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personality interview questionsMaybe we have all gone to the same school, taken all the same classes, passed all the same tests, and all have the same desirable skill set.  What is going to set us apart?  The only way that an interviewer or employer is going to figure this out is by thinking outside the box – and hoping that you can, too.  What is your superpower?  While you (hopefully) won’t be sporting a cape and tights during an interview, what the employer is trying to figure out is…who are you?  Who are you behind all these achievements, promises, and great track record that you have on paper?  Personality interview questions tell you about the person behind the resume, revealing the job candidate’s personality, strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, and skills.  An online course in how to prepare for an interview will give you the right type of preparation and insight into what to expect during you interview.  However, do not forget to think outside the box!

Why Personality Questions?

Even though it may not look that way, employers and human resource professionals have a purpose to asking crazy questions.  Basically, they want to see if you, the job candidate, can think on their feet.  Hiring managers are using these questions to go beyond the resume and find the better fit candidates for their organization.  The worst thing an interviewee can do is give is a short response with no explanation or say, ‘I don’t know.’

When answering tough questions like these, here are some things you can do:

Often it is not the content of your response to an odd question but how you respond to the question that is most important.

What’s Your Personality?

Practice makes perfect, so here are a few examples of personality interview questions that an employer might have up their sleeve.  Take notes and try to figure out how you would respond to each of these:

1. What concerns do you have about our company?

Strange question?  Not really.  Every company and every job has its challenges and potential downsides.  Employers want to hear that you will be willing to take their company to great heights.  Show that you are willing to share your concerns because you trust that the company values openness, honesty, and transparency.

2.  What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

Everyone makes tough decisions, including employers!  Great candidates make a decision based on data and on interpersonal considerations, because every important or meaningful decision, no matter how smart it looks on paper, eventually has an effect on and must be carried out by people.  A company at its core is made up of people.  Great employees weigh both sides of an issue, considering the “business” aspects as well as the human impact.

3.  Tell me about a time when you had to slog your way through a ton of work. How did you get through it?

Employers know that everyone has been on the grindstone.  Most people can slog through the drudgery because they have to.  The candidate they want to hire can take on a boring task, find the meaning in that task, and turn it into something they want to do.

4.  What were you doing the last time you looked at a clock and realized you had lost all track of time?

We do our best when a task does not feel like work but feels like what we are meant to do.  This can be called being, “in the zone” or “flow”, and all great people experience it.  This question shows your ability to commit passionately to a project or task.  These moments of high-creativity and high-productivity are often when the best ideas come.

5.  Describe a time you felt you were right but you still had to follow directions or guidelines.

Surprisingly, this question can be a great way to evaluate a candidate’s ability to follow and to lead.  Poor candidates find a way to get around the rules because they “know” they were right.  Great candidates did what needed to be done, stayed motivated and helped others stay motivated to get things done, too.  Good leaders are able to debate and argue behind closed doors and then fully support a decision in public, even if they disagree with that decision.  No employee agrees with every decision, but what matters is how you react and perform when you may not agree.

6.  What book do you think everyone should read?

If you cannot think of a single book to recommend to others, it is a warning sign.  Curiosity is a wonderful indicator of intellect and, oddly enough, modesty, because curious people are willing to admit they do not know everything and are then willing to work to learn what they do not know.

7.  Tell me about a time you felt company leadership was wrong. What did you do?

Employers want their employees to question perspectives or conclusions and ask, “Why?” and, sometimes, “Why not?”  Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it.

8.  What movie, no matter how many times you have seen it, do you have to watch when it is on?

A favorite movie can indicate a lot about a candidate’s personality.  The type of movie does not always matter; the question simply helps employers learn more about the person and not their skills.  It can often lead to a fun, engaging conversation.

9.  What would you most like to learn here that would help you in the future?

It is revealing for employers to figure out where you may they think they need help.

10.  Who is your role model, and why?

This question can reveal how introspective you are about your own personal and professional development.

11.  What’s your superpower or what’s your spirit animal?

This question can show how you work internally, even if you present a character on the outside.  For example, you can say you are a duck, because ducks are calm on the surface and hustling like crazy getting things done under the surface.

12.  Who is your role model, and why?

This question can reveal how introspective the candidate is about their own personal and professional development.  Also, it can show what attributes and behaviors the candidate aspires to.

Don’t Sweat!

Interviews are stressful, no doubt.  Here are some tips to help you be more effective on your big day!

Now, with that amazing personality of yours, you are prepared for any personality interview question, and ready to take on the world!

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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