8 Interview Questions to Lighten the Mood

Job candidates perform better when they feel comfortable and at ease, especially during interviews. So here are some interview questions to help you lighten the mood when you need to.

June 20, 2023

Interviews are extremely nerve-racking times for candidates.

From remembering to make plenty of eye contact to picking the right outfit for the big day, there are so many things to consider.

And that’s only one side of the story.

Employers have a lot to consider too, with a report from Monster recently stating that 58% of candidates would turn down a position if the level of “banter” wasn’t very good in the interview.

Just like on a first date, you don’t want to come across as dull and uninspiring. And this starts by avoiding the same old cliché questions.

Choose a few random and unique ones to start with and you’ll instantly put the candidate at ease, learn more about and showcase your company’s colourful side.

After all, who wants to work for a business who doesn’t believe in having a bit of fun?

1. What is your favourite activity to do on holiday?

This question is a great ice-breaker and can also help identify the type of candidate you are interviewing as well. If they’re unsure of whether you are referring to a holiday with friends, family or a partner, let them decide for themselves.

You’ll then put them on the spot and ultimately receive an honest answer. So for example:

A candidate who talks about drinking and partying as an activity on holiday indicates that they are sociable and a strong team player.

While an answer which involves expending energy such as water skiing, surfing or hiking, suggests that you have a go-getter who isn’t afraid to get stuck in with projects or make executive decisions.

Alternatively, a candidate may opt for a more civilised activity like visiting museums, going on tours or trying new cuisines.

In this case, it could suggest that you have an inquisitive individual who wants to try, taste and learn new things.

This may be particularly useful if you’re employing someone for an entry-level position who you’d like to develop.

2. What is your favourite meal?

There was always going to be a food-related question on this list.

Firstly, you have the type of meal to consider.

For instance, breakfast says your candidate is an early bird, while lunch, brunch and dinner could mean the complete opposite.

And then there’s the food choice itself. If a candidate replies with a curry, ask them what type.

An Indian korma could mean they’re reliable and always stick to the safe option, whereas a vindaloo not only says they are barking mad, but they dare to live on the edge.

British meals such as bangers and mash may suggest they are homely, caring and brought up with strong family traditions, which should mean they’d fit into your work environment.

You can tell an awful lot from a person’s food choices!

3. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Now, I’d anticipate you may get a few smart candidates replying with the specific job role they are interviewing for.

However, the best answers here should open up a whole new world of questions.

For example, if a candidate says that they wanted to be a professional football player, you can then ask them whether they still play or what team they support.

Instantly, you’ll start to uncover new and exciting things about the candidate’s past, which is vital as it starts to give you a true reflection of who they are and whether they’ll fit into your business.

Some answers can even reveal further talents or interests which could make them more valuable as an employee.

This could include a candidate who previously wanted to be a graphic designer but is now interviewing for a recruitment position.

Perhaps they know a lot about the subject but never pursued it. Therefore, this would make them great at recruiting candidates for graphic design.

4. What’s the most embarrassing situation you’ve ever been in? And how did you resolve the issue?

As a candidate, this is a really tricky question to answer on the spot but has the potential to generate a few laughs.

Make a note of how long it takes them to find a solution, as this will tell you a lot about whether the candidate is a quick problem-solver or works well under pressure.

The answer itself not only requires thought, but also needs a smart resolution.

Either way, this question combines a perfect balance of ice-breaking and intellect.

5. If you were given £1 million in cash, what would you do with it?

This question is another great one if you want to start the interview off on a conversational note.

There are many places a candidate can go with this.

If they choose to go travelling and never work again, perhaps it means they are adventurous or only work to pay the bills.

If they opt for spending the cash on treating their loved ones, you might have found yourself a candidate who is compassionate, a team player and more importantly, a kind natured individual.

Naturally, you’d expect them to do something for themselves as well.

A car is a strong signal that they want to be perceived as professional and love the way success feels/and looks.

While those who choose to invest their money into a business venture or property screams entrepreneurship and a level-headed nature which means that they plan for the future.

6. What’s your favourite song?

This interview question is a real peach when it comes to lightening up the mood.

Although the answer may not give you a strong understanding of what your candidate is like as a person, it will enable you to ask further questions and develop the bond between the two of you.

It could lead to supplementary questions about festivals, the types of genres they like, or perhaps revealing their rationale for liking a certain song, band or artist.

7. What did you have for breakfast?

Arguably the strangest question on the list, but a top option if you’re looking to kick-start a breakfast debate.

A healthy choice means your candidate takes care in their appearance and believes in getting their day off to a good start.

In return, this person could deliver structure and discipline to your business.

On the other hand, if they answer with a fry up or a croissant, you could be dealing with a candidate who lives every day as if it was their last.

So you’ll be adding a member who brings excitement and incorporates a can-do attitude.

8. If there was a movie of your life, who would play you?

Often a very funny choice, but also very insightful.

A candidate who chooses an action hero like Sylvester Stallone has the makings of being a no-nonsense person in your business, which is an ideal trait for cut-throat positions in sales and marketing.

A romantic lead star like Rachel McAdams is the perfect choice for a person looking to work in the healthcare industry as her character usually demonstrates a level of empathy and compassion.

Alternatively, a comedian like Will Ferrell or Amy Schumer may tell you that you have a bit of a cheeky chap/lady on your hands. This is a perfect attribute to possess if you’re looking for a candidate with great customer service skills to make your visitors feel welcome.


The most important thing to remember in an interview is to ensure that you create a relaxed environment.

Have fun with the questions you ask and invite cheeky responses.

As a result, this will not only enable a candidate to provide more honest answers, but it’ll also make your company more memorable in the process too.

After all, it’s vital to remember that a candidate might have multiple interviews lined up.

So if you want to learn more about them and portray your company as an exciting place to work, loosen up and try experimenting with your interview questions.

Check out this SlideShare - 11 Interview Questions That Will Reveal The Real Truth About Your Candidates – if you’d like some more examples.

And if you’d like to receive a weekly dose of our recruitment news and advice, subscribe today!

Good luck!

Coburg Banks - Multi-Sector Recruitment Agency
We help great people get brilliant jobs in top companies.