Though you won’t choose your next hires depending on how they answer these questions, they are good communication starters for job interviews and they help make a great first impression.
Icebreaker interview questions to ask candidates:
- Did you have any difficulty locating us? Are you coming to this place for the first time?
- Have you ever used our services/products? If yes, how was your experience?
- How did you come to know about this job opening? Do you know anyone in our company?
- Why are you applying for this position? Did you understand the job responsibilities well?
- Why did you choose this field as your career option?
- What do you like about your current job and why do you want to switch?
How to choose the best icebreaker interview questions?
These questions, as their name suggests, help make the candidate feel comfortable before you start asking role-specific questions. Choose apt icebreaker questions to start interviews, based on the situation.
- During first onsite interviews: As it is the first time candidate is coming to your office, consider asking if they had difficulty finding your office and what do they think about your company.
- During video interviews with remote candidates: Ask about the place where the candidate lives. You could also ask if they have ever been to the city/state where your office is located and how their experience was.
- During group interviews: Ask candidates to give their brief introduction. Begin by introducing your team of interviewers.
- During second or third round interviews: Ask about something from previous interview rounds.
What not to ask when opening job interviews?
While icebreaker questions are just a small part of the interview, they create the platform for an effective assessment. That is why you should avoid:
- Difficult questions: The purpose of icebreaker questions is to make the candidate feel comfortable. Starting job interviews with tricky questions or puzzles can cause more stress and negatively affect the performance of the candidate. Leave these questions for later rounds of interviews.
- Abrupt questions: It is perfectly fine to skip the small talk and go directly to the point. But, questions like “Share your salary expectations?” or “Are you comfortable working late hours?” don’t give the right impression. Ask questions like “What do you like about this role?” or “Why did you choose this field?”
- Too personal or rude questions: While you should maintain a friendly approach, it is best to maintain professionalism. For example, a question like “How was your weekend, what did you do?” could make candidates conscious.
- Unusual questions: Good candidates come prepared to answer standard interview questions like “Tell me about your work experience” or “Give your brief introduction”. Unusual questions that are not related to the position could make them nervous (e.g. “If you were a flower what type of flower would you be?”)