Pre-Job Interview Small Talk Matters More Than You Think

Those awkward moments when you chat with interviewers about the weather or the news before they start asking questions are not just their attempts to be polite. It turns out that you can get a concert for talkativeness.

Researchers Brian Sweeder, Brad Harris, and Murray Barrick recorded 163 interviews with business school students to determine how pre-interview banter affected interviews overall. Their findings, summarized in the Harvard Business Review , show that good small talk skills are significant in the recruiting process. Small talk gives you the opportunity to form a good first impression, as well as demonstrate some of the qualities that are important to the job. For example, you have a chance to prove that you are a “person of people” if it is indicated on your resume. You may be able to demonstrate things like listening and communication skills that you might not be able to show by giving standard answers during the interview.

According to Swider, Harris, and Barrick, you should plan to be “included” in all interactions with your potential employer, including seemingly pointless small talk, before they start asking you questions. If you find it difficult to make small talk, remember that this is about networking with them , not content. To practice small talk, you can chat with strangers and work your way to be a small talk master. You can read more about their findings at the link below.

Should you chat informally before your interview? | Harvard Business Review

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