What Are Ice Breaker Questions for Interview?
How to Use Ice Breaker Questions for Interview Purposefully
How to Answer Ice Breaker Questions
Dissecting the Ice Breaker Questions
The number one most popular yet dreaded question without fail is “Tell me about yourself” and any variation thereof. This question is good for interviewers as a quick tool to weed out those people who may not be a great match for the position and to quickly find those who are. As an interviewee, this isn’t the time to ramble on about your three kids, their ages, their babysitter and so on. The interviewer is looking for your qualifications in less than one paragraph of spoken verbiage, nothing more and nothing less. Avoid personal topics, this is inappropriate in any interview. If the interviewer is asking questions that seem a bit intrusive, this should be a huge red flag that the company is probably not a good fit, or there is some hidden agenda. As a candidate, you are on equal footing to end an interview if it’s going nowhere quickly. You, of course, want to do this as tactfully as humanly possible, as burning bridges is never a good thing and it’s a small world.Another popular question is for the interviewer to ask why the candidate has decided to move on from their current or most recent position. As an interviewer this is a great way to assess what the candidate’s priorities are, their work ethic, and if they’d be a viable employee. As a candidate, this can appear to be a rather loaded question that may make one squirm. Honesty is always the best policy, even if the job ended on a sour note. If this is the case, the candidate must be able to clearly articulate why they lost their position and what they learned from it. If the candidate is unhappy with their current situation, they should be able to phrase this in a manner that highlights how the prospective employer would be a better match for them. This is a question where elaborating as much as possible is a good thing. Short and evasive answers raise red flags in the interviewer’s mind that the candidate may not have the best work ethic or any ethics for that matter.
Along the lines of most popular questions, asking the candidate what they’ve done to prepare or what they know about the job and company is another loaded question. The interviewer will gather that the candidate is taking the process seriously (or lack thereof) and that they are actually interested in this line of work or a particular company. The candidate at a minimum should be able to understand and describe the position advertised and know the basics of the company. Remember, there’s no such thing as being overly prepared. This question will also provide the interviewer with decent insight as to how you approach tasks and present information that you’ve learned. This seemingly simple question is one of the most important and should be regarded as such. Most large corporations will incorporate this into their standard interview for any position. Companies such as Disney will take this even a step further. A popular question asked of their candidates is to identify with a character and describe how they are like that character. If you miss this question, consider it an epic fail. If you nail it, be prepared for your new career.
Asking a candidate as to why they should be hired is another great ice breaker questions for the interview. This gives the candidate a chance to showcase themselves and is a great overall indicator of their personality. The interviewee should be able to summarize why they’d be competitive and a great match. Again, avoid being aloof or arrogant. Acting as anything other than optimistically confident is often a deal breaker. The interviewer will most likely also be assessing how well you’ll handle being reviewed and willing to be adaptable in their environment. This is where a little humility will stretch a long way. Being a quick learner is a great thing to point out, and being adaptable even in stressful situations will serve you well here.
Be prepared to answer the longevity or retention question and the salary requirement question. These questions are a bit of a balancing act for both the interviewer and the candidate. Most recruiters are seeking to find out whether this is going to be a short stint or if you plan on becoming the next vice president. They’re also trying to figure out how much or how little you’re willing to work for. Practicality is being measured here for both sides and it has to be a mutual winning agreement. This is also a great indicator that the interviewer is seriously considering employing you. A reasonable method to not short sell yourself is to highlight to the candidate what you’re accustomed to making in your present or most recent scenario and then tailoring it to the expectations of the position. If the work is a bit more challenging, don’t ask for a lower wage than what you were previously making. This only makes you look desperate in the interviewer’s mind. Asking the interviewer what the typical wage for someone with your level of expertise and experience is also a great way to negotiate a win-win deal. This is also a great time for the candidate (if brave enough) to attempt to close the deal. If the interviewer is able to make an “on the spot” offer, now is also a great time to get this candidate on board, while they’re excited about the position.
Another popular choice among ice breaker questions is to ask the prospective employee about their availability and if they are able to work more (or less) hours if business needs dictate. As an interviewer, this is, of course, a chance to see how willing and able the candidate is to commit to your company and the position. As a candidate, this is an opportunity to set realistic expectations of yourself to the interviewer. If you are ready, willing and able to tackle double time shifts, tell them so. If you need off for an event every Wednesday night, disclose that information immediately. There is no quicker way to lose a job than over promising and under delivering. The recruiter knows and understands life exists outside the corporate world, at least for most it does. If the candidate has promised the world on paper then backs off in the interview, this is a bad sign for both parties. Being realistic yet willing to give it your all is the way to get you to that new job, and the interviewer will appreciate your honesty and transparency and vice versa.
Ice breaker questions are a great way to set the tone for an interview. They also help both sides relax and feel at ease when discussing a serious topic like employment. Being confident and optimistic will carry anyone much further than being a fence sitter or impersonal. Again, this is a universally applicable reality. You can use these tips in your personal affairs as well, to get to know someone or for networking purposes. Taking a legitimate interest in the topic and person will make anyone appear to be an effective communicator, a skill that is invaluable. Careful and thoughtful preparation and even role playing are great tools for both candidates and recruiters alike. Some of the more advanced ice breaker questions may be thrown your way, so be prepared to sell a pen or any other inane object and to tell a very clean yet clever joke, should these things be asked of you.
Being “yourself” is the key to landing any job that you will actually want to stick with. Presenting your company in an accurate and realistic manner will get you much more qualified candidates, who’ll stick with your company for a longer period of time. Body language and appearance should be reflective of the image that each party is presenting. Dressing for success and the job you want, not the job you have are also indicators that will have the candidate leaving a favorable impression. The candidate should also be prepared to ask the interviewer at least a few questions. This will not only make the candidate appear eager, but it will highlight what is important to them.