Personality Questions for an Employer to Ask in an Interview

The personality of a potential employee can have a tremendous impact on his future success on the job.
The personality of a potential employee can have a tremendous impact on his future success on the job. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Employers may interview dozens of job candidates for one position before choosing one new employee. In many cases, potential employees may possess similar qualifications that it difficult for the employer to determine which candidate is the best one for the individual situation. Employers may choose to rely on instinct when choosing whom to hire, but this can be risky. A candidate who interviews well may turn out to be dishonest while the mediocre interviewee may have the potential to become a tremendous asset to the organization. To help identify the best candidate for a position, it is essential for employers to craft interview questions designed to provide insight into the personalities of each.


Individual employee personalities can have a tremendous impact on the overall culture of an organization. It is important for employers to ask personality questions throughout the recruitment process to identify those candidates whose personalities will provide the best fit with the organization. Successfully chosen employees are more likely to develop loyalty to the organization and become engaged employees. These factors all contribute to the overall job satisfaction of the individual employee, which then affects productivity and performance.

Open-Ended Questions

When interviewing potential new employees, it is important to ask open-ended questions, which require more than a simple yes or no answer. For example, the employer might ask what specific circumstances led the candidate to apply for this particular position. The candidate’s answer to this question can reveal a great deal about his personality if his reason for seeking new employee is due to problems with a previous employer. Questions such as, “How do you handle stress on the job?” or “How do you handle conflict with a co-worker?” may also reveal vital information about the candidate’s personality.

Personality-Specific Questions

Different varieties of personality-specific questions are appropriate for an employer to ask a job candidate. For example, one might ask the employee to describe her own personality to determine how the candidate perceives herself. The interviewer might also ask the candidate how her best friends, past co-workers, or previous supervisors would describe her personality to gauge how she interacts with others in varying situations. Other common personality questions might address such areas as personality strongest and weakest personality traits and areas in which the job candidate would like to improve.


Ask questions related to the mission of your organization. For example, you might read the organization’s mission statement and then ask the job candidate to explain what that mission means to him. This allows the employer to gauge not only whether the interviewee is capable of articulating the nature of the mission, but also how dedicated the job candidate may be to the organization’s mission. This is a common question used by religious or political organizations that wish to weed out candidates who may not subscribe to the organization’s particular belief system.

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