What Those Personality Interview Questions Really All About?

Job interviews are almost always stressful, but your anxiety can rocket to never-before-seen levels when you don’t know the right answer to a question. That’s often the case with personality questions and psychological testing, because you don’t know what the interviewer is looking for. Sure, you can make a guess at the type of person who would typically succeed in the job you want, but maybe the hiring manager is trying to balance out a team. Or maybe they’ve had conflict working with a particular personality type in the past and are trying to avoid a repeat. You can never be sure exactly what the right answer is, but here are a few interview tips that can help.

Be honest.

You may be able to fake your way through a question when you know what the right answer is, but in this case, you just don’t know – even if you think you do. Instead of trying to game a personality test question, just answer it honestly. If it’s really that important to success in the job, you might find yourself very unhappy even if you could bluff your way through. Need to boost your resume experience this summer? Add some more job training to gain those skills, so there’s no need to exaggerate. 

But not too honest.

This is not the time to describe your pet peeves or the type of person who drives you nuts. Saying anything overtly negative is a great way to talk yourself right out of a job. Keep it honest but neutral. Keep any suggestion of judgment out of your answer.

Keep it real.

Avoid the meaningless phrases everybody else says: “I’m a hard worker;” “I’m a great team-player;” “I love a challenge;” etc. Those answers are so overused that they don’t mean anything, and using them isn’t going to impress anyone. Instead, be specific. Instead of saying, “I’m a hard worker,” say, “I’ve never missed a deadline, even if I had to put in extra hours.”

Be confident.

Self-awareness is a critical component of career success, so you don’t want to have to think about your answer for too long. You should know yourself well enough to answer this question quickly and confidently. Besides, who’s going to tell you you’re wrong? When it comes to what makes you tick, you’re the unrivaled expert.

A lot of employers use personality test questions, so be prepared. Take the time to think through some possible answers so that you won’t be scrambling for something to say in the middle of an interview.

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