Personality interview questions allow candidates to demonstrate their suitability for a company's culture. After learning about your hard skills and qualifications, a hiring manager may want to determine what soft skills you have and how your personality can contribute to the job's responsibilities.
Interviewers may ask personality questions to understand a candidate's work habits, collaboration strategies and interests outside of work. You can use these questions to discuss you to make a strong impression and showcase what makes you a uniquely qualified candidate.
In this article, we answer some commonly asked personality interview questions to help you prepare your own effective answers.
Personality interview questions with sample answers
Here are some common personality interview questions with their example responses to help you craft your own. In your responses, be sure to use personal stories from past work experiences to demonstrate your skills in the workplace.
- If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be?
- Tell me about a stressful scenario in the past and how you handled it.
- What hobbies or sports are you involved with outside of work, and why do you enjoy them?
- Can you tell me about a time when you went above and beyond in your job?
- What drives you in your professional life?
- What makes you unique?
- Describe a time when you dealt with change.
1. If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be?
Hiring managers ask this question to determine your level of self-awareness and how open you are to self-improvement. Consider choosing an element of your personality that could be improved and help you better perform this job. Be sure to describe how you're working to improve this trait or finding ways to use it to your advantage.
Example: "My facial expressions can sometimes appear aloof, which some may misunderstand as me not being engaged in a conversation or task. However, this aloofness has proven useful in times of stress because of how calm I seem, a trait that has a positive influence on my coworkers. I can assure you that I'm very committed to my work and put a lot of care into it. But I am becoming more aware of how my facial expressions may be misunderstood and changing to ensure I convey my engagement."
2. Can you tell me about a stressful scenario in the past and how you handled it?
This question aims to determine if you can remain calm under pressure and still complete your job responsibilities effectively. You can show the hiring manager the ways that you manage stress and work through it. Choose a previous situation that highlights your perseverance, dedication, decision-making and quick critical thinking skills.
Example: "**When I was waitressing at The Country Pub, I once dropped a meal on the kitchen floor during a Friday night dinner rush. I first apologized to the Sous Chef, who immediately put a rush on the replacement order. I then told my manager what happened and asked if there was anything we could do for the diners. He agreed to let me offer free drinks while they waited. I finally let my table know that there would be a slight delay with their entrees and provided them a free round of cocktails.
I didn't let the accident affect my mood, and I paid extra attention to the table for the rest of the night."
3. What hobbies or sports are you involved with outside of work, and why do you enjoy them?
This question can tell the employer a lot about your social skills, including collaboration, teamwork and leadership. Qualities such as independent work ethic, dedication and strong decision making can all be developed in your personal life and put into action in a professional setting. In your answer, choose a hobby that utilizes the skills reflected in the job description, and explain how those skills can help you succeed in the role.
Example: "I organize and run a small book club held every Saturday afternoon. Now in its fifth year, this passion of mine has allowed me to practice strong leadership and delegation skills. I can talk in front of a group with confidence and composure and nurture a positive environment for everyone to contribute their ideas. I will show just as much dedication in my role as your Store Supervisor and even more so as an effective leader."
4. Can you tell me about a time when you went above and beyond in your job?
This question allows you to explain how you measure success and show your dedication to the workplace. Choose a past scenario that highlights your ambition and commitment to producing quality work.
Example: "As a receptionist at Healing Yoga, my job was to greet clients and sign them into classes. There were times when yoga students came in late, some of whom were nervous about entering the class after it had begun. I assisted these late comers by providing them with a mat and a towel and showing them to the class. I frequently accompanied students into the class and placed their mats on the floor, helping them set up without disrupting the other students or the yoga instructor. Afterward, the students thanked me for the extra attention I gave them."
5. What drives you in your professional life?
You can use this question to explain the kinds of work environments you thrive in. This question may also be asked as “What motivates you?” or "What makes you love coming into work?"
In your answer, consider identifying some of the elements of this role's work setting that help you excel or that you enjoy. It could be strict deadlines or positive coworkers, but whatever the reason, be sure to use an example to demonstrate how your work environment helps you achieve work goals.
Example: "I enjoy coming up with creative ideas and finding new angles to challenging projects. I'm also motivated by other people and their reactions to what I have to say. It helps me develop my ideas and offer better solutions.
During my role as a Lifestyle Writer for Bespoke City, I thrived off the brainstorming sessions that we held with other writers. I'd leave the meetings full of energy and with a renewed interest in the project. These meetings fueled my productivity levels and helped generate new ideas. After the meetings, I'd find myself coming up with even more ideas, which I would email to my coworkers."
6. What makes you unique?
This question can enable you to highlight the skills and characteristics that you appreciate about yourself. You can choose traits that apply to the job you're applying for as well as set you apart from other candidates.
Example: "I feel that my strong attention to detail and the ability to pick out inconsistencies will bring tremendous value to my role as your Copy Editor. This position requires a keen eye to be able to edit large amounts of content regularly. Not only will this ability benefit my next job, but it has proved useful in previous jobs as well.
During my role as a Blog Manager for Nutrient Dense, I identified a spelling error in a vitamin brand's ingredient on the company website. It turned out that all the writers were misspelling the ingredient because that was simply the way it was spelled on the vitamin bottle. My boss notified the vitamin company and thanked me for taking the extra time to spellcheck blog content, particularly the content that previous editors assumed was correct."
Read More: Interview Question: "What Makes You Unique?"
7. Describe a time when you dealt with change.
This question is your opportunity to demonstrate the ways you're able to adapt and be flexible in the workplace. You can express how you view change as an opportunity for growth. Even if you didn't like a particular change within your workplace, it would be beneficial to highlight your ability to work regardless of the unexpected.
Example: "I like to embrace change with a positive attitude and view it mostly as a way to improve. At my previous job where I was a waitress, we had a change in management, and the individual who replaced my previous manager was much younger and less experienced. It was certainly different for me to view this individual in her new role, but I took steps to make her job transition as seamless as possible. I even helped train her on our restaurant's procedures, and she taught me how to streamline some of my processes."
Here are some additional tips to help you prepare for and succeed in an interview:
Rehearse your answers
Practice your answers by reading them out loud either in front of a mirror or to a friend. When practicing for your interview, try to memorize the intention of your answers and the general story to sound more conversational. Saying them in this manner allows you to make improvements and practice your mannerisms.
Select specific experiences
Use the STAR method to describe a specific situation, explain the task you had to do, outline the actions you took and the results you achieved. These steps allow you to formulate answers clearly and concisely that demonstrate your skills in action.
Be aware of your body language
Try to keep your hands folded on your lap and relax your body. This can help you both feel and appear calmer and more confident.