Summary: Here are 10 conversation starters to help you get the conversation in your interview rolling in a good way and not over the cliff.
Not everyone likes to chitchat, but it is a necessary evil that can help your chances of impressing an interviewer. For those that struggle with small talk, there are some easy topics and icebreakers that you can use to get the conversation flowing. Have one or two good open-ended questions that make the person talk and you listen. Remember, be aware of your eye contact and body language as you start talking.
- “It is so nice to meet you. How was your weekend?”
There is nothing fancy or even creative about this statement and question, but it is friendly. This type of introduction also lets you start talking without having to be too personal.
- “Oh, what an interesting piece of art.”
Of course, you have to be sure that is an actual piece of art to discuss. This kind of question is simple but different, allowing you to talk with the interviewer about something other than the job for a bit.
- “What was the most pleasantly surprising thing about working here?”
Starting any conversation with the focus on the interviewer is a good sign. Getting them to discuss a positive part of the job with you shows them that you enjoy the positive aspects and care about what they have to say.
- “Congratulations on the big award. How did you guys come up with the idea?”
Sincere compliments are a great way to break the ice. Find out if the company or a specific team within it has been recognized for any special achievements. If you can find one, congratulate the interviewer on it.
- “What’s the most memorable thing that has happened to you since you started working here?”
Once again, this kind of question shows you have an interest in the positive parts of the company and what you can get out of it.
- “I really enjoyed the company’s last blog post.”
Compliments are a great way of impressing the interviewer. Also, showing that you are aware of the company’s social media activity is a good sign. Try to focus on the company’s or interviewer’s achievements instead of a compliment on something physical like their earrings or shirt.
- “I read this really interesting article (on the way here, last night…).”
This question is not right for every interviewer. Watch to see how they respond before going on. You don’t want to get into a lengthy explanation of the article if they have no interest.
- “What is the most interesting project or opportunity you have been able to work on here?”
Once again, your goal is to get the interviewer talking about their experiences while you listen. You are about to do a lot of talking, but if you can pick up some clues about the interviewer’s character and personality before, you may be able to cater your answers to better suit what they are looking for.
- “I read about the CEO in … Can you tell me more about this?”
This question simply shows you have properly researched the company and were curious about something related to the company and the CEO.
- “I enjoyed your webinar” or “What have you enjoyed the most in the (five) years you have worked here?”
Do what you can to find out the name of the person interviewing you so you can do some research on them. Assuming you get the name, check their professional pages such as LinkedIn, company profile, and any other web pages you can find that are connected to the individual. You may find that they give insightful tips that you can bring up or that you both went to the same college. Any little bit of personal connection can help.
Do you think it is important to know and research who your interviewer will be? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
To learn more about how to perfect the skill of small talk, read these articles:
- How to Get Good at Small Talk
- 15 Interview Tips for Serious Twentysomethings
- Networking for Success: The 3 Phases of Small Talk
Photo: pexels.com10 Conversation Starters You Should Use in Your Next Interview by Amanda Griffin