people on a video call

Building rapport with small talk

Small talk is a great way to build rapport in an online interview. Building rapport helps with creating trust, and that’s just as important as competence.

Before the questions begin, most interviewers will start by asking ‘How are you?’, and simply answering ‘I’m fine thanks’ means you’re missing out on a great opportunity to engage in some small talk and begin building rapport right from the start.

Small talk doesn’t have to be wildly exciting and shouldn’t be confused with over sharing – choose a topic you feel comfortable talking about. It can be a good idea to have a think about what you might talk about, here are some ideas:

➡️ Lockdown – keep it upbeat and positive

➡️ Something you did yesterday / on the weekend / before the interview

➡️ Something you’re looking forward to

➡️ Something new you’ve tried

➡️ A goal you’ve set or achieved

➡️ And of course there’s always the weather

If you get nervous before interviews you may want to have prepared your small talk topic, not so that it sounds rehearsed but so you don’t end up talking for ages or over sharing.

Remember, the interview starts as soon as your camera is turned on.