56 Personal Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When in an interview, employers may ask you personal questions to learn more about you. These questions may help employers understand your motivations for pursuing a specific position, your work ethic and professional experience. Learning about personal questions may help you prepare to answer them in interviews. In this article, we provide lists of general personal interview questions, questions about experience and background and in-depth personal questions you may hear and provide some example answers to help you prepare.

General personal interview questions

Here's a list of some general personal interview questions:

  • What's your favourite colour and why?

  • Why do you want to work for this company?

  • Where did you grow up, and how has it shaped who you are now?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • What inspired you to choose this career?

  • Who are your role models?

  • What was the last book you read, and why did you choose it?

  • What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?

  • How do you deal with stress and pressure ?

  • Why did you apply for this position?

  • What are you looking for in a company culture?

  • When did you decide what you wanted to do as a career?

  • Why did you choose your field of study?

  • What do you like best about working in this industry?

  • What appealed to you about our company?

  • How do take initiative?

  • How are work relationships with your previous employer?

  • How do you talk about your work with your coworkers?

  • How would you describe yourself in three words?

  • Describe your ideal weekend.

  • What do you like to do in your spare time?

  • What's your favourite movie?

Related: 10 Questions to Ask an Interviewee (With Example Answers)

Personal questions about background and experience

Here are some personal questions that employers may ask you about your background and experience:

  • How would you describe your work ethic?

  • What's your management style?

  • What are some of your greatest accomplishments?

  • When were you most satisfied professionally, and why?

  • What are you looking for in a job or a company?

  • How do you handle a difficult situation?

  • Why did you leave your last role?

  • What's the most difficult thing that has ever happened to you at work and how did you overcome it?

  • What do you think about diversity and inclusion initiatives?

  • What did you like and dislike about your last job?

  • How would your previous colleagues describe you?

  • What are your long-term career goals?

  • Why are you looking to change jobs?

  • What's the most important quality that employers look for in a job candidate?

  • How do you handle criticism and confrontation with coworkers and supervisors?

Related: 10 Video Interview Tips to Help Make a Good Impression

In-depth personal interview questions

In-depth questions, or behavioural questions, are common in interviews for any role. They help the hiring manager understand more about your experience and how you behave in workplace situations. Here are some in-depth interview questions that employers may ask:

  • Describe an instance in which you demonstrated leadership or initiative.

  • What kinds of problems have you faced, and how did you handle them?

  • Describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision or take a risk.

  • Describe a time when something happened at work that made you feel happy, proud or satisfied.

  • Give an example from your past that demonstrates motivation and initiative on your part.

  • What is the most challenging obstacle you've overcome?

  • How do you react in a crisis?

  • What do you like best about working at your current job or place of employment?

  • Describe a situation when there wasn't enough work for you to do. How did you handle it?

  • How would others describe your leadership style?

  • What was the last job that made you feel confident and happy about your career prospects?

  • Give an example of a time when a coworker complimented your work performance.

  • Tell me about a situation when someone's lack of cooperation was a problem for you at work.

  • What do you consider as your greatest professional achievement so far?

Related: 13 Competency-Based Interview Questions and How to Prepare

Using the STAR method to answer interview questions

Answering interview questions effectively involves summarising your most relevant skills, knowledge and experience. To provide concise responses that convey your strengths and how you can apply them in your new role, you can use the STAR method. This four-part framework helps you structure your answers. STAR stands for:

  • Situation: Provide context for the story you're about to tell.

  • Task: Explain what you needed to do and your specific role if you were working as part of a team.

  • Action: Describe how you completed the task and the skills and experience you used to succeed.

  • Result: Highlight the outcome and how it positively affected the company, team or your performance.

Personal interview questions and example answers

Here are interview questions, with sample answers you can use as a reference when preparing your own:

1. Tell me about yourself

This is where you give what's known as your "elevator pitch." It's a quick summary of your knowledge, skills and who you are. This is a great place to list two to three accomplishments that you want the interviewer to know about. Finish your answer with how those experiences prepared you for this particular role. Be sure to discuss your education and work history, and explain how they've contributed to your success.

Example: "I recently graduated from university, where I studied advertising. While in school, I completed an internship and made the Dean's List every semester. Other than my internships, I worked as a waitress part-time while finishing my degree."

Related: 14 Tips to Succeed and Mistakes to Avoid in a Zoom Interview

2. What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?

Provide relevant strengths and irrelevant weaknesses. Try listing three strengths and two weaknesses. These questions can be what influence the interviewer's decision to hire, so try to come up with unique answers that are relevant to the industry.

Example: "I'm an effective communicator, detail-oriented and very hard-working. As for my weaknesses, I sometimes find myself being too empathetic, and wanting to help my coworkers with their challenges, which can sometimes lead to me taking on more work than usual. In those situations I always prioritise my own tasks."

3. Why did you leave your last job?

Always remain positive when discussing your previous role. You can share reasons like wanting to look for better opportunities or wanting to grow professionally. Discuss it in a way that highlights why the job you're applying for is a better fit for you.

Example: "I decided to leave my previous role because I wanted to pursue something more challenging. I had progressed to a point where there were no more career advancement opportunities, and I want to continue to develop professionally. I would love to gain more experience in this industry, and I know I can achieve that here."

4. What kind of compensation are you looking for?

Salary discussions are common in an interview, so it's best to arrive prepared. You can research the role and what comparative companies are paying employees to ensure you suggest a fair and realistic salary. Once you have a range in mind, you can start with the highest number and say that you're open to negotiating. You can also discuss any specific skills, certifications or experience that make you

Example: "Based on my research about the role and my level of experience, I believe $400,000 is a fair annual salary. My master's degree in accounting prepared me with an advanced understanding of essential principles that I can apply in this role. I'm also working towards becoming a Certified Public Accountant, which I believe makes me a valuable candidate. I'm open to discussing this further to negotiate."

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Employers value candidates with ambition and commitment to their careers. Exhibiting this in your interview can make you appear as an organised and capable professional who's interested in working hard to advance their career. Try incorporating that you'd like to have more responsibilities in a company that values you, your skills and your input. If there's a specific role within the company you're applying for that you'd like to advance to, you can include that in your answer to show your ambition and career goals.

Example: "In five years, I hope to be established as an art director at an advertising agency. This company has an excellent reputation and is renowned for its international advertising strategies, and I believe can become an excellent art director with the skills and experience I can gain with this company. Hopefully, I'll have opportunities to lead some creative projects and one day advance to the role of an art director."

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