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How To Describe Your Personality at Interviews (With Examples)

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

How to answer personality interview questionsWhat to include in an answer to personality questionsWhat to avoid when answering personality questionsExamples of answers to personality questions

Guide Overview

Importance of knowing how to describe your personality during an interview

When applying for a job, the job description might focus more on professional skills and accomplishments, but most roles also have personality requirements. During and after the interview, how the interviewer perceives your personality can make the difference between getting the job or not. This article will discuss how to answer questions about your personality in an interview, what to include in an answer, things to avoid in your responses, and several example answers to help you practice.

How to answer personality interview questions

Here are strategies for creating convincing answers to questions about your personality during a job interview:

Brainstorm and identify your personal qualities

The first step to answer personality questions effectively is to identify your personal traits that qualify you for the role. Because personality traits are subjective, it can be difficult to identify your positive and negative attributes and how they apply to a role. Workplace personality quizzes can help you identify qualities that set you apart from other candidates.

You can also brainstorm and write down your best-selling points that make you an ideal fit for the role. After identifying the personality traits that qualify you for the role, think of how to demonstrate those qualities in an interview scenario to increase your chances of getting the role.

Research the company

Researching the culture, structure, and employee programs of a company can help you predict their personality interview questions. You can find a lot of information on the company’s About Us page, social media pages, and recruitment sites. Check out reviews of the company’s recruitment process and, if possible, ask their employees of what to expect at interview.

Study the job description carefully

Employers typically outline a list of soft and hard skills required for their position in the job description. Studying the job posting can help you identify relevant personality traits the employer wants to see in the ideal candidate. Once you can identify three key soft skills from the job description, try to infuse them into your answers and how they helped you perform your duties at previous roles.

Be authentic

Personality-related interview questions can be difficult to answer because they usually require you to provide real-life experiences to back up your claims. This makes it essential to be honest about your personal qualities. You don’t have to exaggerate or lie about your abilities; just try to portray your most relevant attributes in a way that interviewers can relate to the position. The more convincing your experiences, the better your chances of getting hiring managers to believe you have the right personality for their position.

Use third-party feedback to your advantage

Most personality questions help interviewers gauge how well you can work with other people. To make your answer more convincing, frame them in relation to your dealings with colleagues and other people. For example, you can emphasize your interpersonal skills by talking about how well you work in a team and the contributions your leadership skills made to the success of a large project. Discuss your relationship with former team members and managers and how your personal traits helped you work effectively and deliver on your job duties and responsibilities.

Choose your words carefully

The wording of your answers to personality questions can also help win over interviewers. For example, almost all employers value soft skills such as teamwork, integrity, adaptability, respect, and problem-solving skills. Identify the keywords of the core soft skills the employer wants candidates to possess and include them in your responses.

Discover real interview questions asked for thousands of job titles

What to include in an answer to personality questions

When answering personality questions at an interview, your responses should ideally include the following information:

Reasons why you’re the right fit for the company

Your answers to personality interview questions should emphasize that you will fit into the employer’s organization culture. In your response, use real-life examples to demonstrate your ability to work and deliver results in the company’s environment. To answer these questions effectively, research the company’s history, organizational structure, and culture. Check out its former employees, the traits it loves in its staff, products and services, and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Don’t forget to read the job postings to identify specific attributes relevant to the role.

Your positive attributes

When answering personality questions, it is better to focus on your strengths and downplay weaknesses. Doing this requires having an in-depth understanding of your personality and its relevance to the job requirements. Focus on your core attributes that can help you perform effectively if hired. If the hiring manager asks questions regarding your weaknesses, don’t lie, but frame your answer to reflect your readiness to step up and acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver results.

Action words that describe your personality

A suitable answer to a personality question should include strong words hiring managers want to hear. Some of these words include savvy, risk-taker, observant, energetic, creative, and organized. Others include courageous, honest, driven, result-oriented, positive, orderly, methodical, and adventurous, among others. If possible, research the words the employers likes to use to describe its employees and include them in your responses at the interview.

What to avoid when answering personality questions

Here are things to avoid when answering personality interview questions:

Irrelevant personal information

When answering personality interview questions, it is important to avoid mentioning personal information not relevant to the role. For example, when a hiring manager asks you to tell them about yourself, limit your answer to only job-specific professional information that can improve your chances of getting the role.

Negative personal qualities

While it is not advisable to lie about your personal qualities, you should also avoid talking about any unprofessional attributes. For example, when asked about integrity or honesty, your answer should not include instances where you were dishonest. Even if you have some less-than-desirable personal traits, your answer should demonstrate a commitment to become a better person.

Lengthy or boring answers

Keep your answers concise, interesting, and relevant to the job duties and responsibilities. Excessively long and uninteresting topics increases the risk of losing the interviewer’s attention. You may also go off topic if your answers are too long. For maximum impact, keep responses brief and to the point.

Examples of answers to personality questions

Here are examples of answers to personality interview questions:

Question: Tell me a little about yourself

My name is David. I live in Key Largo, Florida, where I have been working for the past five years in the automotive industry. I have extensive experience in automotive mechanics, automotive electronics, and HVAC systems. In the past four years, I have worked on several makes and models of vehicles, including the major American, Japanese, and German brands. I am confident my vast experience and technical skills in the industry makes me a perfect fit for your automotive technician position. 

Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself in a senior, more challenging role in the next five years. I am enrolled in three advanced certifications that will help me take on more specialized and demanding technical responsibilities. Already, I have a project management certification and I’m about to become a SCRUM Master. These skills and competencies will help me take on more management responsibilities and increase my contribution to the organization’s success. 

Question: How would your coworkers describe you?

Most of my coworkers and colleagues see me as a humble and supportive person. Somebody who can attest to this is David, my team leader for the last two years. He knows I will always support my team, even if I have to work extra time. On several occasions when we’ve had to beat a deadline or complete a job at short notice, David knows he can always count on me to deliver projects when due. 

Question: How do you manage the stress of this job?

Stress is an inevitable part of this job. I manage stress by looking at the brighter side of our work. We are affecting the lives of millions of people with our products and services. When I feel under pressure, I just go to our fan page on social media to check out what our customers are saying. That almost always lifts my spirits. I also take a short 15-minute walk to take my mind off work during the office break. That helps me unplug and refresh my energy.

Knowing how to describe your personality is an important determinant of your performance and success at interviews. Before going for interviews, it is essential to identify your personality traits, understand how they relate to the position, and practice using them in your responses to the interviewer’s questions.

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