Job Interview Small Talk

How to excel at small talk during a job interview

04/04/2014BY: Tracey Mesken

​Small talk: it sounds trivial, but it's actually something that could make a big difference in your next job interview.

How small talk can help you in a job interview

Small talk is the natural start to a conversation with someone you’ve just met. Engaging in casual chat will show the interviewer you are easy to get along with.  Remember, they’re looking at not only your skills and experience, but at how well you’ll fit in with their team and culture.  That means it’s really important to show them you’ll be pleasant to work with.

Easing into a job interview will also help distract you from over-thinking the situation and getting too nervous. If you are relaxed, it will make both you and the interviewer comfortable in each other’s company, making the job interview flow more easily and naturally.

Here are our top tips for using small talk as an effective job interview tool:

1. Look for common interests

Let’s say you’ve seen a photo of the interviewer’s pet in their office. You may have a dog yourself and can think of a funny story to share with your interviewer. You both have a laugh and instantly, the mood is lighter. Keep a lookout for common interests like this, and turn them into a short conversation that will help to build a connection.

2. Prove you’ve done your research

A comment about the latest award the employer has received or an observation about the job can show the interviewer that you know what you’re talking about. Slip a bit of background knowledge into the conversation to demonstrate the time you've taken in researching the position.

3. Stick to safe topics

Stay well away from controversial subjects that could easily polarise your interviewer. That is, no politics, religion, current affairs or views on what people should do in certain situations. Remain neutral as much as possible.

4. Steer clear of inappropriate personal observations

Don't comment on or get too personal about things like what your interviewer is wearing or how they look, unless it is appropriate. Even if you think it’s just a compliment, they might take it the wrong way. Always best to remain safe.

5. Remember...it's a job interview so keep the small talk brief

Remember, you’re here to talk about the job. Have a quick chat about the weekend’s footy score, but be sure to get back on topic. You want to show the interviewer that you’re personable, but still focused.

Small talk is a great tool for making you memorable enough to secure a second job interview or even the job itself. Make it work for you by putting your own personality into it, and get through the interview with a lot less stress.

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