Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Jennifer Miller. You can check out her past posts here.
I’ve interviewed over 500 people in the past 25 years. Many of those interviews yielded great stories. Some were a total bust. There’s a definite art to interviewing.
Researchers say there’s also a science.
Harvard researchers just published an article in the Harvard Business Review with the results of a study that dug into the rapport building that happens before job interviews. They found that small talk between candidates and interviewers — before structured questions begin — is really important in scoring how well job candidates were perceived. That’s because first impressions matter, and that small talk is part of what informs first impressions.
My take? This finding applies to any interview. I’ve found that making small talk before I interview someone for a story helps put them at ease. I simply start a conversation. When I get to the interview itself, I make sure it continues to feel like a conversation. I almost always get better, more detailed answers — and more raw emotion — this way. And that material makes for a much more powerful story.
The next time you’re interviewing someone, make sure it includes small talk. It’s the one step you can’t afford to skip.
Study cited: https://hbr.org/2016/09/should-you-chat-informally-before-an-interview
Want to know more? Contact me at: Jennifer.Miller@truesense.com