It seems like a terrifying possibility, but yes interviewers have a list of question used to gauge your personality. Here are some of those questions.
The contemporary world of hiring is a dynamic and constantly changing one. Not even a decade ago academic and professional credentials weighed heavy on the hiring manager’s scale, but today a diverse set of interpersonal skills, personal experiences and potential for growth also factor into the employers decision to hire a candidate.
According to a Business Insider article, a hiring manager might prefer a potential employee with less experience, if they feel that they are a better cultural fit for the company and exhibit a stronger ability to adapt and go.
The problem is that educational and professional credentials and qualification are easy to assess, they are usually conveniently bullet-pointed for you on the candidate’s resume. What is harder to gauge are the relatively abstract qualities of a propensity for growth and cultural fit. Some of these questions might seem asinine like If you were an animal, what animal would you be? But each question has a purpose. The animal question I mentioned above, helps the hiring manager gauge creativity and quick problem solving skills, two characteristics which can be used to solve a diverse set of business problems.
Let’s take a look at the personality questions you might encounter during an interview and why these questions are asked. Since these are personality questions, there are no black and white responses, but knowing them will help you prepare answers that suit your personality the best.
If there was one thing you would change about the how you approach challenges, what would that be?
This question can assess a number of the candidate’s personality traits. First, something many employers look for is humility because humility shows someone that can self-critique which in turn shows a person that needs and pursues personal growth. It also shows an individual that is self-aware; able to know both their abilities and deficiencies. This type of individual is more likely to ask for help when they need it thus avoid a potential loss of productivity. Much like other questions on this list, it also tests the person’s ability to answer and perform under pressure.
What motivates you in your personal life?
Although straight forward, this question is crucial to see if the candidate’s personal motivations coincide and overlap with the company culture and the organization’s values. If the candidate reveals themselves to be fiercely competitive, by participating in amateur cycling races, then they might not be a good fit for a company that promotes interdepartmental and interpersonal collaborations to accomplish company goals.
Someone that is fiercely competitive will most likely disrupt workflow and potentially hurt productivity. On the other hand, if the company is a competitive workplace, like a sales or trading floor, then this employee will not only be an asset they will most likely fit in with the other competitive employees.
What are your hobbies?
This might sound a little personal, and it’s usually asked in conjunction with the previous question, but knowing what your hobbies are can reveal a lot about your passions and motivations. I will give you a painfully obvious example to illustrate: say one of your programmers likes to coach his children’s sports team in his/her free time. This would be a strong indication that the individual being interviewed, also has strong interpersonal skills, as they not only have to deal with the children, they also probably need to deal with parents or even administrators if the team plays for a school. Beyond that, you can also discern that this individual has strategic planning skills, abilities developed while coaching a sports team.
Have you ever played on a team? What position did you play?
This can reveal if the candidate is a team player, works better individually or if they are used to being the star of the show. For example, the Strikers or Centre-Forward players in football (or soccer for our N. American friends) are playmakers, the type of people that set up the play and frequently score goals, meaning they would be good as leaders and maybe not ideal as subordinates.
On the other hand if someone was a defender player, regardless of sport, then they are accustomed to supporting their team, these types of individuals will do well in support roles. There is a caveat, though, these individuals may also be gifted leaders, as most of their ‘athletic’ life was spent watching plays happen, and anticipating the actions of others.
What historical figure or celebrity do your admire and why?
There are many things that you can learn from the people a person admires. The most obvious indicator is when someone admires a person of questionable morals, or that is an actual villain, like Lex Luthor. Sure he was a very competent business person, but he also wanted to take over the world, unbridled ambition isn’t the healthiest thing for any organization, except maybe a megalomaniacal one from a comic book.
If your professional priorities change, how would you bring your team up to speed?
This question is more likely to show up towards the end of the interview, and might be an indication that the interviewer is interested, but wants to see if you can imagine yourself as a manager. It will also test your decision making and leadership skills. Furthermore, this question can also test your honesty. If in this hypothetical scenario you choose only to give your team members partial truths, or maybe even decide not to inform them at all, under the premise that it isn’t information that is pertinent to their job, then you just committed a pretty significant interview question mistake.
Did you manage to Have any lasting relationships at your previous place of employment?
A great indicator of high emotional intelligence is the ability to create new and lasting relationships with the people around you. Creating relationships at work is crucial to effective communication, high morale and even productivity.
A year from now, we are celebrating in this very room. What is the achievement we are celebrating?
This is a multi-tiered question that can give the interviewer a slew of information. First, it helps the interviewer figure out if the candidate has done their research on the company. The ideal answer will mention some of the values, ideals and goals that the company prides itself on. But, that is just the first part. The interviewer can also discern if the person he is interviewing, is a team player or an individualist, judging by the language he/she chooses.
If the candidate’s response is heavy with “I” “mine” etc. then this is a strong indication that they will not work well in a team and might take the credit for other team members work. On the other hand, if the candidate uses collective language as in “we” “us” and so on, plus his response includes a goal that would be an actual goal set by the company then they might just have a great employee on your hands.
Are you a hiring manager that uses interview questions to gauge a candidate’s personality? Let us know in the comment section below. Have you taken an interview with these type of questions and gotten the job? We would love to hear about your experience!