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100 Questions That Will Help You Break The Ice With Anyone You Meet

100 Questions That Will Help You Break The Ice With Anyone You Meet

There are tons of ways to introduce yourself to somebody, some more creative than others. I am a bit terrible when it comes to putting myself out there, though I’ve gotten a lot better in recent years. I am, however, great at observing people who are experts at breaking the proverbial ice, so I know what it takes to be good at it! Below you’ll find an eclectic range of conversation starters to break the ice, from the standard to the insane, and everywhere in between!

1. Hi, my name is [x], and I am not a bad person!

    2. Wouldn’t it be crazy if some random dude just came up to you and started talking? Hi, my name’s [x] by the way!

    3. Did you see that Game of Thrones episode last night?

    4. What do you think of our professor?

    5. Our teaching assistant is a real jerk, isn’t he/she?

      6. Nice necklace you got there, where did you get it?

      7. Those shoes are unique…why did you pick them?

        8. Whoa, I know I’ve never talked to you before, but your new haircut is sweet!

        9. What kind of accent is that, British?

        10. Are you taking this for a GE too?

          11. What’s your plan after college?

          12. Hey, I think I heard you talking about [insert TV show here]. What do you think of the current season?

          13. Do you know the readings that were assigned for this week?

          14. I ordered a textbook in the mail and it still hasn’t been delivered…would you mind if I used yours for a day?

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            15. You look mildly interesting; what’s your story?

            16. Cool shirt, what’s it referencing?

            17. Do you have any pets at home?

            18. What’s your favorite TV show?

              19. Cool laptop; is it easier to take notes on that than in a regular notebook?

              20. I couldn’t help but notice that you’re holding a 3DS…what’s your favorite game?

              21. This class is terrible, wouldn’t you agree?

                22. Didn’t I see you at that party last night?

                23. Hey, I think we’re both friends with [x]; what’s up?

                24. Based on your attire it looks like you workout a lot. What gym do you go to?

                25. Well, looks like we’re both stuck in this [insert miserable situation here], what’s your name?

                  26. I noticed you’re reading a book by [x], he/she is my favorite author! What do you think of it so far?

                  27. Woo, you look miserable. Need somebody to talk to?

                  28. So I saw you sitting alone at the bus stop and figured I’d introduce myself since I’m trying to be spontaneous. What’s up?

                    29. I see you at the dining hall/café all of the time; is it weird if I’m forward and introduce myself?

                    30. Cool phone you got there; is that the new model?

                    31. What are you planning to write about for this essay?

                    32. Aren’t we in the same [x] together?

                      33. Freshmen are so annoying, aren’t they?

                      34. So I was messing around in the mirror today; what do you think of my new hairstyle?

                      35. Do you like running? You look like a runner.

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                        36. Wow, you’re tall; you must be like 6’4” right?

                        37. Wow, you’re tiny; you must be like five feet tall right?

                        38. Do you play basketball? With that wingspan, you should.

                          39. Do you play football? You’ve got muscles on your muscles!

                          40. Did you hate your English teachers? Yeah, me too.

                          41. What’s your favorite historical era?

                          42. What do you think of [insert recent news scandal here]?

                            43. Are you a liberal or conservative?

                            44. What’s your favorite sports team?

                            45. Are you a fan of The Daily Show?

                            46. Do you think Obama is a good President?

                              47. What are some of the things you’re obsessed about?

                              48. Don’t we live in the same apartment complex?

                              49. Wait; didn’t we live across from each other freshmen year?

                                50. Hey, you’re that one guy that my other friends all know but I don’t! How’s it going?

                                51. You really are as funny as they say, you know that?

                                52. What are your work plans this summer?

                                53. Do you like the weather where we live? Because in my opinion, it’s way too hot/cold.

                                  54. I’m loving this rain! Are you?

                                  55. Hey, I see you just bought a book *points at your bag*. You know there’s another awesome book store located down that way a couple blocks right?

                                  56. Do you prefer lattes or cappuccinos?

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                                    57. Are you a tea person or a coffee fanatic?

                                    58. You should be a politician. Ever thought about it?

                                    59. Yo, you look just like this guy/girl I saw on TV! Know who I’m talking about?

                                    60. I’ve noticed you wear blue and shout “allons-y” a lot…are you a Doctor Who fan?

                                      61. Hey! I recognize you from High School! Except back then you didn’t know who I was. Well I’ll introduce myself, I’m [x].

                                      62. Those are cool aviators; you planning to become a cop?

                                      63. I can’t help but notice you’re still using Internet Explorer. WHY?!?!

                                        64. Do you like your iPhone?

                                        65. Oh hey! You have eyebrows, I have eyebrows; let’s talk!

                                        66. Watching Netflix in the library? I can relate.

                                        67. You look stressed; how can I help?

                                          68. Want to know something funny? Between you and me, my glasses are for show.

                                          69. What classes did you sign up for?

                                          70. Did you check out the ratemyprofesssor.com score for this guy? We’re in for a long quarter…

                                            71. Hey, we both worked at the same place for a couple months and never said a word to each other. What’s up with that?

                                            72. You look pretty unique; what’s your nationality?

                                            73. Is it just me, or does it seem like the rest of the people in our class/office are in a dreamlike stupor?

                                            74. Why doesn’t this room have air-conditioning? This is miserable!

                                            75. Nice hairstyle; what products do you use to keep it that way?

                                              76. Important question: is Folgers really the best part of waking up?

                                              77. *Tilts coffee in stranger’s relative direction* I see you need to caffeinate too. On a scale of one to 10, how desperately do you need coffee to survive in the morning?

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                                                78. Did anybody else here finish Mass Effect 3? Wasn’t that ending terrible?!

                                                79. You look like you know what’s up. Have any tips for me?

                                                80. Ooh, that’s a nice hoodie! What store did you find it in?

                                                81. You’re wearing converse too? Converse buddies!

                                                  82. Whoa, how’d you manage to break your arm?

                                                  83. Did you get taller since the last time I saw you?

                                                  84. Wow, did you start a workout regimen or something? I mean, I know I don’t really know you, but good job!

                                                    85. Just one question…do you happen to know how to work this thing?!

                                                    86. So…the Star Wars prequels. Like or dislike?

                                                    87. What’s your opinion of Mark Zuckerberg?

                                                      88. Even though I don’t really know you, your face is reasonably more familiar to me than the others in this room. What’s good?!

                                                      89. Can you finish this phrase? “I want to be the very best…”

                                                      90. So, about this California drought. Do you think they should still be planting lawns when it never rains?

                                                      91. What apps do you use most on your smartphone?

                                                      92. Would you agree with me that bow ties are cool?

                                                        93. How’s life?

                                                        94. Do you like being left handed?

                                                        95. Do you use Twitter or Facebook more?

                                                        96. Do you know [x]? Aren’t they incredibly annoying?

                                                          97. Want to hear my impersonation of our professor/boss/other authority figure?

                                                          98. That’s a nice car; what year is it?

                                                          99. Wow you type super fast. How many words per minute can you do?

                                                            100. Frankly, I’m tired of waiting. I’m [x], nice to meet you. Would you like to run away from me now? If so, be my guest. If not, how’s it going?

                                                            Featured photo credit: Agreement.jpg/MorgueFile via mrg.bz

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                                                            Last Updated on March 14, 2019

                                                            7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                                                            7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                                                            Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

                                                            For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

                                                            Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

                                                            1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

                                                            A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

                                                            It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

                                                            It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

                                                            How it helps you:

                                                            If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

                                                            Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

                                                            2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

                                                            Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

                                                            Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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                                                            How it helps you:

                                                            Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

                                                            Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

                                                            If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

                                                            Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

                                                            3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

                                                            Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

                                                            Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

                                                            How it helps you:

                                                            This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

                                                            For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

                                                            Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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                                                            A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

                                                            4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

                                                            To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

                                                            A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

                                                            How it helps you:

                                                            One word: hierarchy.

                                                            All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

                                                            In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

                                                            If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

                                                            5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

                                                            Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

                                                            Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

                                                            How it helps you:

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                                                            Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

                                                            If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

                                                            This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

                                                            6. What do you like about working here?

                                                            This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

                                                            Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

                                                            How it helps you:

                                                            You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

                                                            Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

                                                            Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

                                                            7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

                                                            What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

                                                            As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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                                                            How it helps you:

                                                            What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

                                                            First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

                                                            Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

                                                            Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

                                                            Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

                                                            Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

                                                            Making Your Interview Work for You

                                                            Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

                                                            Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

                                                            More Resources About Job Interviews

                                                            Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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