Being able to showcase your skills and qualifications in a job interview is key. It gets challenging, however, when you are up against an equally qualified candidate. In this situation you might ask yourself - how do I set myself apart?
Small talk plays a crucial role in this case as employers are likely to base their decision on additional factors on top of your professional qualifications.
Why Small Talk Matters
Small talk can reveal important traits about your personality that your future employer might find valuable. How you approach small talk shows your attitude, how you see life and treat other people. Most importantly, it shows how pleasant you are to be around.
Luckily, you don't have to be a social extrovert to excel in small talk. Even if you prefer to keep to yourself, there are ways you can improve your small talk that can help you greatly in the recruitment process.
How to Improve Your Small Talk Ability
1) Be aware of non-verbal cues
If you want to leave an instantly good impression on someone during the recruitment process, stay vigilant not only regarding what you say but also how you apply non-verbal cues. Eye contact is perhaps one of the most important aspects that can make a huge difference. Keep your body language open - don't cross your arms and lean back. Instead, try leaning slightly forward in a non-intrusive way, mimicking the impression of eager engagement.
2) Build rapport
It might be daunting trying to guess how to keep the conversation going with just small talk. Bouncing off of things a person has said is a great way to show eagerness to keep the conversation going. It can be as simple as repeating things back: “I cycle to work each day.” “Oh - you cycle? How long have you been doing that?”
3) Forget the weather
It doesn't always have to be about the weather. Instead of everyone's go-to dreaded topic of weather, try talking about favourite pastimes and hobbies or where someone's from.
4) Use before leaving
Small talk can be a convenient way to start a conversation. Equally well, it can be used to end one. It's inevitable that sometimes things can get a little awkward before leaving so introducing small talk elements to make an exit is an excellent way to end things on a more comfortable note.