From brief coffee meetings to conference room panels, presenting yourself as an engaging, friendly, conversational person will serve you well in all facets of your professional life. It’s totally normal to feel nervous going into interviews. However, if you master the art of conversation, you’ll surely stand out from other applicants. Read on to discover five excellent job interview talking points to help you ace it.
Best Job Interview Talking Points To Break The Ice
Staying well-read and familiar with the news is a great way to set you apart from others, even in casual settings with peers. Take the time to educate yourself about common subject areas like sports and pop culture, and try to remember some interesting facts you can later repeat. Avoid discussing anything too controversial (especially politics — avoid bringing it up). Overall, the ability to intelligently speak about current events is a surefire way to avoid talking about the weather.
Family or Hobby-Related Activities
Does your interviewer have pictures of their family, inspirational quotes, or general memorabilia of something that looks like a hobby of theirs in the office? Strike up a conversation about one of these items. Just make sure you sound friendly and genuinely interested. If you get the interviewer chatting about a topic of importance, then they’ll get excited about talking to you. You don’t want to sound like a brown-noser, but they’ll most likely appreciate the fact that you come off as both cordial and inquisitive.
We’re not suggesting you blurt out cheesy jokes to kick off the interview — but it’s okay to casually, conversationally, and appropriately joke with your interviewer at times. Comedy can set a tone of positivity and ease for the entire conversation. You can toss out casual, funny questions and statements to keep the mood light. (But while using this as one of your job interview talking points, make sure it’s not so excessive it wastes the interviewer’s time.)
It’s always a wise idea to keep your conversation relevant to the matter at hand: the position and company for which you are interviewing. The interviewer may open the floor to questions you have prior to the interview. It’s a great way for you to jump in with creative versions of “What is your favorite part about working here?” — such as “What is the most pleasantly surprising thing about working here?” or “What brings you back to work every day?” or “Do you think your life would be different if you were working elsewhere?” Always come prepared with questions to ask an interviewer!
Go beyond the specific company and your interviewer’s personal experience. Chatting about the general industry in which you’re interviewing is also a good practice. If you want to keep it focused on the interviewer, you can ask questions like, “How long have you been working in X industry?” or “What inspired you to pursue a job in X field?” Remember, people love to talk about themselves. Your interviewer will likely light up and provide a few anecdotes in response to these questions.
With regard to general tips, remember not to overly dominate the conversation, and remember to read your interviewer’s body language, too. If they don’t seem interested in whatever topic you brought up, drop it and move on. The subject matter of the conversation isn’t the important part; rather, what’s vital is showing them you’re friendly, proactive, alert, hard-working and genuine.
Don’t stress too much about executing the perfect icebreaker — and keep these general ideas handy so you can ace the interview.