We can always learn how to operate a machine, serve a customer, manage a team of people, or attend the garden. But once you have a wrong personality for the job, you will never excel in it, regardless of your abilities. Simply because personality doesn’t change easily, especially in adults. This is the main reason why hiring managers and interviewers try to understand your personality in the interviews. In fact, truly skilled interviewers do not have to ask you about your personality–they have the capacity to assess your character quite accurately after talking to you for thirty minutes, and putting you under some pressure with their questions. So why do they actually ask about it?
First of all, not every interviewer knows what they are doing. Just like in any other profession, you have people who do a better job, and people who suck at it (relatively speaking). That’s why you may get some questions that do not make much sense. And secondly, some hiring managers are interested in your perception of yourself. They make their picture of your character in the interviews, and wonder whether your description fits the picture they made…
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers now. Below the answers I continue my analysis of the question, explaining how to avoid mistakes many people do while trying to impress the hiring managers, and walk away with a new employment agreement. Do not forget to check it out as well.
7 sample answers to “How would you describe your personality?” interview question
- I would characterize it as kind and altruistic, always ready to help someone. People generally enjoy my company, and I enjoy company of other people. I’ve always felt an inner calling to help, to do something for others, and it is also one of the reasons why I picked social work for my studies, and try now to get a job as a case manager. Of course, my personality has also some weaknesses. I can get emotional easily, when confronted with extreme suffering or inequality around me, and this is something I actually have to work on, because I know I will be confronted with such scenes in my new job.
- I would describe myself as honest, driven, and energetic individual, always up for the next challenge. Of course, this does sometimes backfire, because I have a tendency to take on excessive workload, and then I struggle to meet the deadlines, or can even feel overworked (despite my high energy levels). In any case, there is always room for improvement, and I hope my personality can be a good fit for the job in your company.
- I would characterize my personality with three words: Analytical, creative, and organized. I thrive when working with data and numbers, and rarely make mistakes. It is the main reason why I chose my field of study, and why I try to get a job of a Financial Analyst with you. Because I feel it is a good match for my personality. Of course, I am not perfect, and sometimes my personality makes it hard for me to thrive in personal relationships. But I do what I can, and can assure you that I will try my best to have good relationships with my colleagues at work.
- More than anything else, I would say my personality is still evolving. Sure enough, I like to manage things and have the last word, but I am also learning to be more receptive to the needs and wishes of others, and to their feedback. It is a work in progress, but I know it matters, and I definitely believe that we can change our personality in every age, at least to some extent. I do what I can to become a better manager…
- I would characterize myself as an innovative risk-taker, who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. Because I believe that no process is perfect, and we can always achieve better results. Of course, I may sometimes fail to find the right solution, and will not always manage to make something better. But it does not discourage me from trying, and I believe this is the right personality for any work in process management and engineering. Would you agree with that?
- Excellent listener with endless patience and empathy. Or at least that’s what I aspire to achieve as a teacher. At the moment I am well on my way, dealing successfully with challenges I face in the classroom, and managing to achieve progress even with the most problematic students. Of course, I sometimes lose my temper, because I am just a woman and have better and worse days. But I guess it is something I have to learn to live with, while trying to become the best teacher I can be.
- Team-oriented, open minded, transparent. And I believe the people I led in my former jobs would agree with the description. I try to be a manager people aren’t afraid to talk to, and share their feedback with, a manager people know what to expect from, and an open-minded leader who isn’t afraid of implementing new ideas at work, trying to achieve better results. Having said that, I have my weaknesses and things I have to work on, just like everyone else. But I believe that I have a fitting personality for leading a team of creative and ambitious people, and I am sure I will find such people in your company….
Interview is a sales talk in which you should admit some weaknesses
You have one goal in an interview: to walk away with a new employment contract. But it would a mistake to think that you should try to depict yourself in the best possible light, as a perfect manager, analyst, engineer, teacher, waitress, or whatever job you are applying for. Hiring managers know that perfect employees do not exist, and that each of us has some weaknesses.
When characterizing your personality in the interview, I suggest you to focus primarily on characteristics that should help you in your new job. This changes from one job to another, as you can see on my list of sample answers. And certain characteristics are always good–such as being positive, a great listener, or well-organized at work…
Beside such personality traits, however, I suggest you to point out one weakness, or at least an area you can improve on, in order to become better in what you do. That’s the attitude interviewers seek in the very best job candidates. They want to hire people who are confident in their ability to handle the job, but at the same time aware of their limitations, and always striving to improve.
* Special Tip: This isn’t the most difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, solving problems, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 50 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
Job description can help you find the right words to describe your personality
Many job applicants struggle to find the right “power words“. They struggle to pick the expressions to describe their personality in the meaningful way in the interviews. And though I suggest you to avoid some hyped-up expressions, and speak in a “normal language” instead, you can definitely check the job description to find some words to use in your answer.
Different companies write different job descriptions, but you will always find some desired personality traits in “qualifications”, “desired skills”, “basic requirements” or similar section on their job ads. Check it out if you aren’t sure what to say after everything you’ve read in this article.
What you say should correspond with what they experience in the interviews
Let me explain this one with an example situation. Imagine that you interrupt the interviewers a few times, in the middle of the question. Then a couple of times you ask them to repeat what they were inquiring about, in the middle of your answer, having already forgotten their entire question. And then, when they inquire about your personality, you characterize yourself as a great listener.
Such an answer would be in a stark contrast with their perception in the interview with you. And it would cost you your chances of getting the job. Because once they start doubting the authenticity of your answers, there is no way back… Keep it on your mind. Be realistic about your personality, and do not try to present yourself as someone you are not. It is much better admitting some weakness you have (one they can observe in the interviews), and ensuring them you try your best to improve on it, than talking about some strengths you fail to demonstrate with your demeanor and interview answers…
Ready to answer this tricky question? I hope so! Do not forget to check sample answers to other interview questions though:
- How would you describe your communication style?
- How would you describe your management style?
- What is your greatest fear in life?