Small talk

What exactly is small talk?

Small talk (also know as chitchat) is small friendly pieces of conversation. Small talk is usually used as an opening when meeting new people but also used to build upon existing social and professional relationships. Small talk is a powerful rapport building tool.

Why is small talk so important?

As you may have heard 'Small talk and lead to big things'. Using small talk in not only at your job interview but in every part of you life can really build great relationships with people. The more relationships you have in your network the more things will come your way. For example just by making small talk with someone in your network you might hear some inside information that a particular job opening might be coming up and that perhaps you should apply. Small talk is a real skill which may take some time to develop. Its also a real confidence builder over time.

When to use small talk

In the case of a job interview you may be needing to fill any awkward silences with small talk. For example you may have just met your interviewer and they have asked to to come and follow them to the interview room. It may be a few short minutes before you arrive at the interview room. You might find yourself waiting for a lift or walking down a hall way. This is when small talk can really help you by building rapport with your interviewer. If you don't initiate small talk there is a good chance that your interviewer will.

Small talk examples

  • So have you had a busy day?
  • So how long have you worked for <company> anyway?
  • Talk about your surrounding

Other small talk topics:

  • Do you have any plans for the weekend?
  • How was your week / weekend anyway?
  • The latest films
  • The local football team
  • A popular news topic

If your really stuck for small talk just mention the weather to get the conversation going.

Small talk do's and don'ts



  • Do listen genuinely
  • Do listen more that you talk
  • Do show that you are interested with positive body language
  • Do prepare a few topics or lines of small talk
  • Do find common ground - Eg. a topic which you can both relate to
  • Do stick to small talk and not idle gossip
  • Don't ask questions which may be consider trivial or too personal
  • Don't ask many 'closed' questions
  • Don't look around the room when you are in a conversation with someone