs you heard on the radio or how peaceful the drive in was this morning. Overwhelming negativity can end your interview before it even starts. Interviewers want positive people working in their company, not negative individuals who will constantly complain.
Do open up when appropriate. If the interviewer mentions that he enjoys the same hobbies as you or attended the same college, take a moment to comment on the topic. This demonstrates your interest and connects you with the interviewer.
By making a connection with the interviewer, you can increase your odds of getting the job because now you’re more than just a piece of paper – you’re a real person with a story to tell.
Do you have any tips on how to initiate small talk in an interview?