Stand out in an interview with these conversation starters
What is the best way to stand out in an interview?
Foster a connection with your interviewer.
According to Indeed.com, a strong relationship between you and the interviewer can help you stand out as the better candidate, even if your skills and experience are similar to other candidates. Connecting with your interviewer also helps them picture you in their work environment and culture.
A great way to create a connection is to utilize ice breakers and start a conversation with your interviewer to make the interview less one-sided.
The best interviews are those that feel like an effortless conversation. Show interest in the person instead of solely focusing on what they do in their role and how they can help you get hired.
How do you do this?
Here are a few ideas to break the ice and create a lasting impression on your interviewer.
- Ask about their weekend.
- This is a simple question that can go a long way. It allows you to start the interview off on the right foot and create a sense of comfort between you and your interviewer. Showing interest in them first shows you are friendly and thoughtful.
- According to Business Insider, it is a good way to segue into a conversation while still keeping it professional.
- Food—good food— is a connector. It brings people together. Unlike politics, religion, or even sports….it’s rarely polarizing. Which makes it a great ice breaker.
- Examples in action: (At an interview) Hiring manager: “Did you find our office OK?” You: “Yes, it was easy. I am pretty familiar with this area. My husband & I love the Pad Thai at X down the street. Do you guys ever go there for lunch?”
- The interviewer will not only remember you but will be thanking you later!
- Ask about their past.
- There is a good chance they may have worked in the position you are applying for before (or one like it).
- If you take the time to ask about their experiences, they will not only be able to speak to the position you are interested in but also get to speak about themselves which can create a sense of comfort and help leave a good impression.
- Also, ask about a skill they wish they had when they were in your position. This will create another opportunity for them to talk about themselves and may help you gain insight into the role.
- Tell a Story.
- Another great way to break the ice is to tell a story about yourself. This will make you more relatable to the interviewer and if utilized in the right way, it provides access to a memory – a place of authenticity that can be both powerful and compelling, according to Forbes.
- A good starting point is “I will never forget a time when..”. This prompt accesses a place of empathy especially if you’re describing an event that put you on the path that you are on today.
- To learn more about stories, read here.
Ice breakers do not need to be reserved for the beginning of an interview. After you have established a connection with the interviewer, you can use the last portion of the interview to ask thought-provoking questions and leave a lasting impression.
According to Indeed.com, asking one or more of these provides great opportunities to learn more about another person’s current professional lives, their talents, and even the challenges they’re experiencing.
- Is there a certain person that has inspired your work?
- What’s your proudest accomplishment?
- What’s the most valuable piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Making a connection with your interviewer will help you stand out and using an ice breaker is a great way to do so. If you have more questions about interviews, reach out to us!
I am one of the few job search coaches who has actually been a recruiter. I’ve interviewed hundreds of job seekers and know what companies are looking for in a candidate. I’ve also used applicant tracking systems (ATS) like Taleo and iCims and understand how recruiters scan resumes.