What are “get-to-know-you” questions? (And how to answer them)

What are “get-to-know-you” questions? (And how to answer them)
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 13 May, 2024

Establishing positive relationships in the workplace is important to create an environment of trust and respect. This can improve employee morale and productivity. It also helps to develop a positive company culture that encourages innovation and creativity. 

One way to foster connections is by using “get-to-know-you” questions. Many of these serve as good icebreakers for work. They're fun and easy to ask and answer. They help people get to know each other better in a non-invasive way. Here, we'll learn more about get-to-know-you questions by covering:

Why get-to-know-you questions are important 

Get-to-know-you questions help achieve the following objectives:

Build rapport and trust among team members

“Who's your celebrity crush?” and “What's your go-to karaoke song?” are some fun questions to ask coworkers to break the ice. And as you get more comfortable with your fellow workers, you can start to ask deeper questions. Answering these can go a long way in establishing trust and rapport among team members.

Enhance communication and understanding within the team

Coworkers gain insights into each other's backgrounds, interests, and perspectives when they ask each other open-ended questions. This knowledge can foster open and effective communication within the team. It helps you understand the perspectives of others and how they can work together to achieve company goals.

Create an inclusive work environment

Getting-to-know-you questions encourage people to share their stories and more of their personality. This can create a sense of belonging and acceptance within the team. It can also make team members feel that the group values their unique perspectives and backgrounds.

How to ask get-to-know-you questions 

Here are some tips for asking get-to-know-you questions:

  • Choose the right setting: A relaxed and casual environment is ideal. It could be during breaks and informal gatherings. 
  • Be genuine in your approach: Ask questions that you want to know the answer to. But ensure they fit within the context of the conversation.
  • Start with open-ended questions: These promote more in-depth conversations. They can help you gain a better understanding of the other person. 
  • Listen actively: Give your full attention to the speaker. Maintain eye contact and react to what they're saying to show your interest.
  • Keep things light and positive: This helps make the conversation enjoyable. It can encourage people to open up about themselves. 
  • Ask in-depth follow-up questions: Asking thoughtful questions helps you learn more about a person. They can also foster a sense of connection and trust.
  • Share about yourself: Sharing establishes your authenticity and encourages others to share more about themselves. 
  • Be mindful of your nonverbal cues: Keep your body language open and have a friendly demeanour to create a welcoming environment. 
  • Respect people's boundaries: Allow someone to decline if they're uncomfortable answering certain questions. 
  • Encourage group participation: This gives a sense of belonging and inclusion, making the team feel more connected. 
  • Be adaptable and open-minded: Listen to people's answers without judging or making assumptions. Adapt your questions to the conversation and the individual you're speaking with to create a comfortable environment.

How to answer get-to-know-you questions during an interview  

Hiring managers may ask you questions to gain a better understanding of your values and personality. These “get-to-know-me” questions can help them determine if you're a good fit for the company and the role. Here are a few tips for answering these questions:

Be honest

Giving truthful answers can make you seem more trustworthy and credible. If the hiring manager asks about your most embarrassing moment, share a true story and mention what you learned from the experience.

Stay professional

Showing your personality is important. But make sure you still use professional language and tone. Even if the question is a bit unusual, such as what you'd do in a zombie apocalypse, maintain a sense of professionalism.

Be positive 

This showcases your optimistic mindset, which may help create a favourable impression of you. If an interviewer asks about your worst job, be honest but end your answer on a positive note. For example, you could say you learned a lot at that job and were able to make life-long connections.

Relate your answers to the job

Balance your personal insights with professional details. Show how your attributes align with the job requirements. If they ask about your morning routine, you can say you follow a schedule that enables you to get to work on time. 

Asian woman with headphones waving during a virtual interview

Avoid controversial topics

When answering questions, it's best to avoid sensitive subjects such as politics and religion. This maintains a professional and comfortable environment for everyone. It also prevents you from saying something that could affect how the interviewer perceives you.

Ask clarifying questions

These enable you to give more detail or explain your answers. If the question is about how you define success, for example, you could ask if it pertains to your personal or professional life. This helps you understand the interviewer's intent and allows you to provide a more relevant response.

Asking get-to-know-you questions at a new workplace 

It's important to make a positive first impression on your coworkers when you start a new job. This enables you to build relationships with them, which can help you feel more comfortable at work. One way to do this is by asking some “meet-the-team” questions to get to know your colleagues better. Here are a few more tips you can follow:

  • Navigate your first day with curiosity and openness: Make time to familiarise yourself with your new workplace and coworkers. 
  • Start with simple questions: When you start at a new workplace, stick to small talk or ask introduction questions. Then, once you feel comfortable with your coworkers, you can ask more personal questions. 
  • Approach colleagues with engaging and appropriate questions: Take note of any shared hobbies or interests and ask your coworkers about them. Choose questions that are relevant and respectful.
  • Show genuine interest: Practise active listening and maintain eye contact when a colleague answers a question. Then, ask follow-up questions to have a deep conversation about the topic. 
  • Be respectful of their time: Be mindful of your coworkers' schedules and commitments. Give them time to answer your questions and provide input when it works for them. 
  • Ask open-ended questions: Encourage meaningful dialogue by asking your colleagues about the company culture and opportunities for development, as well as what they enjoy most about working at the company. You can also ask questions about the team dynamics, such as how people collaborate and support one another.
  • Join group conversations: This allows you to learn more about your coworkers and build rapport. 
  • Keep it light: Focus on light-hearted subjects that can spark interesting conversations. 
  • Make use of lunchtime breaks: You can ask fun get-to-know-you questions during your free time or while enjoying lunch with your new colleagues. These conversation starters can be about hobbies or topics they enjoy, such as their favourite sport, the last movie they saw, or their favourite food.

Examples of get-to-know-you questions on your first day at work 

Here are some questions to get to know someone on your first day:

About the company and role

These give you insight into the organisation and the person you're speaking with. Some good get-to-know-you questions for work include: 

  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • What's one thing you wish you knew when you started working here?

Workstyle and collaboration

These help you understand how to work with your coworkers. A few examples of these questions are:

  • How do you prefer to communicate – email, instant messaging, or face-to-face?
  • What's the typical workflow or process like in the team?
  • Are there any regular team meetings or check-ins I should be aware of?

Team dynamics

These give you a glimpse of how the team works and what you can expect from coworkers. Some of these questions include:

  • What's the best way to integrate into the team?
  • Can you tell me about any team traditions or activities?
  • How does the team usually celebrate successes or milestones?

Individual insights

These help you get to know someone on a more personal level, for example:

  • What projects are you currently excited about?
  • How has your role evolved since you started here?
  • What challenges have you faced in your role, and how did you overcome them?

Personal interests

These help you make new friends by finding common interests and experiences. Some questions include:

  • Do you have any favourite lunch spots around the workplace you'd recommend?
  • What do you like to do outside of work?
  • Have you read any good books or watched any interesting shows recently?


These give you a sense of how the organisation operates and help you plan your career path. Here are some examples:

  • What are some goals or projects you're looking forward to in the near future?
  • How do you see the team evolving in the next year?

Understanding company culture

These help you grasp the values and norms of the organisation, for example:

  • How would you describe the company culture here?
  • Are there any company events or traditions I should know about?

Advice and tips

These can be a great way to connect with your coworkers while learning more about the organisation. Some of these questions include:

  • Do you have any career advice for someone just starting in this role?
  • Are there any resources or tools you'd recommend to help me get up to speed?
  • What's one thing you wish someone had told you when you started working here?

Answering get-to-know-you questions at work  

Here are a few tips to help you answer questions people may ask you at work:

  • Be approachable. Show that you're open to conversation through your demeanour. 
  • Keep your answers concise. 
  • Respond in an honest but professional manner. 
  • Share relevant experiences to show you're a team player.
  • Be mindful of the workplace culture. Adapt your communication style to the norms and practices of the workplace. 
  • Respect confidentiality. Keep your coworkers' answers to yourself to foster trust. 
  • Show interest in others. Ask them questions after you answer theirs.
  • Make your responses personal. This can help you build connections with your coworkers.


Get-to-know-you questions help create a positive and collaborative work environment. Asking them shows your genuine interest in your coworkers. Continuous communication and an effort to connect with your colleagues helps you build strong relationships that can positively impact your job satisfaction and career growth. When asking and answering these questions, practise active listening, be positive and truthful, and maintain a professional demeanour.


Here are answers to some common questions on this topic:

  1. What are some unique icebreaker questions for remote teams?
    Here are a few questions to ask:
    What would you do if you had all the money in the world?
    Who's your favourite Disney character, and why?
    What's your favourite holiday, and what's the best part about it?
    What's your favourite childhood memory?
    What's the best gift you've ever received?
    What would be a great role for you, and how would you get it?
    What's the craziest thing you've ever done that was worth it?
  2. How can I make team meetings more engaging with icebreakers?
    Start the meeting with a fun icebreaker to energise the team. This could be a game, a short activity, or a simple question that encourages everyone to participate. If the meeting is long, you can also take a break halfway through and then do another icebreaker.
  3. Are there any cultural considerations when using get-to-know-you questions in a diverse workplace?
    Make sure to respect the cultural differences of the team. Ask questions that are inclusive and relevant to all team members. Also, be aware of language barriers and cultural sensitivities that could affect how people interpret your questions.
  4. Can you share some icebreakers for virtual onboarding?
    Icebreakers aren't just questions. They can also be activities or games that help people get to know each other and feel at ease in the workplace. Here are some examples of virtual onboarding icebreakers to try:
    Ask new employees to answer a fun questionnaire about themselves.
    Organise interactive activities that encourage participation and collaboration.
    Set up virtual water coolers that allow new employees to connect with more experienced team members through a video chat.
  5. What's the difference between icebreakers for small teams and large organisations?
    Icebreakers for small teams are often more personal and less structured. The aim of many of these is to help people get to know each other better. Icebreakers for larger organisations usually focus on a specific theme. They're more structured and typically involve team-building activities.

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