Is poor small talk costing you your dream job?

New research has found that the very first sentence you say during a job interview could make the difference between getting the job and receiving that crushing rejection phone call.

This startling fact, that the first 12 words you say during a job interview could spell success or failure for your chances of landing the job, comes from research by the Resurgo Trust. The Trust is a charity which aims to help disadvantaged young people to find employment, and has managed to get a highly impressive 75% of 16 to 24-year-olds into jobs or training.

According to press coverage, researchers for the Resurgo Trust found that small talk just before or at the start of a job interview can shape an employer’s opinion of a candidate more than previously thought. Prospective employees who are able to confidently and calmly answer everyday questions such as ‘How are you?’ are more likely to be viewed in a positive light. This can then shape the course of the interview and potentially influence its outcome.

Responding to suggestions made following the research that those from wealthy, privileged backgrounds find it easier to make effective small talk than those without, the charity’s Iona Ledwidge said:

“Unlocking the secret world of the workplace is not about being posh. It is asking simple questions such as “How are you?” or “How was your weekend?”

“It is things like how you greet the receptionist, what you say in the first few minutes or when walking down the corridor. It is smoothing over the gaps; a lot is social graces which (some) young people haven’t been exposed to.

“Small talk is part of building confidence and communication skills in the workplace.”

Lacking small talk skills? Don’t panic!

Of course, anything can happen during the course of an interview and there’s plenty of time to win an interviewer over. If your CV and skills are strong and you’re able to overcome your nerves to deliver a confident performance as the interview progresses, there’s every chance that you’ll come out with a job offer.

However, honing your small talk skills ahead of an interview can’t hurt. You can practice things like maintaining eye contact, stopping yourself from fidgeting and preparing a couple of natural-sounding small talk questions and answers. It may sound a cliché, but talking about the weather is always a safe bet, and it’s always polite to ask the interviewer how he or she is after they’ve asked you the same question. Don’t practice too much though, as you want to sound natural and not forced or over-rehearsed. A confident but not crushing handshake is another great sign of confidence, and don’t forget to smile.

Need help with your interview technique? SOLOS Recruitment Consultants can help, as we specialise in finding exactly the right person for the job. If you’ve got the skills and experience but your nerves tend to take over during that all-important interview, our friendly, expert team can help you to improve your skills and close the deal.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images


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