Interview Questions

17 Personality Interview Questions

By Mike Baumgarten

Last updated: Apr 18, 2023

    Table of contents

Personality questions help to show a candidate’s creativity, goals, and aspirations. In this article, you’ll find 17 personality questions to ask candidates.

A job interview should show who a candidate is and whether they’re a good fit for a role. A great way to achieve this is to determine how a candidate will contribute to a company’s culture and whether their unique personality will help the company succeed. That’s where personality interview questions come in.

As an interviewer, you need a selection of personal questions to ask — and as a candidate, you should consider how to answer them.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What are personality interview questions?
  • 17 personality interview questions to ask candidates
  • How to ask and assess personality interview questions

Let’s get into it.

What are personality interview questions?

You’ve probably guessed it — personality interview questions are questions related to a candidate’s personality. Similarly to behavioral and situational interview questions, personality questions help the interviewer assess whether a candidate is a good culture add for the company.

However, where the two other types of questions focus on behaviors and responses to hypothetical situations and scenarios, personality questions are more about testing candidates’ soft skills and getting a sense of who they are as people — inside and outside the workplace.

Personality interview questions can help reveal elements such as:

  • Creativity
  • Work ethic
  • Team spirit
  • Confidence
  • Self-awareness
  • Openness to criticism
  • Goals and aspirations

As a recruiter, asking personality questions during your interviews helps you to compare candidates with similar hard skills and identify the ones who will positively contribute to our company culture.

17 personality interview questions to ask candidates

Personality interview questions aren’t the easiest to come up with on the fly. If you’re an interviewer, it’s a best practice to determine the questions you’ll ask candidates ahead of time. Not only does this show that you’re professional – it also allows you to keep the questions consistent for all candidates, helping you to evaluate different candidates fairly.

If you’re a candidate, you’ve no way of knowing for certain what personality questions you’ll be asked. Still, it’s a good idea to prepare for the interview by studying up on different questions and considering how you might answer them. This helps you avoid being caught off guard when the interviewer asks you to talk about and reflect on your various personality traits.

With that in mind, here’s our list of 17 personality questions to ask candidates during interviews:

  1. What makes you unique?
  2. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  3. Why are you the right person for this job?
  4. Name three defining characteristics about yourself.
  5. What drives you in your professional life?
  6. Do you prefer working on your own or in a team? Why?
  7. How would your current/past colleagues describe you?
  8. What do you think your current/last manager would say about you?
  9. If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be and why?
  10. Name one professional goal and one personal goal you’ve achieved.
  11. What achievement are you most proud of and why?
  12. How do you handle stress at work?
  13. How do you feel when someone interrupts you during a task?
  14. What is your greatest fear?
  15. Tell me about a person who inspires you. What about them is aspirational?
  16. What are you most passionate about?
  17. What are your hobbies and interests outside of work? What do you enjoy about them?

How to ask and assess personality interview questions

It’s one thing to know what questions to ask – it’s another to know how to ask those questions and assess the answers candidates give. To help you prepare for the interview, here are a few tips on how to ask the right questions and assess candidates’ answers:

  • Don’t rely on icebreakers. It’s always good to have a few icebreakers on hand — but don’t rely on them too much. Questions like, “What’s your favorite movie?” or, “Which book did you read last?” might be good icebreakers, but can lead to bias since they aim to establish a personal connection unrelated to the job you are hiring for.
  • Keep your questions professional. There’s a difference between personality questions and questions of a personal or private nature. Questions about things such as a candidate’s age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or plans to (or not to) have children are inappropriate, illegal, and should not be asked during the interview. Learn more about what not to ask here.
  • Don’t look for your new best friend. Personality questions help you get to know candidates better, but they aren’t about making friends. Don’t just look for someone who is similar to you or to the rest of the team — be open to talent who can bring something new to the table and be a real culture add to your company
  • Be wary of candidates with extremely low or high self-esteem. If a candidate struggles to answer questions about their biggest professional or personal achievements, they may lack experience or have very low confidence. On the other hand, candidates who exaggerate their accomplishments may be dishonest or too self-centered to work well in a team. In both of these cases, it’s important to remember the job you are hiring for and what’s required. Someone with low confidence may not do well if the role requires a lot of stakeholder management. Someone who is self-centered may not do well if the role requires a lot of collaboration.
  • Look for a good employee — not a workaholic. A hard worker may sound like the dream employee. But if a candidate is a workaholic who has no interests outside of work, they might burn out or make mistakes due to stress. Look for a candidate who has things outside of work that matter to them. They might be more likely to do a great job without running themselves into the ground.

The ORG helps
you hire great

Free to use – try today