Blog, Interview Skills

The Purpose of Creative Personality Questions in Job Interviews

What are creative personality questions, and why are they valuable to employers looking to find the best applicants? As a candidate, you will encounter multiple lines of questioning during interviews, but with the proper preparation, you can learn the formula for a well-structured answer. However, personality-based questions allow interviewees to be fully candid, giving employers the opportunity to bypass rehearsed answers and gauge a more accurate reading of their candidate’s character. 

Traditional interview questions can be problematic for several reasons. They often promote a contrived and overly formal environment, making finding the balance between letting the employer know who you are and upholding a base level of professionalism difficult. Moreover, competency-based questions — a type of questioning designed to test how you would behave in certain workplace scenarios — aren’t always the best indicators of who you are because you can learn how to respond in a standard way. As an example, a question like, “Tell me about yourself,” is actually interview-speak for, “Please reel off a quick summary of your resume so we can see how effectively you condense and relay relevant information.” Personality-based questions aren’t designed to see how well you can navigate interview jargon, but rather they permit you to be honest. 

As the job market is saturated and competitive, creative personality questions have inherited a more significant role. While it may feel next to impossible to make yourself stand out on paper, especially when you’re up against competition that exists predominantly online, early-stage personality-based questions are an opportunity to make yourself heard and help employers pick viable candidates from high volumes of applications. Thus, in many ways, personality-related questions are a candidate and employer’s only shared ally.

Furthermore, personality-based questions create space for interviewers to put a positive spin on a high-pressure scenario. Instead of leading the interviewee down a path of negatively spun questioning like, “Why are you leaving your current position?” which is likely to kick-start a slew of complaints, they might ask, “What are you going to miss about your old job?” Just a simple re-wording, and the candidate is encouraged to be honest and therefore much more likely to reveal valuable information that can be used to judge whether they are a good fit for the company culture. 

Finally, as a candidate, it’s easy to forget you’re not the only one feeling the pressure and that interviews are a two-way street. When the time comes, utilise the opportunity to ask questions. The interviewers have taken the time to get to know you, so it’s mutually beneficial to do the same. Inquire about the company culture and your interviewer’s personal experience with it. Probe into the upward mobility of the role you’re interviewing for and let it be known that your motives for asking such questions are personal and professional growth. After all, it’s just as much about getting to know them as it is them getting to know you.

Rachel Goodman | Contributing Writer