4 Tips to Crush Small Talk
30% of interviews are decided within the first 5 mins, during which you are very likely to encounter small talk. For some us, small talk comes naturally. It's never been intuitive for me; I've had to learn how. Below are some practical tips (and examples) for you to get you started on the right footing with your job interviewer!
Prior to the interview, gather information about the company, its culture, and recent news. This knowledge will allow you to initiate relevant conversations and showcase your genuine interest.
Interviewer: "Welcome! Have you had a chance to explore our company website?"
Candidate: "Absolutely! I was impressed by your recent initiative to promote sustainability within the organization. It aligns with my personal values, and I'm excited to be part of a company that prioritizes environmental responsibility."
2) Start with Common Ground
Begin the conversation with a topic that both you and the interviewer can relate to, such as recent industry trends, hobbies, or shared experiences. This creates an instant connection and puts both parties at ease.
Interviewer: "I noticed you have a travel section on your resume. Have you been able to explore any interesting destinations recently?"
Candidate: "Yes, indeed! Last summer, I had the opportunity to visit Iceland. The breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture left a lasting impression on me. Have you ever been there?"
3) Active Listening
Show genuine interest in the interviewer's responses. Active listening involves maintaining eye contact, nodding, and responding appropriately. This demonstrates respect and allows for deeper engagement.
Interviewer: "We recently organized a team-building retreat in the mountains. What are your thoughts on team-building activities?"
Candidate: "Team-building activities can truly strengthen collaboration and foster a positive work environment. I'm curious to know more about the retreat you organized. What were some of the specific activities you implemented and how did they impact the team dynamics?"
4) Be Positive
Maintain a positive and upbeat attitude throughout the conversation. Avoid complaining or discussing negative experiences. Instead, focus on highlighting achievements, opportunities for growth, or positive aspects of your past experiences.
Interviewer: "How was your journey to our office today? I heard there was heavy traffic."
Candidate: "Yes, there was some traffic, but I didn't let it dampen my spirits. I used the extra time to catch up on my favorite podcast, and it actually turned out to be quite an enjoyable commute. It's always a pleasure to come here and I'm excited for the opportunity to interview with your team."
Remember, these are hypothetical examples, and it's important to tailor your small talk based on the specific context and individuals you're conversing with during the job interview. The key is to be authentic, genuine, and responsive, creating a positive and engaging atmosphere that allows you to connect with the interviewer on a personal level. Good luck interviewing!