The Dos and Don’ts of Interview Small Talk

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Small talk is a form of conversation that helps people establish rapport, build relationships, and create a comfortable atmosphere in various social or professional settings. Utilizing small talk in a job interview is a way to establish rapport before diving into the more formal aspects of the interview such as your interest, qualifications, and fit for a position, and allows an employer to see your personality and communication skills.

It’s a skill that can be developed with practice, and the more you engage in it, the more natural it will become. Here are some dos and don’ts for incorporating small talk into a job interview:


1. Do Be Friendly and Approachable: Start with a warm and friendly demeanor to create a positive atmosphere.

2. Do Research: Before the interview, research the company and the interviewer, if possible, to find common ground for small talk.

3. Do Show Genuine Interest: Actively listen to the interviewer and respond with genuine interest in their comments.

4. Do Use Good Body Language: Maintain good eye contact, smile, and use open and relaxed body language to convey attentiveness.

5. Do Keep It Professional: While being friendly, remember you’re in a professional setting. Keep the conversation appropriate and respectful.

6. Do Stay Positive: Keep the conversation upbeat. Avoid complaining or bringing up negative topics.


1. Don’t Overshare: Avoid sharing overly personal information. Keep the conversation focused on professional and neutral topics.

2. Don’t Interrupt: Let the interviewer finish their thoughts before responding. Interrupting can be seen as rude.

3. Don’t Get Off Track: While small talk is a way to build rapport, don’t let it derail the interview schedule or focus.

4. Don’t Bring Up Controversial Topics: Avoid discussing sensitive or controversial topics such as politics, religion, or personal problems.

5. Don’t Dominate the Conversation: Remember that small talk should be balanced. Avoid  dominating the conversation or monopolizing the interviewer’s time.

6. Don’t Be Negative: Avoid negative comments about previous employers or colleagues, as this can reflect poorly on you.

In essence, small talk during an interview should be a tool to establish rapport and make a positive impression. It’s an opportunity to showcase your social skills and professionalism, so keep it light, positive, and relevant to the professional context.

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