Ice Breaker Questions for an Interview

Ice breaker questions offer an excellent way to get an interview off to a great start. Just think of it. You’ve entered the interview meeting room, and there’s a panel of maybe two or three interviewers waiting for you. There’s tension in the air, and you can feel it.

There’s a lot at stake in this interview since you really want the job. You came prepared, but suddenly, you’re blank, your mouth is dry, and you feel sweaty. But then, one interviewer asks, “What’s your favorite song?”. You smile, and without thinking, say, “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

Interviewers understand that building a relationship before jumping into serious interview questions sets the pace for a more meaningful and honest dialog. That’s where ice breakers come in. In this post, we share ice breaker questions you can expect in a job interview, as well as tips on how to answer them.

Ice Breaker Questions for an Interview

What Are Ice Breaker Questions?

Ice breaker questions for an interview, as the name suggests, are prompts used by interviewers at the beginning of the interview to loosen up the candidate. Considering that a job interview can be quite stressful for both the interviewer and candidate, you need a way to break that tension.

Research shows that almost all employment interviews start with structured conversations to try to build rapport with the interviewee. Ice breaker questions are used to stir up these conversations and help the candidate feel at ease.

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Why Are Ice Breaker Questions Important?

While they may seem like idle small talk, ice breakers have a huge impact on how the entire interview will proceed. The new hire probably feels nervous and scared about what to expect.

Asking them a few ice breakers eases up the tension and gets them to open up. Other reasons interviewers use ice breaker questions during job interviews include:

  • They eliminate awkwardness between the interviewer and the candidate.
  • Opener questions create a relaxed atmosphere that makes the candidate comfortable talking about themselves and their experiences.
  • Ice breakers help establish the tone and tenor of the interview meeting.
  • Ice breakers set the mood, making the transition into the first formal interview questions smooth.
  • They can be used to assess how well you communicate with others.
  • Using ice breakers makes it easier to get into richer discussions. Some questions help create a spirit of transparency and trust between the hiring manager and the candidate.

But that’s not all. Ice breakers allow the interviewer to get to know you better, based on how you answer them. That is, they are an informal way of gathering insightful information about a candidate.
However, not all questions are aimed at obtaining information about you. Some are just for fun and to get you to relax and feel at ease. That said, although these may not be super important questions that will determine your fate, it’s advisable to answer them carefully.

Ice Breaker Questions Examples

ice breaker questions

Here’s the thing. Ice breakers come in several variants, depending on the industry, the work culture, and the type of work. Therefore, this article is simply a guide to some of the possible questions that might crop up during the interview.

Of course, you’ll need to have done thorough research about the company beforehand to predict the type of questions they might ask. This may include learning about:

  • The hiring process
  • What they do
  • Their work culture
  • The type of characteristics they expect from candidates

Basically, anything that can help you prepare fully for the interview, especially when it comes to answering the most common job interview questions.

We’ve broken down the ice breaker questions for work into six topics that usually come up in interviews.

These are:

  • “Getting to know you” ice breakers
  • “What if” ice breakers
  • “Favorite thing” ice breaker questions
  • “Would you rather” ice breakers
  • Fun icebreaker questions
  • Random and unique ice breaker questions

Getting to Know You Ice Breaker Questions

Interviewers want to know the type of person they are about to hire. These questions might be about your childhood or your formative years, or they could be work-related. You need to be a good listener to understand what the interviewer expects for an answer.

Most importantly, you need to know the right words to describe yourself in an interview. Some require serious answers, others don’t.

  • What’s the last TV show you binge-watched?
  • If you could visit anywhere on the planet, where would you go?
  • What were your aspirations when you were younger?
  • How do you spend your free time?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What’s the most thrilling experience in your entire life?
  • If you won $10 million today, how would you spend it?
  • What’s the worst job you ever had?
  • Are you a fan of surprises, or do you hate them?
  • What’s the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
  • What’s the scariest fear you’ve ever conquered?
  • Between height, spiders, and enclosed spaces, what do you fear the most?
  • What motivates you to get up in the morning?
Pro tip: When asked a question, regardless of how irrelevant it may seem, take your time to think about it before answering. It’s advisable to take the interviewer through your thought process to get them to see things from your perspective.

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Remember, honesty is your best weapon here. So, be yourself and answer them to the best of your ability.

Theoretical Ice Breakers

Interviewers are looking for the power of imagination when they ask theoretical ice breakers. The answers to these questions will provide the hiring manager insights into your creativity, capabilities, and probably culture fit.

  • What if you could dedicate your life to solving one problem. What problem would that be?
  • What if you could go back in time, which year would you travel to?
  • What if you were the only survivor after a zombie apocalypse?
  • What if you met “The Rock” today, how would you spend your time together?
  • If you were to guest star in a TV show, which one would it be and why?
  • If you could have lunch with a celebrity, who would it be?
  • If you could turn back time, what would you do differently?
  • If you had psychic abilities, which one would you choose?
Pro tip: Some of these questions are brain teasers to see how a candidate can use their imagination and logic to solve issues when faced with impossible challenges. Take this question, for example. “If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?”

According to a Forbes survey, 72 percent of people would choose the ability to fly. The interviewer may be looking for an amusing or genuine response. No matter your answer, how you approach it will reveal your personality and creativity. They can also reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate.

“Favorite Thing” Ice Breaker Questions

These ice breakers can seem simple but can be tough to answer. It’s that aspect that makes them good ice breaker questions to ask candidates during an interview. Not only can they be fun, but they can also do wonders in creating a friendly environment for a job interview.

  • Choose your favorite? Dog or cat?
  • Who is your favorite celebrity, and why?
  • What is your favorite season?
  • What is your favorite movie genre?
  • What’s the one favorite phone app that you can’t do without?
  • What is your favorite part of working remotely?
  • Who is your favorite Halloween character?
  • What is your favorite meal?
Pro tip: The answers you give may reflect your style, personality, and individuality. So, answer as honestly as possible not to give the wrong impression.

“Would You Rather” Ice Breakers

“Would you rather” questions require simple, precise answers. In most cases, you must choose one over the other. Interviewers may be looking for specific traits in the candidate. Therefore, try to be transparent and give honest answers.

  • Would you rather live in the deep sea or outer space?
  • Would you rather be a mind reader or invisible?
  • Would you rather do yoga or run?
  • Would you rather live without the internet or your mobile?
  • Would you rather be a butterfly or a tiger?
  • Morning person or night owl?
  • Would you rather stay at an Airbnb or a hotel?
  • Would you rather have many arms or several brains?
Pro tip: Some interviewers might ask you to elaborate on some of the answers you give. So, always walk into an interview with an open mind.

Fun Icebreaker Questions

When there’s tension in the room, a good laugh can help lighten the mood and put everyone, especially the candidate, at ease. Not all the questions are trick questions, so don’t overthink your answer. Just go with the flow.

  • How would you solve earth’s problems if you were from another planet?
  • Someone gifts you with an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do?
  • What is your spirit animal, and why?
  • What emoji always makes you smile?
  • During a zombie apocalypse, what one famous person would you choose to team up with?
  • Which superpower would you givegift your nemesis?
  • Did you create an imaginary friend as a child? Would you want one today?
Pro tip: Some questions are simply for fun, while others are designed to help the interviewer get insight into how you think, prioritize things, and problem-solve. The purpose of such questions is to determine if you think on your feet.

Random and Unique Ice Breaker Questions

Most interviews use similar questions, which most likely evoke similar responses. For the most part, candidates come prepared to answer these questions. But when you’re asked an unexpected question, you’re challenged and forced to think outside the box.

  • What’s the color of money?
  • What’s the current trend that you simply don’t comprehend?
  • How would your boss describe you?
  • If you had the option to choose an unlimited supply of one thing, what would it be and why?
  • If you were to rate your overall performance out of 10, what rating would your boss and coworkers give you?
  • What crime would you commit if you knew you’d never get caught?
  • Imagine you could teleport. Where would you go right now?
  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given your team members?
  • Is there a story behind your name?
  • You’re offered a fully paid round-trip to Mars. The catch? It takes 12 months of your life? Would you go?
  • Have you ever lied to avoid going to work? What lie did you tell?

These questions help provoke a more honest and insightful discussion and elicit a candidate’s true personality.

Pro tip: Some interviewers may ask if you have any questions for them. How do you approach that request? Here are some of the best questions to ask an interviewer.

Key Takeaway

Interviewers use ice breaker questions to create a warm, friendly, and welcoming atmosphere. They also use these questions to gauge your abilities, like creativity, quick-thinking, innovativeness, problem-solving, and communication.

In addition, the questions can be phrased to learn more about your character and personality. Therefore, answer questions honestly and give it some thought before answering.

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