Why Interviewers Ask Personality Questions and How to Answer Them

We have all been there. You’re sitting through an interview answering questions about your background, education, and job experience like a pro. You are thinking nothing could shake your confidence until the interviewer asks a personality question. All of a sudden you’re not reflecting on facts and figures but on facets of yourself that you may not have been prepared to discuss. You’re off your game and the interviewer is expecting something dynamic – how do you react? How do you answer personality questions in a job interview?

We have compiled the top all-too-common interview questions. Follow these tips and ensure your interviewer’s next question will be “when can you start?”

Question: What’s your story? Tell me about yourself.

What They’re Really Asking: How do you feel about yourself? What do you value? What can you offer us? Have you solved our kind of problems before?
How to Respond
: It is important to remember why you’re there – to establish yourself as the best person to fulfill a need for the company.
Example: I chose to pursue an education in finance because I always connected to numbers. I joined a business fraternity at my school and became passionate in applying my love of numbers to the corporate world. In the last five years, I have worked in asset management at XYZ Corp. and I am now ready to bring my balance of expertise and leadership to a managerial role. That’s what brings me here.

Question: What is your greatest strength?

What They’re Really Asking: What traits do you value and see as an asset to this role? Are you humble?
How to Respond:
Absolutely exude humility, but be honest and provide a clear picture of your top-performing qualities. Be sure the strength you’re highlighting is relevant to the role.
Colleagues identify me as the innovator. I like to take a problem such as a lack of strategy or a break in the flow of a project and reimagine it. I guess I have a knack for seeing things from many perspectives.

Question: How would you describe your leadership style?

What They’re Really Asking: How do you collaborate? How do you view leadership? Have you been a leader before?
How to Respond:
Express yourself and speak to real-life examples or offer a role-playing situation of how you would be if you lack the experience to reflect on.
In my role as lead engineer in Milwaukee, I guided my team of 10 engineers with a balance of clear expectations and flexibility toward the approach. My belief is that associates perform better if given the space to achieve results in their own ways.

Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?

What They’re Really Asking: Are you ambitious? Will you leave this company or field soon?
How to Respond:
Assuage concerns that you are a flight risk while avoiding implications that you’re comfortable with a plateau. Talk less about where you’ll be and more about how you’ll get there.
In five years, I aim to be directing the regional sales team, having earned a promotion by demonstrating top-level sales and presenting trailblazing strategies for lead conversion.

Next time you’re mid-interview and wonder “how should I answer this interview question?” consider the following:

  • Keep your answers relevant;
  • Address the needs of the company;
  • Be honest and results-driven; and
  • Provide examples.

By following this advice, you will approach any interview question with confidence and preparedness. To land a job in finance, sales, or IT, search for jobs with The Reserves Network today!

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