Seven Ways On How to Start a Conversation in an Interview

If you’re determined to find the right fit at your next job, you must do more than simply answer interview questions in a perfunctory manner. Take a proactive approach by asking your own questions during the job interview. Approach the interview as a two-way conversation to get a good sense of your prospective new employer and the challenges that may await you.

1. Research the company and prepare a list of questions or topics that you would like to raise during the interview. Keep this list in mind during the interview.

2. Listen carefully and respond to verbal cues that might segue into a conversation. For example, the interviewer may comment about workplace technology issues – a perfect time for you to start a conversation about the company’s computer, laptop and smart phone preferences.

3. Wait for a positive transition rather than seizing upon a negative one, especially if the topic relates to past employers. Depict yourself as a positive, upbeat person so that the interviewer can imagine you as an asset to her team.

4. Ask the interviewer’s opinion on a topic. For example, if the interviewer comments about her staff’s tendency to come to the office even on Saturdays, ask for her views on flex-time or employees who occasionally work from home.

5. Act like a journalist and ask the who, what, where, when, why and how questions. These questions help clarify and amplify points that arise during an interview.

6. Frame an observation or ask a question related to a news story or a timely industry event. This will demonstrate that you are attentive and informed. Even a simple observation such as, “I was surprised to hear that TUV Company closed after 22 years in business” may spark an interesting exchange.

7. Share anecdotes from your work history and use them as a springboard for conversation. Wrap up your short story with an “invitation” to jump in and agree or disagree, perhaps by saying, “They say that happens to everybody at some point. Has that ever happened to you or someone on your staff?

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