You may think small talk prior to starting and immediately following a job interview is meaningless chitchat, and you may even find it hard to develop a great conversation with certain employers.
However, recent research suggests that those few minutes of small talk can actually give you a big edge in getting a job offer.
The key is to try to ask one or two open-ended questions that require employers to open up with you more. This does two things, it creates an opportunity for you build on common ground, but it also proves to them that you are good listener.
So this week I wanted to share seven good ice-breakers to help you get into the flow of a great conversation.
‘Good to meet you. Did you do anything fun over the weekend?’
It’s not the most creative opener, and you obviously can’t ask it on a Tuesday or Wednesday, but it demonstrates high levels of friendliness and gives them a chance to talk about themselves – something most people enjoy. If they hit on something you are familiar with (location, activity, or similar interest) seize on it and keep the conversation going, but let them dominate what is shared. You may have the tendency to take over and share something really lengthy on not give them the chance.
‘I like your office – what’s been some of the advantages of being here?’
Compliments are always met with appreciation. But don’t end with that, ask a question that is fairly easy to answer but shows your interested in the office immediately. If they reply with something you agree with or can relate to, share your thoughts and ideally this will make them feel as though you are, to some extent, perceptive and aware of their current situation.
‘I saw an advertisement for your office the other day – do you do much advertising?’
Again, showing you are perceptive and interested in the office and business. This is chance for to talk about the efforts the office is making toward marketing itself to new patients and maybe what experience you have had with that at previous offices.
It could even be you noticed they won an award in the community, or that they participated a local health fair, or anything like that where you were able to observe their office out in the “wild” – away from their physical practice. Call attention to that and ask them about it.
‘I noticed you have a Cerec – when did you starting milling your own crowns?’
This could be any piece of equipment in the office you may happen to notice. Or it could be something they talk about on their website. Bring it up and use it as a tool for getting them to talk about something they might be particularly proud of. Their objective is to sell YOU on the office and if you make it extra-easy for them by bringing it up, not only does it show you’ve done your homework about them but that you were impressed enough to ask about it.
‘On your website, I see you write blog posts about various topics – how long have you done that?’
Again, professionals like it when their work is noticed. If you spot something like this or even if they have written something or delivered a presentation on a different platform – maybe through ADA or some other organization – give them kudos for going that extra mile and see if you can get them to talk about that or their next big topic they want to write or present on.
‘Tell me about your patients – do they tend to stay for a long time or turn over frequently?’
Most offices are going to tell you they stay, because it reflects poorly on them if they are turning over. But what this does is it gives them the ability to talk about something every office is focused on and concerned about. They will likely end by telling you about some of the great patients they have, which is a warm fuzzy for them and helps them associate you with pleasant thoughts.
‘I read an interesting article in the… what are your thoughts on that?’
This can be tricky but can work really well if you can hit on something you think they might be interested in. Step one would be to learn as much as you can about this person interviewing you. See if you can find a subject area within dentistry that interests them BEFORE your interview. Then, do a little reading on that subject yourself – best place is to type in the subject in Google News and see what timely articles pull up. Choose one and then introduce it at the interview and ask them for their thoughts.