If you have a very important job interview coming up, you have probably been trying to prepare for it. Still, things don’t always go exactly as planned. What if the interviewer is too strict? Or there’s an awkward silence during the interview?
To solve these problems, you’ll need some interview conversation starters.
Thankfully, you won’t have to waste time searching for them on your own! We provide you with 47 interview conversation starter examples and tell you how to use them.
We also advise choosing at least ten from our list and asking the interviewer a few of them when appropriate. With that in mind, let’s begin!
- Interview conversation starters serve as icebreakers. They help you learn about the interviewer, and the interviewer learns about you.
- There are nine most common conversation starters provided in this article.
- We also sorted 38 additional interview conversation starters into five categories. These are job-related starters, the light ones, the funny ones, and those for the wrap-up.
- We advise you to always read the room and see if it’s appropriate to ask specific interview questions at a particular moment.
What Are Interview Conversation Starters & Should You Use Them?
Interview conversation starters are questions and statements that usually act as a warm-up for your interview with the hiring manager. However, you can use them whenever appropriate. Although these starters may seem simple, many struggle to come up with proper ones. Still, once you master them, they can boost your networking skills, too.
If you’re wondering whether or not you should use them at your interview, the answer is yes, if the moment is right. A good conversation starter will help you relax. That’s a key benefit because HR managers are not so fond of nervous candidates.
Moreover, by using these starters, you let the interviewer peek into your personality and give them a broad idea of your values and career goals.
If you say the company’s growth is impressive, the interviewer will likely think you’ve done your research and are not just looking for any job. It gives the impression of someone serious and passionate about that specific role.
Additionally, a conversation starter could be an excellent solution for the awkward silence during the interviews.
9 Most Common Interview Conversation Starters [Full Examples]
Now that you know what interview conversation starters are, the next step is to back it up with specific examples. You’ll see why we chose these exact ones and how they portray you in the best light to the prospective employer. These starters can also help you avoid basic interview mistakes.
#1. How long have you been with the company?
You’ll often hear this at a networking event. The question is good because the manager may assume you want to know how appreciated the employees are and how stable the company is.
If the HR representative answers that they’ve been with the company for nine years, then it’s safe to assume that many others have also been there for an extended period.
Consequently, the person across the table may conclude you’re looking for a long-term commitment, and that’s almost always a good thing.
#2. What do you like the most about working here?
This question is the right one because the interviewer may perceive you as an assertive professional who is unafraid to check if the interviewer’s top perk matches your expectations.
This is essential as it saves plenty of time. There’s no point in going for the second interview round if the applicant doesn’t think the company can meet their needs.
Conversely, if you respond with “That’s great!” to what they’ve answered, they may see that this is a good fit so far.
#3. I really enjoyed your company’s latest blog post.
There’s no need to be shy here. Complimenting the company’s content introduces you as someone who’s well-versed in industry-related topics and already interested in the organization’s work. They may even be impressed if you also reveal that you regularly check their blog and provide specific examples.
Employers are far more likely to choose candidates who have already grasped the basic concept of their business-making. What’s more, the potential employer could see you as a good fit because it might seem obvious that your values and ambitions align with their own.
#4. I really like that piece of art.
You’re going the extra mile with this one. The statement is great because you declare that you have other aspirations besides your professional goals and pursuits.
A knowledgeable newcomer with broad interests is a great asset to the company’s image. You’ll get bonus points if the interviewer is also interested in art. By this, you’re building rapport. From this point on, the conversation is likely to flow more smoothly.
However, if you get a short reply like “Oh, thanks,” there’s no need to go into more details.
#5. How did you start this business?
The question is a plus because it tells them you’re a curious professional keen on learning. All newcomers must possess this trait as the onboarding process may be demanding.
When you ask this question, the interviewer might realize that you want to know more about the company’s history, processes, and how it analyzes the market so you can better understand their current position. In addition to that, it will signal more admiration from your side.
#6. I’ve heard recently of your latest business award.
You’ll go with this one because it’s a proper compliment. Also, like the blog post example you’ve read, you’re showing them you’re good at researching. Still, it’s not just a compliment for the sake of it, but an example of being actively involved in the branch and their company.
At the end of the day, everyone likes to be appreciated. The interviewer may find this to be a recognition of their efforts and could be impressed that you noticed it.
#7. Can you tell me more about the company’s culture?
Companies invest lots of time and resources into developing a better, more inclusive company culture. The competitors are fierce, so the better the culture and work environment, the more top-notch candidates the business attracts.
You asking this question can show an interest that extends beyond the technicalities of the job. It gives off an impression that values they find meaningful are important to you, too.
#8. Do you plan to expand your business?
You’re asking about the company’s future, which means you’re giving them a chance to elaborate more about what’s to come.
The clever part is that they’re most likely to give a complete answer, and you could even ask follow-up questions. Rarely does a company say they plan to stay the same way, as it shows a lack of ambition.
If you go with this one, it may tell them you have some ideas for participating in this expansion. Of course, that’s if they hire you.
#9. Do you plan on moving to a more senior position?
You should ask this one only if they go into further detail while answering question #1. Bear in mind that this is one of the tricky interview questions—it could be too personal.
If you assess it’s safe, do ask. They may share their goals and find the atmosphere friendly. Most people like talking about themselves, and that’s the beauty of this inquiry.
All in all, this question radiates ambition. If you ask about the hiring manager’s plans to climb the ladder, you probably have the same aspirations.
38 More Interview Conversation Starters
In what follows, you’ll have a chance to see additional conversation starters, which we sorted into five different categories.
Interview conversation starters for when you’re introducing yourself
As you may have guessed, these come when you’re starting an interview conversation.
- It’s lovely to meet you. Did you have a nice day?
- I read a really fascinating piece about management tools on my way here. Which ones are you using?
- Your website is excellent. Who designed it?
- Is there anything about the role that’s not in the job post’s description?
- Have you enjoyed the hiring process so far?
Job-related interview conversation starters
These interview small talk starters are directly related to the job and the work at the company.
- How big is your team?
- What is the most satisfying part of the job?
- What is the most essential skill for your job?
- Is your role demanding?
- What’s the least favorite thing about the job?
- What’s it like working with your team?
- Do you have a favorite daily task?
- What motivates you at work?
- How often do people get promoted?
- What does a typical first day look like?
- What’s the best way to manage work-life balance?
Funny interview conversation starters
To show your humorous side, you can ask these ones.
- Do you have more night owls or early birds on the team?
- What are some of the unwritten rules of where you work?
- What was the funniest event in the organization?
- Do you play Secret Santa for Christmas?
- What’s the one thing I should know about your teammates?
- Who’s the funniest person on the team?
- Do you have a work best friend?
Light interview conversation starters
To lighten up the atmosphere, you can go with one of these questions. Make sure to do just what is necessary. That largely depends on how the conversation flows and how informal the conversation is.
- Do you cover gym expenses? Are there any good ones around the office?
- How would you describe your work demeanor?
- How hard is the commute in this area during rush hour?
- What’s the rule on cell phones while at the office?
- Who’s the business figure you look up the most?
- Does the management encourage fully remote work or not?
- Any great restaurants around the company?
- Do you have a podcast related to this line of business to recommend?
- Is there a book you would recommend to help me understand the company more?
- What’s your favorite work-related memory?
Wrap-up interview conversation questions
Once you cover all interview conversation topics, it’s time to bring it to a close slowly. You can ask some questions at the end of the interview after they ask, “Do you have any questions for us?”
- Could you tell me more about writing reports?
- Is it hard to give negative feedback?
- What’s the most important about giving feedback to candidates?
- What more would you like to know about me?
- What should I prepare for the next round if I pass this round?
How Do You Know Whether to Use a Conversation Starter?
Conversation starters are great, but you shouldn’t resort to them at all costs. According to how the conversation flows, you’ll determine whether or not to go with it. Here’s what you should do to determine whether using a conversation starter during an interview is a good idea.
- Read the room. Like any other question or observation, assessing whether it’s appropriate is necessary. If your interviewers seem laid-back, you can go ahead and use a starter that’s a bit personal. Still, don’t overdo it. Your observation should include everyone’s attitude in the room.
- Assess the environment. If the interview is highly formal or tense, opt out of using a conversation starter.
- Wait for the right time. Don’t use a conversation starter when discussing important topics, and never interrupt the interviewer.
- Be engaging. Smile, keep a proper posture, and make sure to interact in a business manner. That includes being friendly but not too friendly. If you see that the interviewer behaves the same, ask away.
Interviews can be overwhelming, but if you prepare well, your confidence will rise, and you’ll cover most of what’s needed. The first thing you should look at is conversation starters. From a wide variety of examples above, arm yourself with the best ones, and you should be good to go.
We explained why they’re perfect and what they typically show to the interviewer, so choose wisely. Now that you know how to start chatting, flow through the conversation, and end a job interview, we wish you the best of luck and not a second of awkward silence!