Keep the Conversation Going During an Interview

Interviews aren’t simply a question-and-answer session. Hiring managers want to have a conversation. They want to have a real talk to get to know you. No one wants to hire a robot that can’t hold a conversation. But the question is, how do you keep a conversation going? Well, lucky for you, I’m a pro at talking. Not only have I studied communications for longer than I’d like to share, but it’s also what I do as a career. I talk. I talk to everyone, hiring managers included.

Before I get into a few quick questions or conversation-continuers to help you, I urge you to remember that hiring managers are people, too. Yes, they are the people who decide if you’re hired or not, but they’re also people with personalities and stories. Talk to them. Be interested in their lives and what they do. Rest your nerves, and just start talking. Here is some advice on how to keep a conversation going in an interview.

How Did You Get into Your Position?

People are selfish. We love talking about ourselves. Ask the person interviewing you how they started. Where did they go to college? How did they know they wanted to work for this company? Starting this conversation topic offers you a plethora of continuum options.

What’s a Typical Day in the Office Like?

With this question you can choose how rigid or how broad you’d like it. Are you simply curious about the position you’re applying for? Well, what’s life like for the CEO? Or the admin assistant? This simple question will not only offer a chance for extended (arguably never-ending) conversation, but it also shows the hiring manager that you’re interested in the office as a whole.

What’s Your Favorite Aspect of…

Of working at this company? Of your position? Of working at this location? Once again, the opportunities for conversation are endless with this simple phrase. Additionally, you are showing an interest in the hiring manager as a person.

How Do You Envision This Position?

Yes, ask the hiring manager about the position you’re applying for. Is there a specific project going on right now that the new hire will take over? Is this a brand new position? If so, why was it created? What need in the organization will it fill? How does the hiring manager see the new hire growing the company? So many follow-up question possibilities!

What Is Your Goal of This Company?

If there’s a big initiative going on in the company right now, name it here. Show the hiring manager that you know what’s going on, while asking her personal opinion about where she wants the company to go. Then you can follow-up her answer by explaining how you can help reach this goal.

Oh, I Love That!

If you’re meeting the hiring manager in the office rather than just a common room, you’re bound to see something that shows off the hiring manager’s personal life. Whether it be a photograph, an award, sports memorabilia, etc, comment on it. There’s bound to be a story behind it, or you may just find a shared similarity.

There are many different wants to keep a conversation going in an interview. These are simply some questions and statements just to give you ideas. Of course, the most important thing to remember is that every conversation needs to seem fluid. Do not force the conversation. Be genuine, truthful, and yourself. It’s okay to make a joke, and it’s okay to laugh. Let your personality shine through, and feel free to use any of my little tricks above to help you rock your interview.