5 Top Interview Icebreakers: Recruit like a Boss

One of the biggest drivers of success for any leader is the quality of their team. Who you hire can mean the difference between success and failure.

However, finding top talent is hard work. The best person for the role may be sitting right in front of you but not interviewing well. In fact, many people find the process of interviewing more nerve-racking than a doctor or dentist visit. 93 percent of candidates feel anxious during job interviews, making it challenging to assess a candidate’s potential.

You’ve probably met job applicants with all the skills and experience necessary for a role. But when you ask the tough questions, the candidate is uneasy in answering and fails to impress.

To avoid bypassing great talent, interview icebreakers can be used to relax candidates and establish an atmosphere that encourages them to show the best version of themselves.

So, What are Icebreakers?

Icebreakers are questions, activities, games, or events that help build rapport, instill trust, and start meaningful conversations. You can use them in different situations to create a friendly ambiance and enable others to feel comfortable sharing ideas or being vulnerable.

That makes icebreakers ideal for job interviews. Recruiters use them to reduce the formality of the conversation that makes candidates hesitant to be who they are and show their best qualities.  As a result of the icebreaker, job applicants feel more confident and can better communicate why they’re the best person for the job.

How do you Use Interview Icebreakers?

Adjust your interview icebreakers to the interviewee and increase the chances of a positive response. Read their body language, observe their behavior, and aim to understand what makes them feel comfortable.

You can also look for clues in their resume and cover letter. For example, you can mention that you share the same hobby or have lived in the same city.

But you can also think of a few general ice breakers that could work regardless of someone’s personality type, background, or affinities. The best time to use them is quickly after the introduction and before you dive into the formal job-related questions.

Interview Icebreaker Questions

1. What practice would make every job interview easier?

If you want to avoid the usual “Tell me about yourself” and “What do you know about this company?” questions, start with a question that shows you care about the candidate’s perspective.

Ask candidates how to improve interviews and describe what makes them dreadful. In addition to lightening the mood by commiserating about how terrible interviewing is, you’ll get insights into what to improve and what could make job applicants feel more comfortable.

2. If you had to rewrite our job description, how would you do it?

This question will turn the tables a bit, allowing the candidate to give feedback on the clarity and effectiveness of the job description. You’ll discover how well the candidates understand the job position and pay attention to what they prioritize. That is also a great way to spark their creativity and discover if they’re genuinely interested in the vacancy.

3. What makes you uniquely you?

Most recruiters focus on job-specific questions and often forget every candidate is distinct. Ask about something unique to the candidate that goes beyond work and intertwines with other dimensions of their identity.

4. What makes you excited about potentially working with us?

Start a light conversation about a candidate’s motivation and discover how much they know about your company. You can also use this icebreaker to find out whether they’re a good culture fit and if they share similar long-term goals.

5. What would make you eager to wake up and get to your assignments every day?

Tackle employee engagement and openly ask candidates what makes them excited and motivated to show up to work every day. You’ll get a great idea of who they are as a people and will allow you to determine fit with your role and organization. If the answer doesn’t align with the work the position offers, dig deeper into the matter to see if your position and company are a good fit.

Make That Hire!

Interview icebreakers should help the job applicant feel more at ease and relaxed. This will lead to a more engaging conversation, allowing the applicant to confidently highlight her strengths.

Choose interview icebreakers that allow candidates to show off their personalities and what makes each the best choice for the job. You can adjust the icebreakers to your company, niche, and applicant to get the most relevant answers. Just be sure to use an icebreaker to get the conversation started right!

About the author

Nina Sheridan is a seasoned author at Latterly.org, a blog renowned for its insightful exploration of the increasingly interconnected worlds of business, technology, and lifestyle. With a keen eye for the dynamic interplay between these sectors, Nina brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her writing. Her expertise lies in dissecting complex topics and presenting them in an accessible, engaging manner that resonates with a diverse audience.