interview tips
Apr 8, 2015 — TrackFive

“Cultural Fit”: How to Find Good Personality in Job Interviews

No matter what job an employer is hiring for, there’s one hugely important attribute that needs to be considers—-PERSONALITY. Sure, their work experience may sound perfectly on target, their resume may have blown the other applicants out of the water, and maybe they had a 4.0 GPA at an ivy-league university—but that’s not going to do your organization any good if they turn out to be unreliable and lazy (or tell god-awful sexist jokes at the water cooler) when they actually get hired.

Skip the prolonged torture for both parties when you discover your newly-hired candidate is just not a good fit by first analyzing who they are when you first meet them. After all, if it’s not going to work out, then it’s a major waste of time and money anyway. According to Forbes, 88% of employers are looking for that “cultural fit” over skills in the next employee they add to their team. Therefore, these personality-geared interview questions are more relevant than ever.

The top 5 traits to look for are professionalism, high-energy, confidence, self-monitoring, and intellectual curiosity (in descending order of importance.)

Types of Questions to Learn About a Person’s Personality:

  • What are your hobbies? This can really express whether a person is high-energy, creative, laid-back, etc. It’s a good way to tell if they will actually enjoy the tasks of the particular job they are hiring for. Are they applying for a sales job, but don’t seem to enjoy meeting new people? Then their personality might fit in a less socially-geared position, for example.
  • Do they have any pets? This can show if they have a compassionate or adventurous side. Plus, according to a poll, “cat people” are 25 percent more likely to consider George Harrison as their favorite Beatle. (And really…..what kind of weirdo says George Harrison is their favorite???)
  • What is the last book you’ve read/favorite book or author? Asking about the type of literature someone enjoys can read a lot into the type of person you’re considering. And really, some “favorite books” can be major red flags.
  • What would your biggest enemy say about you? There’s no right or wrong answer—but it can kind of help show the character of that person like whether they seem trustworthy enough to talk about their flaws. This question could be translated into “Are you aware of your own weaknesses – and how to work around them?
  • Who is your role model and why? The people that inspire an individual can say more about themselves than they can. People that we look up to and aspire to be can be a pretty clear indicator of values, goals, and passions. But even more than “who”, but “why” their role model is who it is can play a giant role in deciphering a person’s true motives and work behavior. 
  • What things do you not like doing? Work is work for a reason. You wouldn’t get paid if it all was fun and games. Within any job, there’s a thing or two that just isn’t very enjoyable for most people. This can answer if 1. They are honest. 2. If they will work for a particular role.
  • So, what’s your story? Asking a totally free and open question like this at the start of the interview can be a great jumping-off point. Plus, it can really show how fast on their feet an applicant can be.

And some examples of “oddball interview questions” from Glassdoor:

  • If you were to get rid of one state in the US, which would it be and why? – Forrester Research
  • A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here? – Clark Construction Group
  • What songs best describes your work ethic? – Dell
  • What do you think about when you are alone in your car? – Gallup
  • Can you say: ’Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper’ and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time? – MasterCard
  • If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us? – Trader Joe’s
  • Pick two celebrities to be your parents. – Urban Outfitters
  • What kitchen utensil would you be? –
  • On a scale from one to ten, rate me as an interviewer.- Kraft Foods
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