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How to Assess Someone’s Personality in an Interview

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Hiring new employees is not an easy task. While most hiring managers can see the skills and experience in the resume, they cannot assess personality through it. 

That’s where interviews come into use, and hiring managers can ask candidates questions that reflect their personalities. 

Several companies are looking for employees that are motivated, flexible, and also hard-working. Though the resume is not enough to judge that, the interview process assesses it to some extent. 

Are you a hiring manager or a candidate looking for a job? You are at the right place. 

Keep reading to learn about why personality questions are important and how to avoid giving a negative impression. 

What do the personality questions indicate? 

Asking detailed personality questions in the interview helps the hiring manager gauge a candidate’s openness to criticism, flexibility, aspiration, team spirit, and work ethic. 

Asking these questions helps to hire creative and innovative thinkers. It also facilitates the recruiters to find the best candidate from people with the same hard skills. 

Some companies use personality tests but do not give reliable results to judge a candidate’s personality. In fact, these tests can be very vague and ask generic questions from the candidates without giving them the opportunity to give sound reasoning.

Asking structured questions 

It is harder to have an interviewer bias when you ask the same questions from all candidates. Hence, your interview should be structured. 

Plan seven to eight structured questions for the interview that identifies every candidate’s personality. Then proceed to rate their answers using a quantitative scale. 

That helps to reduce any human error and bias in the interview process. 

Behavioural questions 

Include behavioral and knowledge-revealing questions in the interview. 

Use past behaviour indicator questions to judge how they have been in their previous workplace. 

You would want to know their ability to be a team player while cooperating with their members, how agreeable they are in the workplace, and the skills they currently hone. 

As a hiring manager, you will use these questions to understand candidates’ ability to meet deadlines and know their previous work track record. 

Judging whether their personality meets your company’s spirit and criteria will be easier. 

Therefore, behaviour-based questions indicate past behavior that helps recruiters and hiring managers make informed decisions about hiring a new employee. 

What personality questions are asked in an interview? 

Avoid any weird questions in the interview. Stay professional while asking strategic questions that represent their personality. 

  1. Tell me about an experience where you had to fill in for someone else’s work/shift. How did you manage? What did you learn? Were you successful? 
  2. Let’s discuss a time when your boss didn’t like your work. How did you proceed to handle it and make changes?
  3. If you were given a tough task by your manager that you deem impossible, how would you go about it? 
  4. Let’s talk about any time you missed a deadline or almost did, how did you feel?
  5. What do you like to be the most passionate and motivated about?
  6. Do you indulge in any activities apart from work? 
  7. What is the one thing you would want to change in your personality? 

Knowing red flags 

You will find the best candidate in the interview, but you should be wary of the red flags that are not good for your company. These people will talk much more than they will work. 

Some of them may show no passion or enthusiasm at all. A lack of passion results in low energy in work; hence, these workers lag behind their team. 

Besides passion, having low or too high self-esteem is also problematic. An interviewer may ask about a candidate’s biggest professional success.

If they are confused while answering this, either they have low self-esteem or lack experience. Both of these will not be suitable for a senior-level role. 

Watching out for red flags

A person who gloats a lot about their success is probably exaggerating or unsuitable to work with a team. 

People who give inappropriate answers are a clear red flag. If they are joking too often, they are not taking the interview seriously. 

Generic answers are not ideal for any interview. If the interviewer asks about a skill but the answer is extremely generic, that indicates they may not possess or know about the skill as much. 

People who focus too much on work and lack any focus on anything besides it may contribute to a toxic workplace environment. 

What should be the right approach for asking questions? 

People can be really stressed out in interviews. Therefore, give them leeway if they are not answering appropriately right away. 

Excellent candidates will always stand out due to memorable answers. Hence, consider the candidates that have already left a strong impression. 

While personality is important, it is not the only factor to consider for a role. Your first impressions may not be the best assessment of someone’s personality, so choose the most suitable candidate with the fitting soft and hard skills.

Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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