The Art of Small Talk in the Interview

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Posted November 11, 2013 by Jill Vived in Career Moves

Recruiter checking the candidate during job interview

Sweaty palms. Racing heart. An interview room can be a scary place, no matter how many times you’ve sat on the receiving end. But never fear, Career Girls, using the well-practiced art of small talk can make interviewing a breeze. Just a little friendly banter will turn your upcoming job interview from banal Q&A to amiable exchange of both pleasantries and professional skillsets and give you that extra edge you need to get the offer.

QUELL THE PRE-INTERVIEW JITTERS

Leading off with small talk in an interview has many benefits, not the least of which is to help lose those pre-interview jitters. While you are walking to the interview room with the interviewer, start making some casual comments: compliment an article of clothing, comment on the weather or how the nice the office is. It doesn’t really matter what the comment is, but once you get some casual conversation started, it helps set your mind at ease and also helps to establish a connection with the interviewer. Establishing a personal connection with the interviewer is what will give you staying power in her mind and should make for a more relaxed and comfortable interview experience. Just be mindful to stop the small talk after a few minutes; remember, you are there to interview for a job, not discuss your latest Marc Jacobs handbag.

ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS

What you should do throughout the interview, though, is to ask a lot of questions. This goes both for the small talk portion of the interview, as well as the weighty part. Being inquisitive about both the role and the company shows that:

a)  You have done your research and;

b)  You are interested in learning more about the position.

Hiring managers are not only looking for smarts and talents, they also look for someone excited about the role and the direction the company is taking. Asking lots of questions shows that not only do you have the talent your resume boasts, you are also excited to learn more about the role.

But, what if the interviewer already answered all of my questions over the course of the interview? Well, that’s good! It means you most likely had a very substantive interview, which means the hiring manager was very interested in learning more about you and how you might fit in to the company. That being said, you should still ask some questions. More than likely, something came up during your interview that you didn’t know: ask more questions to delve more deeply into the subject. And don’t wait until the end to ask your questions. It is much more relevant to ask questions during the interview, as questions arise. That way, you won’t be stumped for questions at the conclusion of the interview, when you’ve moved on from those topics and potentially forgotten the question you so desperately wanted to ask.

Interview right and you’ll realize that small talk goes beyond the standard, I love your blouse to show the interviewer that you are a composed, multi-faceted Career Girl who would be a real asset to the company.

Give yourself a leg up and utilize that small talk you’ve been practicing all your life.


About the Author

Jill Vived

Jill Vived is a freelance writer and marketing communications professional currently working as the Director of Marketing for Vivalta, Inc., a recruiting firm specializing in placing finance and accounting professionals in Denver and San Francisco she co-owns with her husband. Working in the search industry has given Jill a distinct perspective on careers and job search that she is excited to share with Career Girls everywhere. When she is not reading up on everything marketing, branding, and career related, Jill spends her time chasing around her two young children, dreaming up DIY crafts, and enjoying the great outdoors.

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