The opening moments of every interview have the potential to be nerve-wracking. However brief or lengthy the conversation itself ends up being, during the initial introductions you want nothing more than to form a positive relationship with the hiring manager so the subsequent discussion flows effortlessly.
Fortunately, the icebreaker questions provide the perfect opportunity to do so.
“What are icebreaker questions?”
These are often how hiring managers will start an interview. They’re usually informal and friendly, meant to build quick camaraderie and help both parties relax.
While the success of this first impression may not ultimately determine whether or not you get the job, it’s no less important to the interview.
Not only will taking the time to create some rapport with the hiring manager greatly increase your odds of leaving a positive impression, it will also make you feel far more at ease during this initial interaction.
Ultimately, these types of questions can be quite effective at getting a measure of someone’s personality, as well as providing a valuable indication of how well you communicate with others. Hiring managers will also use them as subtle, indirect ways to assess any skills you have pertaining to the job at hand. So whenever you’re given the opportunity, attempt to tailor your answer in a way that relates to the position you’re applying for.
Standard icebreaker questions
- Did you have any difficulties in finding our location?
- Do you work nearby?
- How was your weekend?
- Can you tell me about your previous job?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Of course, there’s always the possibility that after the initial greetings, the hiring manager will simply look at you expectantly, prompting you to begin the conversation. This is a great opportunity to implement an icebreaker of your own.
Sample icebreakers you can use
- I noticed from LinkedIn that you have been with the company for X number of years.
- I noticed from LinkedIn that you just started. How is your new role at <company name> coming along?
- I noticed from LinkedIn that you know <common connection>. I have worked with them for X number of years.
- This is a nice, vibrant office/floor. Has it been recently renovated?
- How was your weekend?
- Is there anything that initially surprised you about working here?
- What do you enjoy most about working here?
- What are the biggest challenges you find?
- What’s one of the most interesting projects you’ve worked on at this company?
Of all the aforementioned examples, there’s one that every candidate is bound to run into at some point in the job-hunting process:
This can be a somewhat daunting line of inquiry simply because it’s so broad. You don’t want to ramble, but you also don’t want to provide a five-word answer that makes the hiring manager doubt whether you have the refined ability to present yourself to others.
However the hiring manager chooses to begin the interview, here are a few general guidelines to keep in mind:
- Be Simple: Don’t make these opening moments more complicated than they have to be. The ability to stay focused and concise is an admirable skill for a potential candidate; brevity also makes it more likely that the hiring manager will remember the particulars of your conversation.
- Be Positive: If the interviewer asks if you had any trouble finding the office, and you got off at the wrong subway stop, don’t elaborate on your hatred of the public transit system. Should you choose to mention the incident, focus instead on how you resolved the issue. For example, “I planned ahead and left myself plenty of time, so it wasn’t really an issue.” This demonstrates your ability to stay organized and composed under the pressure of a job interview.
- Be Natural: Above all else, stay honest. Presenting your true self is the best thing you can do, far outweighing the perceived need to rehearse specific stories and moments. This also greatly increases your likelihood of connecting to the hiring manager on a human level. Just focus on your education, work experience, anything outside work you’re passionate about, etc.
Fundamentally, keep in mind that icebreaker questions are simply meant to get the interview off on a positive note, while the bulk of the interview will determine how good a fit you are for the hiring company. The first few moments of the interview are a great opportunity to build rapport and present your genuine self. Just show up prepared and you’ll leave as someone worth remembering.
Do you feel comfortable answering ice breaker questions at job interviews? ProViso Consulting staffing agency is here to support your career success! Our expert team can help guide you through commonly asked interview questions intended to gauge your personality and communication skills. View Toronto jobs in IT now.