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How to Answer Personality Interview Questions

Why are they asking you questions about your personality? The technical skills on your resume prove to the interviewer that you would be a great match for the role. Now you need to stand out from other applicants who have skills similar to yours. Personality interview questions give you the opportunity to explain your goals, work ethic, and ability to work with others.

What are some of the common personality interview questions?

We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions in job interviews used to assess your personality. Our sample answers will give you some guidance on how to answer during your next job interview.

How would you describe yourself?

This is one of the most common interview questions, so you’re sure to be asked it as a personality interview question. Even if you know yourself, you need to think about how much of this information you want to share with your interviewer while presenting yourself in a positive light. Focus on your key strengths and give examples of when these qualities have helped you succeed. You can also use this to segue into what interests you about this position.

Sample answer: “I am a driven, ambitious person. I often take the initiative in seeking out new leads, which is why I was promoted to sales manager within two years of joining the department. This is what drew me to this position as I believe my perseverance and dynamism will broaden the scope of the role by introducing new business and revisiting clients that have taken their business elsewhere.” 

Do you work well in a team, or do you prefer to work alone? Why?

There’s really no right or wrong answer. Different jobs and projects require different levels of independence. Ideally, your interviewer wants to see that you can work both ways when challenged – alone or as part of a team. If your strengths lie with one, they want to know this to determine the best fit for the candidate if hired. Review the requirements for which you are applying and include them in your response.

Sample answer: “I have worked on large projects in the past that were broken down into individual projects. So I have experience with both approaches and know the pros and cons of each. I enjoyed brainstorming with my colleagues and making sure we all understood the big picture. But I also appreciated the opportunity to focus on the assignment delegated to me. It’s shown me I’m able to work in both situations.”

Your supervisor has asked you to perform a task that seems impossible. How would you go about completing it?

It’s not an easy question, so they’ll be looking for your ability to stay calm under pressure while responding coherently. If you cite a past experience in your answer, be sure to tangibly explain what you learned from it. 

Sample answer: “I’ve experienced a situation like that. I was six weeks away from completing a project when my supervisor told me that the client needed to bump the deadline up by two weeks. I met with the client to establish their flexibility in either reducing the parameters of the project or dedicating more resources to speed up the process. I then determined which activities urgently needed to be fast-tracked and which could be cut short. I also made sure any changes were correctly incorporated to prevent a negative knock-on effect. While the final product did not match the projected result, the client was still happy with what we managed to achieve within the new time constraints.”

Tell me about a situation when you filled in for someone. How did you feel about that experience, and were you successful?

When explaining a scenario, it’s best to use the STAR format. Describe the Situation you were in and clarify what the Task involved. Disclose the Actions you took, and the Results yielded. Highlight how you managed to stay on track with your own duties while prioritizing the company’s needs.

Sample answer: “Having had contact with someone with COVID, my co-worker was forced to isolate. It was up to me to take over his duties. Initially, I felt overwhelmed. I arranged an online meeting with my supervisor and my colleague to decide what tasks my colleague could perform remotely and which matters were the most urgent. I was able to realign my schedule to fulfill both our commitments.”

If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be and for what reason?

This is another way of asking, “What are your weaknesses?” Your answer should show that you know what areas you can improve on and what developmental steps you’re taking. Name one shortcoming that isn’t an essential requirement for your prospective role.

Sample answer: “Because of my position as a desk-bound administrator, I don’t often get the opportunity to speak publicly or present in front of large groups. The thought of it makes me feel nervous and intimidated. So to answer your question, I would change my fear of public speaking. I have already taken some steps by attending seminars and participating in coaching sessions.”

Are you ready for your interview?

Don’t reel off answers – make your responses intriguing enough to pique your interviewer’s interest. Show passion and enthusiasm for the job opportunity without exaggerating your achievements. But mostly, show them what makes you a unique fit for the position.

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