The 12 words to say in an interview that can land (or lose) you the job

New research has suggested that prospective candidates are judged on small talk leading up to the formal interview.

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The Independent Online

The most important part of a job interview might be before the questions start.

New research has suggested that prospective candidates are judged on small talk leading up to the formal interview.

The first 12 words the candidate says will determine the interviewer’s overall impression of them, according to the Resurgo Trust.

Resurgo gathered evidence from training thousands of 16 to 24-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds for work. It found that recruiters and employers often judge candidates by the quality of their small talk.

Tom Jackson, Resurgo Chief Executive, said during a live interview on LBC’s lunchtime radio show that feedback from employers and candidates showed there was often awkward moments in between meeting people and getting into the interview itself.

He said that small talk can be as important as formal skills for getting a job. 

“That might be waiting in the reception before the interview or walking down that long corridor into it, but it establishes a sense of likeability,” he added.

Research has found that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to find their dream job than their middle and upper class counterparts.

Scott Hutchinson from Interim Partners, a management and recruitment consultancy who works for Resurgo, said small talk not only matters because of the actual words, it also makes a person come across as likeable.

“Small talk is important as it sets a favourable scene at the start. The easiest way to drift into the interview is via a bit of small talk,” Hutchinson told the Independent. 

Hutchison said conversations about the weather are a good ice breaker, but a discussion about the company is even better.

“If they are in a lovely building which is well located you should say, ‘This is a lovely building, it is really well located.’ It is almost complimenting them.

“If it isn’t and it is quite an ugly building you can still turn that to your advantage by saying, ‘This is an interesting building, how long have you been here?’” Hutchinson advised.

Attention to detail and confidence are also important factors to get into the workplace.

“That is why middle and upper class kids get more work; because they are confident. That confidence is bred into them from an early age so they can converse with people, they are almost taught it,” Hutchinson said.