7 Interview Questions to Get to Know a Candidate’s Personality

7 Interview Questions to Get to Know a Candidate’s Personality

When you’re conducting an interview, do you ever wonder if you’re getting a true insight into a candidate’s personality?

The feelings of anxiety and pressure can often make top professionals come across as robotic.

For your business, this is a real problem.

You and your employees have to potentially spend most days with the chosen candidate, so it helps to get to know the real them. Otherwise, it can impact staff morale and make things very awkward.

To help you find the right professional with a personality which fits your company’s work culture, here are seven personality interview questions for you to try out.

What qualities do you like the most and least in your parents?

If you want to cut straight to the point, taking the approach of the former CEO of records-management company Iron Mountain, Bob Brennan, is certainly the way to go.

The idea of this question is to get to know how a candidate will act once they’re settled in a job.

You see, people don’t always like certain traits in their parents and by highlighting these in their answers, you’ll usually notice that they do the complete opposite in normal situations.

For example, if they say that their parents are quite controlling, it might suggest that the candidate is more relaxed in the way that they manage employees and certain projects.

It’s then up to you to decide whether these attributes suit your work culture.  

Describe how you’d make money from an ice-cream stand in your local park on a rainy day?

Most busy parks will have competitors supplying ice-cream either in or just outside of the grounds.

Plus, with the rainy British weather to combat, it makes this task even more challenging.

This personality interview question is a test of how a candidate practically goes about selling and whether they can think on their feet or not.

Answers will vary as the subject of the question is so ambiguous.

This not only makes each of your interviews less repetitive, but it allows the candidate to showcase some of their personality too.

What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?

According to Business Insider, the CEO of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, Ashley Morris asks this personality interview question to all of his potential new employees.

While this might be quite a unique and crazy interview question, it’s ideal for adding a bit of fun into a very formal process.

“The hope is that for us, we’re going to find out who this person is on the inside and what’s really important to him or her, what his or her morals really are, and if he’ll fit on the cultural level”, Ashley Morris said.

There are a number of top answers here.

However, “protecting my family and dog” is a pretty good one as it demonstrates loyalty.

Or for any Shaun of the Dead fans, “head to the Winchester and wait for it all to blow over” is a funny example of a candidate showing their fun side.

What type of environment do you prefer to work in?

This next personality interview question can really help determine whether a candidate fits into the way that your business works.

So, if they prefer a traditional office environment with dividers between desks and you have quite an open space, it might suggest that a particular candidate may struggle to get involved with the group.

This question can also reveal exactly how to get the most out of a candidate too.

Providing you’re happy with the answer given, you can then bear this in mind and try to adapt the work environment for their first day to ensure they work to the best of their ability.

What’s your story?

Simple personality interview questions are extremely effective.

In particular, this one works tremendously.

The managing partner of Finn Partners, Richard Funess says:

“This insane question immediately puts an interviewee on the defensive because there is no right answer or wrong answer. But there is an answer.”

“It’s a question that asks for a creative response.

It’s an invitation to the candidate to play the game and see where it goes without worrying about the right answer.

By playing along, it tells me a lot about the character, imagination, and inventiveness of the person.”

Once you ask this, you’ll instantly learn a lot about a candidate and will be able to tailor a series of supplementary questions around their response.

It’s powerful stuff!

What are you most passionate about?

If you want to know what truly drives an individual, add this question to your list.

Ideally, you want a candidate who is honest.

While using the job spec to formulate a few elements of the response shows good preparation, it’s also important that a candidate opens up here.

As a hirer, you want to hear about their interests and passions which help get them out of bed every day.

What animal would you be and why?

This fun personality interview question will get the creative juices flowing and encourage the candidate to have a laugh.

Interviewing someone doesn’t have to be a drab affair.

Make it exciting and let them channel their wild side!  

The only way this question can backfire is if the candidate doesn’t respond or looks at you blankly.

On the other hand, if they choose a common pet like a cat or dog, this is arguably worse as it shows no imagination or creativity in their response.

Want some more inspiration?

If you need any further ideas on how to find the perfect new employee, you may find our previous articles useful:

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