Don't Forget Small Talk During Your Next Job Interview

Mar 21, 2017

Want to stand apart from your competition during your next job interview? Employ your small talk skills, or develop some. New research suggests that building rapport quickly with your interviewer is a sure way to ace your job interview.

According to a recent study by Atlanta’s Georgia Institute of Technology, a first impression is often one of the most crucial factors in turning heads during a job interview.

The study consisted of 163 mock interviews, after which interviewers were asked to rate applicant competence. All interviews comprised of a segment for small talk followed by 12 job-related questions.

A general ability to converse with a stranger worked favorably for the applicants who excelled at the small talk portion of each interview. Even though many applicants scored similarly on the technical job-related questions, interviewers were much more likely to favor applicants who did well in both areas.

According to the study lead, Dr Brian Swider, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “An applicant’s ability to spark rapport seems to have a unique influence on whether he or she gets the job.”

Good people skills are becoming increasingly important in almost every job role. Applicants who excel at small talk indicate an overall penchant for relating well with others and carrying on conversations through the course of their work.

Finding common ground is an added benefit of small talk, as it opens the opportunity for applicants and interviewers to make a personal connection. This connection may place one applicant in a more favorable position if, say, he and his interviewer share an interest in the same sports team or collecting rare coins.

Humor, too, can set the interview off on the right foot. So before you head to your next interview, brush up those small talking skills with your partner, favorite barista or even your cat to make your first impression really stand out from other candidates.

  About The Author  

Varuna is an ACTA certified trainer, who has facilitated a wide range of workshops covering job search strategies, public speaking and social etiquette, for graduate and younger students in Singapore. She has an MBA and has worked in several functions in the corporate banking industry in Singapore.

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