Are You Asking Your Interview Candidates These 5 Personality-Revealing Questions?

As an employer, your employees are the backbone of your business. Each individual contributes something unique to the operation – so if you’re treating each interview candidate to the same tired list of questions, you might not be getting the insights you need to ensure that they’re the right fit.

When determining a candidate’s personality and how they’ll affect the dynamic of your existing team, it’s important to gauge their self-awareness, their motivations, and how they view themselves in the context of a work environment. These five questions may seem unorthodox – however, they’re sure to provide some revealing answers!

1. “If you asked one of your closest friends to describe you, what would they say?”

Chances are that your interviewee won’t have this information on hand – however, it’s a great way to learn about how they believe others view them, and more importantly, how they view themselves.

2. “Tell me about a recent experience where you felt successful.”

Everyone has a different definition of success. This open question allows the candidate to share what they consider to be a job well done and indicate what makes them feel satisfied with their work. The trick is to get them to open up to freely explore what instilled that sense of accomplishment and what their motivators are.

3. “If you could pick anyone in the world to be your mentor, who would you choose and why?”

This question allows the candidate to step out of “professional mode” and discuss who they are outside of the workplace. Depending on who they choose, it may reveal what their interests and hobbies are, their aspirations, and what they generally value in people.

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4. “What is your biggest pet peeve?”

Unlike the commonly asked “what is your biggest weakness” question, this inquiry delves more into daily stressors or annoyances that your candidate may run into. This may involve some probing to get an honest answer, but it can save you a lot of time – for example, you may learn that an applicant becomes easily frustrated when dealing with rude customers and would not be a great fit as a server. Uncovering this information can quickly help you determine whether to move forward or pass on the candidate.

5. “If you were an animal, what would you be and why?”

Many candidates will get caught off guard with this question, and it may take them a few moments to come up with an answer. Their response will require introspective thinking and a bit of creativity, but it may provide you with some great insights on how they perceive themselves as an individual and what they feel their most prominent qualities are.

Is it time to ditch canned interview questions? HigherMe is a fantastic source for top talent in your area. Find out how you can get started – connect with us at or visit our Applicant Tracking System page!

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