Personality Interview Questions (With Answers)

by Chris Kolmar
Get The Job, Guides, Interview Questions - 2 weeks ago

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While employers are searching for a candidate who meets their experience requirements, the person they end up hiring will usually also have positive personality characteristics. Soft skills contribute to the work environment and effective teamwork.

To assess an applicant’s character they’ll usually pose questions that give insight into their personality and work ethic.

A candidate who can make an impression on an interview with their attitude and personality will be remembered when it comes time to decide who to hire.

What are Personality Interview Questions?

Personality-based interview questions predict how you will behave as an employee and function on their current team. These help to identify relevant soft skills through the content of your answers, as well as how well you maneuver difficult questions.

When it comes down to the final decision about who a company wants to hire, they’re often left with a handful of qualified applicants. It’s the individual who exhibited strong soft skills and disposition in their interview that will stick in their mind above the rest.

Examples of Personality Interview Questions

  1. Tell Me A Little About Yourself

    This opening question is an invitation to give the interviewer what’s known as your “elevator pitch”. This means a summarization of who you are, where you’ve been, and where you’d like to go. To put it broadly.

    How To Answer: With this question, the interviewer is hoping to get a sneak peek into your personality and interests. You should meet this expectation and be truthful about who you are as a person and an employee. They’re also looking into how you will handle answering a broad question without a direct answer.

    Avoid including irrelevant or too personal details about your life. Remember that an interview requires a professional demeanor, even if it’s being held in a Starbucks and feels casual.

    Examples of Qualities You Should Include:

    • Skills relevant to the position

    • Prior experience

    • Your career goals

    • What you hope to bring to their company

    • Confidence

    • Honesty

    Examples of Qualities You Shouldn’t Include:

    • Irrelevant personal information

    • Unprofessional attributes

    • An uninteresting and lengthy answer

    • Stories that go off the rails of the question

    Example Answer

    My name is Oscar. I’m from Brooklyn, New York but I recently moved to Chicago to pursue a career in music production. I’m transitioning from a 7-year career in the film industry, and believe that my previous experience in the entertainment industry can be useful and give a unique perspective to the position in your recording studio.

  2. If You Could Change One Thing About Your Personality, What Would It Be?

    This question is used by employers to determine not only what negative attributes you could have, but also how self-aware you are of where you need improvement. It’s a telling question to pose. It forces an applicant to be realistic about their character and what they could be better at.

    How To Answer: This question is personal to each candidate, and you should take the time to consider it for yourself. It’s wise to choose something that doesn’t make you out to be too much of a pain, but also isn’t lacking in sincerity.

    It also can be helpful to explain further why you would change this aspect of your personality, or how you’re currently working on it.

    Example Answer

    If I could change one thing about my personality, it would be that I can let myself get stressed out under pressure. When I know something important is on the line and that people are counting on me, I tend to feel the need to exceed expectations and this leads to stress. I know that getting overwhelmed can negatively impact my performance in work, and life, and try to improve my stress management skills continually.

  3. Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years

    This question serves a couple of purposes for the interviewer. Mainly, they get a gauge on your career aspirations and how you hope to grow with the company. If they fall in line with the company’s aspirations, you’ll likely have impressed the employer with your answer.

    How To Answer: You should answer this question as realistically as possible for your career goals. Keep your answer professional and relevant. You’re interviewing for a specific position and your response should be tailored to fit that.

    Your answer will demonstrate what is important to you, so make sure you’re considering the implications of what you say. Try to avoid being boastful or sarcastic. This question may seem cliche but it’s valuable for employers to understand what you hope to achieve and how you plan to get there.

    Example Answer

    In the next five years, I hope to reach new milestones in my career as a sales consultant. I’ve worked diligently to build up effective sales techniques and strategies. I’d like to continue to improve on and utilize these skills in my work for your company. In five years, I also see myself taking on more management responsibility.

  4. Why Are You Interested In This Position?

    Interviewers implement this question to evaluate your familiarity with the company and motivations for wanting to work there. While a great deal of the interview will be focused on you, this question is the time for your focus to be on the job.

    How To Answer: Answering this question will require a little bit of forethought before the interview, and will likely catch unprepared candidates off-guard. Employers are curious to see how much the applicant knows about the company and what made them want to be a part of it.

    Be genuine about your interest in the position, without being unprofessional in your response. You want your answer to make the interviewer excited at the prospect of someone as passionate about the job as you are.

    Example Answer

    I’d been working as a manager for the same salon for six years when I came across your job posting. The make-up arts director position interested me because your organization seems to enable it’s artists opportunities to grow into the film industry. I think I could learn a lot in this role, as well as bring a lot of useful experience.

  5. Tell Me About a Challenge Or Conflict You’ve Faced At Work

    At some point in your employment, you’ll have to deal with some conflict. Employers know this. They look for indications of problem-solving skills and conflict resolution during the interview. Asking about how you handled an issue in a former job allows them to see how well you speak about complex situations and get a glimpse into your interpersonal abilities.

    How To Answer: The goal of this question is to understand how you will perform when things are going less than perfectly at work. Since the interviewer will often ask for a real-world example, you should prepare for the interview by coming up with a few possible scenarios you’ve encountered in the past.

    This is a question that it’s easy to go on a rant with. Being asked about conflict makes a lot of people bring up every small thing surrounding the scenario.

    Try not to get lost in going into every little detail of the conflict, especially if it contains an unprofessional context. You can be brief when it comes to the specifics of the incident, but explain how you solved the issue and what the outcome was in full. Maintain optimism, even though the topic is dealing with challenges.

    While a lot of prior conflict at work may come to mind, pick the one that resulted in a positive outcome or that you performed well during.

    Example Answer

    In my last position as an assistant manager at a restaurant, we started having a problem with staff not showing up for their shifts. The schedule was done on pen and paper at the beginning of the week and, I thought, was leading to confusion for everyone. I asked the manager at the restaurant if I could become responsible for the scheduling and start using an electronic system. My managers were hesitant to change but ended up allowing me to go forward with it. It improved our efficiency and communication ten-fold in the end.

  6. How Would Your Friends Describe You?

    This question is used to get to know you on a more personal level and assess your self-awareness. How a person answers on behalf of their friends as to their qualities says a lot about how they view themselves and what they value.

    How To Answer: Make sure you’re talking about relevant qualities and opinions when answering this question. You don’t want to be too pompous or exaggerated. It’s best to keep the description you give as one that would represent a good, dependable employee.

    While it’s best to paint yourself in the most honest light, be sure you’re keeping your answer on track with a professional interview dynamic. It can also be helpful to give a specific friend and how you know them.

    Example Answer

    One example that comes to mind is my friend, Leah, who I actually worked with for three years. I think she would say I am diligent and reliable, both as a friend and employee.

  7. Tell Me About a Time You Failed

    Just as much as interviewers want to hear about all of your accomplishments, they also are curious about how you deal with failure. This question might come off as a little negative, but, nothing is a greater teacher than failure. How you adapt in the face of defeat and make positive changes for the future says a lot about the quality of your character.

    How To Answer: Be honest and be ready for a question about a time your performance fell short. Even though you may not want to relive your failures over again, your answer will say a lot about your personality. The interviewer isn’t looking for excuses as to why something wasn’t your fault, so be sure that you’re not giving a wishy-washy failure.

    Explain the circumstance around the failure, and why you would qualify it as one. You want to be clear about your reasons for why you believe you failed because this will define your ethics and self-awareness.

    Keep the mistake you mention to something work-related. The most impressive answers will be an example of a time you failed but learned or grew from the mistake.

    Example Answer

    In my last job, I was working as the talent manager for a media company. We were designing the marketing campaign for a new music artist, and I was in charge of target demographics. I ended up doing less research than I should’ve, and it showed in my presentation. My boss told me that he was disappointed and urged me to put more effort into research for the next project. I considered this one of my biggest failures because I let myself get complacent in a position that I loved. I ended up incorporating extra research time into my future projects.

  8. What Hobbies Do You Have Outside Of Work and Why Do You Enjoy Them?

  9. This question aims at getting to know more about the person you are, as opposed to just your work history. In addition to that, your answer to the question will tell them a lot about your personality.

    With this question, interviews can gain insight into:

    • If you prefer individual or team activities

    • What you value in your free time

    • How dedicated you are to your passions

    How To Answer: As with many personality-based questions, many applicants can be misled into sharing personal details without considering what they will say about their work-style.

    While the interviewer probably is genuinely curious about your life outside of work, they’re also actively seeking qualities that can be transferable to the position they’re hiring for.

    The second part of this question that asks why you enjoy this particular activity is crucial to have a complete answer. It gives the interviewer an idea as to what you appreciate and why you’re passionate about certain things.

    Example Answer

    One of my favorite hobbies outside of work is participating in improv classes and groups. I started doing it when I was in college, and I’ve found it to be a great activity ever since. I enjoy it because it gives me the opportunity to think outside the box and create with other people.

  10. How Do You Handle Stress and Pressure?

  11. Stress management is useful for most positions. A hiring manager asks questions about pressure in an interview because they want to see how sincere your answer will be and what techniques you use to deal with stress.

    How To Answer: Everybody gets stressed out in their career at some point. Feeling the pressure to do good work means that you care about your job, and that’s a positive quality. When you are asked a question about stress in an interview, be truthful.

    The interviewer is looking for answers as to how you cope with the inevitable pressure of working. Not that you never get stressed.

    Offer up solutions you use to manage your stress to leave an employer confident with your abilities.

    Examples of Stress Management Includes:

    • Time Management

    • Organization

    • Coordination

    • Strong Communication

    • Prioritizing

    Example Answer

    I manage stress and pressure by trying to view every challenge in the most logical way possible. I think that strong communication and time-management can greatly lessen daily stress, and utilize these tools to help me at work. If all else fails, I give myself the time to relax and reflect before getting back into finding a solution.

  12. Why Should We Hire You?

  13. This is one of the most popular interview questions out there for any job. It can be a little flustering to hear an interviewer ask why they should hire you without a little preparation. Take into consideration why you’re the best person for the position, and then modestly articulate this.
    How To Answer: This question will most likely come towards the end of the interview. You’ve probably gone over the bulk of your resume and the position responsibilities. When answering, be careful not to just restate everything that you’ve already covered.

    You want to confidently explain what makes you unique and valuable to their company. Avoid sounding too arrogant in your explanation. No matter how qualified you are, it’s difficult to get an interviewer to respond positively to a braggy attitude.

    Go into details about both the hard and soft skills you believe makes you a distinct candidate. It can also be constructive to add what drew you to their position in the first place. An employer remembers a candidate who is enthusiastic about the position they’re offering and their company.

    Example Answer

    Early in the interview, you mentioned that your dental office values fostering a sense of unity and teamwork on the staff. I believe that my seven years of administrative supervising background, coupled with my communication and delegation skills, will make me an ideal candidate for the role of office manager. I admire your organization’s values and think I would be a valuable member.

Additional Tips For Personality Interview Questions

  • Be Yourself. One of the key reasons an interview flows naturally is because the applicant isn’t trying to be anything they’re not. They’re straightforward about their strengths, honest about their weaknesses, and know how to answer a question to show the best possible version of themselves.

    You should adopt this mentality when you’re interviewing for a new job. Don’t try to act how you think the interviewer wants you to act. Be yourself, professionally of course.

  • Do Research. Since you’re reading this article right now, you’ve probably invested some time in researching common interview questions. This will most definitely put you ahead of the competition. Just reading common interview questions begins to form answers in your head.

    Doing a little research into the company you’re applying for will also show initiative and excitement about the prospect of being on the team. An interviewer will always remember a candidate who knows a lot about the organization.

  • Dress Accordingly. The first impression that you’ll make in an interview is your attire. You should dress casually, but also professionally. For particular jobs, there could be specific clothes that are appropriate.

    Dressing informally tells the interview that you didn’t care enough to prepare a proper outfit. Consider what you want the hiring manager’s first thoughts of you to be, before deciding on wearing a crop-top or sandals.

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