Chemistry is established from first impressions and from those idle moments during job interview chit-chat. Building rapport in ways other than the “right” answer to their interview questions is critical in getting the job. If you assume anyone a company interviews for a position has the right qualifications on paper, then the person who gets hired is the candidate they LIKED the best. Is chemistry something you can prepare for? Absolutely! There are physical things you can do, preparations you can make and conversational interactions you can design that all contribute to excellent job interview chit-chat.
Physical Job Interview Chit-Chat Tips
- Eye contact – Don’t be creepy, but be sincere in making a connection.
- Smile – Look happy to be on the interview.
- Firm Hand Shake – It isn’t a WWF competition, but you don’t want to be a wimp either.
- Open Body Language – Don’t cross your arms or hunch as you are standing or sitting.
- Use Their Name – Pronounce it correctly, too.
Preparation Tips for Job Interview Chit-Chat
This is preparation for the rapport building part of the interview. You will definitely do other preparation for the qualification portion although some of these recommendations will overlap and serve both goals.
- Current events. Black Lives Matter, Pride Month or anything to do with any political election anywhere are all hot discussion topics and may come up, inappropriately, in job interview chit-chat. If you can express your opinion without stridency or offense, do so but don’t be drawn into an extensive discussion of the pros or cons of any of these hot topics.
- issues of the company and the industry. If you are interviewing in the pharma industry, be able to converse about the pandemic and vaccinations without taking sides. Know what is going on with the company through the publications on their website and what is being highlighted on Google.
- Information about the interviewers. Research every person you will be meeting with for those things beyond their position and work expertise. Do their online photos show an interest in certain vacations or certain hobbies? Do you have something in common across those interests?
Conversational Gambits for Job Interview Chit-Chat
Rehearse answers to common topics of chit-chat. You want to find something interesting to say in one or two lines. To be taken as interesting, look interested. Here are some sample answers:
Interviewer: Did you have any trouble finding us?
Bad answer: No.
Bad answer: Yes, it was impossible to find this address. I had to ask three people.
Good answer: GPS is a wonderful thing and I love the size of the windows in this building. Great light!
Interviewer: Isn’t this weather something?
Bad answer: Sure is nice.
Bad answer: I can’t stand the cold.
Good answer: We had so much fun this weekend going sledding. I haven’t done that in years.
Interviewer: Aren’t those Yankees something?
Bad answer: I don’t follow baseball.
Bad answer: I can’t stand the Yankees. They get so much attention even when they are bad.
Good answer: What a great win that was, but, I have to admit, I’m a Red Sox fan.
Interviewer: I love your suit, or your shoes, or your tie, or your dress.
Bad answer: Did you notice the rip in the hem?
Good answer: Thank you!
Good answer: I was concerned about the right level of formality for the interview, but it sounds like this works. Thank you!
Remember to listen more than you talk but be prepared to take the initiative when there is too much silence on the way to the next interview or waiting for the elevator. Nothing is off the record, but people want to enjoy their associates and try to shine in those moments given to you.