Everyone knows a person who can talk to anyone. This person has interesting information to share, interesting experiences to discuss and a general knowledge of local current events. In the realm of job seeking, does small talk help? Yes.
For a person who can strategically create small talk the Kellogg Business school study of 120 hiring managers in the professional services sector showed that modern hiring decisions were not just being based on capabilities. It seems that hiring decisions are being based on a person’s culture fit, (determined by their interests and hobbies) and may be becoming more important than experience and qualifications in the assessment decision.
Well placed small talk at the beginning and end of the interview allows hiring managers to understand your hobbies and interests and determine if you would be a good cultural fit for the company.
Another area where some strategic small talk will help you to get the job is via word-of-mouth hiring, naturally, which is dependent on small talk to help you make contact with potential referrers. It also helps you to build trust, increasing the chance of them referring you for a job.
Whether you like it or hate it, there is power in small talk. Of course, small talk alone won’t get you the job, it needs to be combined with appropriate displays of competency, enthusiasm and energy, but relationship building via small talk is clearly advantageous when you are job hunting.