Believe it or not, small talk during a networking event or before a job interview officially begins can mean the difference between success and failure in your career. Conversation starters that lead to pleasant small talk and exciting conversations are an excellent tool for candidates to build meaningful rapport with interviewers. Building rapport is crucial as it paves the way for a great interview and significantly increases your chances of getting hired.
Many job seekers miss this opportunity to build rapport and bypass it all together when interviewing for a job position. You can become instantly appealing to hiring managers and recruiters by using good conversation starters before an interview, but great conversation starters aren’t as simple as picking from any list of conversation topics and running with it.
Conversation starters can vary greatly depending on the situation, but they all serve as ice-breakers that can lead you to meaningful and deep conversations. Some conversation starters are suitable for a specific situation but entirely unsuitable for others.
For example, you may find yourself on a first date on Valentine’s Day, struggling to make some good vibes by engaging in some small talk. In this case, casual or funny conversation starters like talking about your favorite restaurant, favorite food or even sharing your worst pick-up line would all be very suitable. Even asking your date silly “would-you-rather” questions or about their biggest regrets while in high school would all be suitable conversation starters for your first time on a date. But using these types of personal questions during a job interview is the worst thing you can do and can probably guarantee that you will see that hiring manager for the last time.
This article will cover the best conversation starter topics and questions to use in any professional situation that will instantly lead to a deeper and more genuine conversation. Using these topics and questions will pave the way for developing more meaningful relationships.
We’ll go over the top five conversation starters to use with a job interviewer and the top five conversation starters for job networking. Finally, we’ll provide a practical guideline for how to keep the conversation going once you’ve asked the specific questions and started the small talk.
Having the skills to start and maintain an interesting conversation is an excellent communication skill for job networking events. Choosing the proper conversation starters for networking events can help you develop meaningful rapport with other professionals in your industry, make new connections and build long-lasting relationships.
Networking events provide an excellent opportunity to build potential partnerships with professionals in your industry. But you can’t make these potential partnerships if you don’t leave a great first impression, and for that, you must know how to start and maintain conversations. Therefore, to fully take advantage of networking events, use these five great conversation starters to mingle with like-minded professionals and develop meaningful relationships and potential partnerships:
Once you’ve successfully used these conversation starters to engage in small talk at networking events, you can then maintain the conversation by asking more casual questions to build further rapport, such as:
Good conversation starters are crucial for ensuring a smooth and successful conversation during an interview. Preparing some good conversation starters can help avoid awkward silences and uncomfortable beginnings in an interview. In addition, they allow you to start interviews off with a bang to make you instantly likable and provide perfect opportunities for follow-up questions regarding the job.
Here are some perfect conversation starters to use with an interviewer:
Once you’ve successfully gotten the conversation started, it’s equally important to keep the conversation going in the right direction. You can do this by being an active listener. To be an effective active listener, show the interviewer that you’re listening with your body language and by making and maintaining eye contact. Summarize what the interviewer has said when you ask follow-up questions to show them that you actively listened, which helps continue the conversation.
Small talk is important because it helps pave the way for authentic and deeper conversations down the line.
Regardless of the situation, any topics relating to politics, money, religion, sex or gossip tend to be awkward conversation starters.
Even though some of these may not be best suited for a job interview, some great conversation starter topics you can use in nearly all situations are: