Instead of sitting quietly, building a rapport with your interviewers before getting into the nitty-gritty details of the job can give you a major competitive edge over other candidates. Plus the interview will feel more like a friendly conversation which can certainly help calm those nerves (bonus)!
The key is to find something in common, and when in doubt always bring it back to the interviewer and the company. Remember, it's less about you, more about them. Try these out during your next interview or even at a networking event!
1. It's a pleasure to meet you. How was your weekend (or how has your week been)? This demonstrates to the interviewer that you're confident, proactive, and friendly.
2. What was the most pleasantly surprising thing about working here you learned once you were on the job? It a good idea to keep the conversation focused on the interviewee and their positive experiences with working at the company.
3. What's the most memorable thing that has happened to you since joining the company? This will show you are a positive person and care about others.
4. I read a really compelling article this morning on the way to the interview. Discuss it a little and if the interviewer seems interested continue, if not gracefully move on. Again, don’t monopolize the conversation! Although it is technically YOUR job interview, this is more about them than you.
5. What's one of the most interesting projects or opportunities that you've worked on? Interviewers will love the chance to reflect and respond on what it is they’ve worked on or are currently working on. This will also provide further insight into what they are doing now in the company, as well give the interviewer a chance to talk about their own accomplishments.
Remember to keep bringing it back to the interviewer/company and your interest in it!
Good luck : )