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Instead of ‘What Do You Do?’ and ‘Where do you work?’ try an alternate approach the next time you speak with someone new.

Your first impression is vital, and everyone wants to make a great one.

But if you’re an introvert, initiating small talk with people you barely know can be nerve-wracking. Most of the people typically begin with, “Um… what do you do?” This can be turned into a far more in-depth conversation with the right questions, which may include “why” or “how” than “what.”

With most people, post exchanging job descriptions the conversation pretty much hits a dead end very soon. A theory well proven by several researchers shows that people prefer “multiplex ties”: Relationships with multiple contexts for connection.

If there are a couple of people who like watching the same shows or indulging in the same outdoor activities are more likely to see each other as more than just an acquaintance.

If the ties are closer to heart – family illnesses, financial hardships, professional success, the connection developed is more profound and long-lasting.

How do you Find the Multiplex Ties

When you encounter someone, you have to think beyond general stuff like occupation, schooling, where do they live, weather. Go beyond “What do you do?” without overdoing it and getting into someone’s personal space.

The idea is to support a good question with a lead-in question. For example, say I find out you work in Marketing – “I am just not creative with my ideas, especially when the spotlight is on me. How do you manage coming up with new ideas every other day without being repetitive?

Here, I achieved two things simultaneously; I implicitly expressed respect by acknowledging that you do something I cannot. Second, I have opened the door to have a more extended conversation where you can talk about your journey, thoughts, success stories, etc.

Next time you are connecting with a candidate as a recruiter or if you meet someone at a conference, try these questions once you’ve done beyond greetings.

  • “What do you hope to accomplish?” And, more importantly, how you plan to do it.
  • “What are you looking forward to?” And, more importantly, why you look forward to it.
  • “What is the hardest thing about (that)?” Don’t worry: Everyone thinks certain aspects of their job are hard. (And they’re right.)
  • “Are you driven more by wanting to win, or not wanting to lose?” You’d be surprised by how many incredibly successful people hate losing a lot more than they love winning.
  • “What you’ve learned (from what you do professionally) translated into your personal life?” Because it always does.

This would let you add a personal touch to your conversation and have a more in-depth, more meaningful conversation with your candidates and colleagues.

At Incept, these are the small things we follow in order to have meaningful conversations with prospective hires. We hope you benefit from it.

Pooja Maniar |  Sr. Technical Recruiter | Incept Data Solutions, Inc.  |  LinkedIn

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