I was attending a telephonic interview for the post of software developer for a reputed product MNC, and my interviewer asked me:

How are you? To which I answered, - "Thanks I am fine" then I asked "how about you?"

When the interview ended, he told me - "It was a pleasure talking to you" to which I answered - "it was nice talking to you too as well"

Do you think it's okay in both the cases? Or should we not, since it's an interview or did I act over-smart?

  • Welcome to The Workplace! The best questions on this site explain the issue a bit more specifically. Is there a reason you think your responses weren't okay? As it is now, this question is really difficult to answer since we weren't actually there to hear what was said, what the tone of voice was, and what the reaction was.
    – jmac
    Jun 28, 2013 at 5:17
  • @jmac: It was just the starting of the interview and were the first conversations to take place.
    – RajSanpui
    Jun 28, 2013 at 5:32
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    I understand when it took place, I just don't understand why you think this was a problem. There seems to be nothing wrong with what you said, so it doesn't seem like a problem we can answer. The best questions look for more than a "yes-no" answer. See Good Subjective, Bad Subjective
    – jmac
    Jun 28, 2013 at 6:33
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    I see nothing wrong. I did it as well Jun 28, 2013 at 6:33
  • Can you update a question with information what made you feel uncomfortable with those phrases. As it is in question its perfectly fine to have this kind of social interaction during interview. I'd say it's even necessary to reduce stress.
    – Leri
    Jun 28, 2013 at 7:19

2 Answers 2


An interview is more about finding out whether you and the employer will be a good match for each other, than outlining technical facts. Yes, qualifications is one big part, but it most certainly is not the only part. Interviewers will generally want to find out what you are like as an individual and some amount of small talk is a good way to do that.

From what you have described, what was said basically amounts to some courtesy phrases at the beginning and the end of the conversation.

Consider this: if the interviewer considers something like that to be a negative, is the company likely to attract people that you would want to work with?

I think it's a fairly safe bet to say that if the employer will pass on you because you responded politely to their courtesy at the beginning and the end of the interview, the company is likely to attract mostly the kind of people who at least I would not want to work with. Hence, if they do look negatively on it, probably not a great loss.

Based on that line of reasoning, being reasonably polite during an interview can really only ever work in your favor, except possibly if you are truly desperate for a job, the interviewer is a jerk and you don't care about the work environment (and I'm not even sure about then).

  • 1
    I think you are absolutely correct. I especially liked your comment - if the interviewer considers something like that to be a negative, is the company likely to attract people that you would want to work with?
    – RajSanpui
    Jun 28, 2013 at 17:00

You do realize that the interview started the moment both parties were in the room or on the phone? If you had not acknowledged his question with a response that would have cost you. The questions and comments at the start and end of the interview may seem unrelated to the technical part, but they are part of the process.

You may have found these little small talk interactions sprinkled throughout the interview process. They could have happened while waiting for everybody to join the conversation, or while switching from one group to another.

You are expected to be able to talk to your coworkers in a polite friendly manner. So these little social conversations mirror what you may have to do dozens of times a day. One word answers would have been bad, and a 10 minute rant would have also been bad.

Responding to their initial comment with an appropriate answer and a followup statement or question is just what most interviewers are expecting. They are not judging your exact words against another candidates exact words. Some member of the interview team is likely to be working with you everyday, and are interested in how you fit into their work culture.

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