6 Key Personal Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published June 18, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
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Being and looking confident and professional during a job interview may depend on how prepared you are and how honest you're planning to be. Practising answers to potential questions a hiring manager might ask you in a formal meeting can help you recall your previous job experiences, structure your thoughts, and reflect on your personal presentation. Knowing how to answer key questions you may receive during job interviews may help you find your dream job. In this article, we explore six personal interview questions with sample answers and review tips you can use to be more confident during these meetings.
6 key personal interview questions
Here are six personal interview questions you can use to practise your answers:
1. Why do you want to work here?
Hiring managers can ask you this question to understand what you know about the company. It's beneficial to conduct thorough research of the organization, including its structure and major operations. It's also crucial to show your knowledge of the company's vision, objectives, product or services, and position in the market, as this can demonstrate your interest in learning more about your potential workplace. This is an excellent opportunity to explain how the firm can benefit from your skill set and how you can grow professionally there. Here's an example of an answer:
Example: “I think this is the best place to use my skill set and contribute to the company in maintaining its leadership within the industry. I've been following the firm's development for the last three years and I've noticed how its sales have been rising and its production units expanding their operations. Also, as this company is leading the industry in Ontario, I can advance my career here and grow professionally. Because my values align perfectly with the organization's vision and principles, I think I can be an asset and a valuable team member to this company.”
2. What are your greatest strengths and weakness?
This question aims to evaluate your ability to assess your own qualities, which contributes to how you can improve your performance and advance in your career. Before answering, it's crucial to research the position you're applying for, as employers usually include in their job postings the specific characteristics they're expecting. Evaluate how yours align with those the hiring manager is looking for and centre your answer on your strengths and what you're doing to overcome your weakness. Here's an example of how you can answer this question:
Example: “My greatest strength is my ability to lead a team to achieve its best potential and help each team member reach higher productivity levels. I usually do this by creating an enjoyable and professional work environment, giving my team the required resources to perform their activities, and developing innovative strategies to attain the company's goals. I recognize that I can be impatient sometimes, but to solve this issue, I've been working on prioritizing my daily activities so I can address urgent and important matters and discard unimportant, time-consuming tasks.”
3. Can you describe what motivates you?
Hiring managers may ask you this question to better understand you and evaluate if you are a good fit for the company and team culture. It's crucial to be honest when answering this question, so try to reflect on this matter before attending the job interview. Common job elements that motivate employees are new challenges, working toward a goal, being part of a team, growing professionally, or acquiring new technical skills. Here's an example of how you can answer this question:
Example: “Working toward a goal is my primary motivation, as achieving an objective usually encourages me to use my full potential and help my colleagues do the same. It's very exciting working as a team, sharing insights and experiences that provide you with different perspectives, and watching how professionals with different backgrounds tackle the same issue.”
4. What does the company gain by hiring you?
Hiring managers may ask this question to give you an opportunity to explain how you can apply your most relevant skills and knowledge to the role. It's beneficial to give a concise answer that highlights your uniqueness, which means underlining your skills, accomplishments, proficiency, and experience. You can use an example from your previous position where you help improve the company's performance in terms of revenue, brand awareness, cost reduction, or customer service. Here's an example of how you can answer this question:
Example: “For this specific position, I have the leadership abilities and the proficiency in IT security the company is requiring. I have strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills, which are essential for the position you're offering because they allow you to create effective security systems across the organization. During the last year in my previous job, I implemented IT security programs to protect the company's data, which prevented several cyberattacks throughout the organization and increased the employees' access to databases by 90%. By hiring me, the company can have the same professional commitment and technical focus to protect its information.”
5. How do you cope with stress at the workplace?
This question aims to evaluate if you understand how stressful situations affect your professional and personal life and how you usually answer during those moments. To answer this question, it's important to be honest in terms of how you've managed those events, and recognize that you've felt stress on more than one occasion. It's also a good idea to use an experience from your previous position, identify the skill or strengths you used to manage the situation, and highlight the positive outcome. Here's an example of how you can answer this question:
Example: “I think everyone experiences stress during their lives and the way they handle it determines how it can affect them. When I feel stressed at work, I usually stop what I'm doing for 10 minutes and reflect on what's pressuring me or making me feel uncomfortable. If the problem involves a colleague, I always make sure to talk about the problem with them. If the source involves a deadline, I use 10 additional minutes to refocus and centre my mindset on completing the work. This method has given me great results and excellent relationships with my coworkers.”
6. What role do you like to play in a team?
Hiring managers can ask you this question to explore how you understand the roles within a team, what has been your role in previous jobs, and if you perform better in small or big teams. For you, it's beneficial to elaborate your answer by highlighting your highest role in any previous job, explaining your overall understanding of that role, and underlining the different people that were part of your team. Working with team members with dissimilar backgrounds can help you emphasize your adaptability. Here's an example of how you can answer this question:
Example: “I've worked as a manager, supervisor, analyst, assistant, and intern, and at each position, I've always considered myself a team member. I like to lead a team because I have the experience, skills, and technical knowledge to do it, but I also understand that to be able to lead, it's necessary to learn from experience. In my previous job as marketing manager, I always took responsibility for the team errors, but I recognized each colleague's effort when the team achieved a goal.”
Tips for being confident in a job interview
Here are four tips you can use to increase your confidence during a job interview:
Arrive prepared: Practising several times your answers, choosing the best examples, and refreshing events and experiences you had in previous jobs can make you feel more confident. It's also important to know details about the job you're applying for and the company that's offering the position.
Listen to the interviewer: Listening to the questions is vital if you want to provide a thoughtful answer. Make sure to cover all the subjects included in the interviewer's question and provide concise answers.
Practise your body language: Keeping eye contact, having a good posture, and knowing what to do with your hands during a job interview can increase your confidence and eligibility. To do this, it can be helpful to practise with a friend, colleague, or family member.
Arrive with a positive mindset: To demonstrate your skills and proficiency is necessary to be calm and positive, as this can help you enjoy the interview and fully understand the hiring manager's expectations. To do this, it's a good idea to visualize yourself as a current employee who's discussing how you can contribute to improving a project.
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