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Stuck for words? Nine excellent icebreakers to ease job interview nerves

If the mere thought of a job interview leaves you feeling tongue-tied, you are not alone

Most people suffer from jitters on the day, but there are a few simple conversation starters to bear in mind to help easy your way in. Often the first 30 seconds of a job interview can be the toughest as you awkwardly try to feel out your interviewer to enable you to adjust your approach accordingly.

As conversation starts to flow, candidates often find their nerves fizzle out as they get into the swing of proceedings. If you find it hard to initiate conversations with a potential employee, here are nine handy icebreakers to bear in mind.

Not only will they help you to relax but also they will give you an opportunity to demonstrate your listening skills.

1. “I’ve just read the most fascinating thing on the way here…”

According to business author Vicky Oliver, an icebreaker such as this shows that you are composed ahead of the interview. If your interviewer responds with interest, pursue the conversation – but not for too long, as you don’t want to get too off-subject.

2. “What interesting artwork you have!”

While this may not be the most creative opening line, it instantly breaks the ice and may help to form a bond with your interviewer. It also takes the emphasis off you while you gather your thoughts.

3. “Did you have a nice weekend?”

Again, not the most original question but enquiring about your interviewer shows that you are confident, approachable and proactive.

4. “I loved your company’s most recent blog post!”

If you are going to use compliments, focus them on the business rather than the individual. In this way you can show that you have done your research and have a genuine interest in the company.

5. “What’s your favourite thing about working here?”

JT O’Donnell, founder of career advice site Careerealism, advises keeping conversation focused on your interviewer’s positive experiences of working for the company in question.

6. “Congratulations on your recent award. How did the team come up with the idea?”

Being sincere with your compliments and showing an interest in the company’s previous achievements is a great way to start your interview on the right foot.

7. “Can you tell me the most positive thing that has happened to the company since you’ve been here?”

A question such as this not only shows you have a positive outlook but also demonstrates emotional intelligence in your ability to enquire about other people’s experiences.

8. “The report you wrote on foreign markets was really interesting.”

Research your interviewer’s latest blog posts and webinars. These will make great conversation starters and give you an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge in the area while getting to know your potential future colleague.

9. “I believe you’ve worked here for ten years – what’s your favourite thing about working here?”

With the prominence of LinkedIn, it is simple to learn about someone’s experience; therefore, ask questions that give you an insight into everyday life at the company.

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