7 Personality Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 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.

During an interview, the hiring manager may ask you questions about your personality to better understand who you are and how you approach situations. To answer them, you can be honest about your traits and describe previous experiences where your personality helped you. If you're interviewing for positions, learning more about personality interview questions and the best way to answer them can help you prepare. In this article, we provide seven interview questions and sample answers about personality to help you practise.

7 personality interview questions with sample answers

Interviewers may ask questions about your personality to get to know you and determine if you're an ideal candidate for the position. These are the answers to some common interview questions about personality:

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. To answer, consider choosing an element of your personality that you can strive to improve. It's also helpful to choose a trait related to your professional performance. Be sure to describe the positive steps you can take to improve this trait or identifying 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 it can communicate calmness, which is a trait that has a positive influence on my co-workers. I'm very committed to my work and put a lot of care into it, and I'm becoming more aware of how my facial expressions may be misunderstood."

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 use it as an opportunity to focus on the elements of your personality that allow you to solve problems, like critical thinking and intelligence. You can show the hiring manager how you manage stress and work through it by choosing a previous situation that highlights your perseverance, dedication and decision-making skills. To structure your answer, you can use the STAR method, in which you describe the situation, task, action and results.

Example: "When I was serving at The Country Pub, I once dropped a meal on the kitchen floor during a busy Friday night. I first apologised 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 with 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?

Your answer to this question can tell the employer a lot about your social skills, including collaboration, teamwork and leadership. You can develop qualities, such as independent work ethic, dedication and strong decision making can in your personal life, and use them in a professional setting. You can emphasise the positive aspects of your personality in your answer by choosing a hobby that utilises the skills reflected in the job description, and explain how those skills can help you succeed in the role.

Example: "I organise and operate 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 use my organisational skills and planning abilities to determine which books to read each year, develop prompts and questions based on the meetings, distribute group surveys and plan meetings. I enjoy organising and taking part in the book club because it gives me an opportunity to use my analytical skills in a creative setting. As a store manager, I show the same level of dedication and leadership."

4. Can you tell me about a time when you went above and beyond in your job?

The hiring manager may ask you this question to determine if your personality is conducive to hard work and efficiency. This question allows you to explain how you measure success and shows your dedication to the workplace. To answer, you can describe a past scenario that highlights your ambition and commitment to producing quality work. Structuring your answer using the STAR method can allow you to form a response that's clear and concise.

Example: "As a receptionist at Healing Yoga, my job was to greet clients and sign them into classes. Sometimes 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. Afterwards, the students thanked me for the extra attention I gave them."

5. What motivates you in your professional life?

Different personalities receive motivation through different sources, and the hiring manager may ask you this question to determine if you fit within their workplace. For example, the hiring manager may seek a candidate who is independent and internally motivated. To answer, you can provide examples of the things that motivate you to perform well in your professional life.

Example: "As a writer, it's always been important to me that each piece I craft is better than the last. Each article I write is more concise and effective than the last, and that's what motivates me. I thrive on improvement and diligently track my performance according to metrics I have control over. This may include wordiness, grammar, spelling, minor mistakes and personal satisfaction. I consult my career goals when making decisions and return to them when I need additional motivation."

6. What makes you unique?

The hiring manager may pose this question to learn more about you, as it may prompt you to offer information they can't collect from your resume or traditional interview questions. Your answer is an opportunity to communicate to the interviewer your value. Rather than focusing on a single quality, consider choosing two or three qualities that create an interesting combination. This gives you a better chance of highlighting the unique skills that set you apart from other job candidates.

Example: "As a multi-lingual professional with degrees in both engineering and fashion design, I've refined elements from all areas of my life to create a unique professional value. I care deeply about communication and collaboration, which is why I studied multiple languages in college. I also rely on the practical and analytical skills from my engineering background when designing fashion pieces. I believe that scientific and mathematical knowledge is what allows me to create clothing that defies gravity and provides elevated performance. I combine function and fashion to produce creative pieces that work for everyday people."

7. How do you feel about change? How do you manage it?

Your ability to handle change is part of your personality, and how you feel about it can communicate to the hiring manager how you may perform in the workplace. Change is a necessary aspect of improvement, and many interviewers seek candidates who are enthusiastic about consistent improvement. To answer, be honest about your strategies for managing change and offer an example of a time you had to manage change in your own life. Again, you can use the STAR method to structure your answer and detail the positive results you achieved.

Example: "I used to be very wary of change, but I've grown since then. In college, I was certain I was going to go to law school. Most of the women in my family were lawyers and had gone to law school as and I wanted to live up to the family legacy. I didn't enjoy my studies or my classes, except for my dance elective. I was a competitive dancer in high school but didn't have time for it during my undergraduate studies while I was preparing for law school.

I finished my dance class one day and just decided I was going to become a dancer rather than a lawyer. It was at that moment I realised change was the best gift I could give myself. Since then, I always look for ways to change and improve my life. I also developed a strategy for managing change at work."

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