1. Personal interview questions and answers
    1. If you could be an animal for a day, who would you want to be, and why?
    2. Can you tell us some of your strengths and weaknesses?
    3. Are you a team player? Or a lone wolf?
    4. What are you passionate about?
    5. How do you separate your professional life from personal?
    6. What is more important to you? salary or work-life balance?
    7. What was the last book that you read?
    8. Which person has inspired you the most, and why?
    9. Are you better at planning or implementing?
    10. Do you agree that continuous upskilling and gaining knowledge is important?
    11. Tell us about a time when things didn’t work out for you as planned?
    12. How do your friends describe you?
    13. How do you deal with criticism?
    14. What is motivates you to do a good job?
    15. Do you have siblings? What do they do?
  2. Extra questions
  3. Personal interview tips

Job interviews can be exciting for many, but most job seekers end up feeling overwhelmed and anxious by the gut-wrenching interview blues.

It is in times like these that the saying, “Practice makes a man perfect” seems fit.

The question you need to ask yourself then is, is your preparation full-proof?

Even when you have practiced answering all kinds of interview questions, your preparation is incomplete unless you prepare to answer questions about yourself, a.k.a the personal interview questions.

Personal interview questions is how the recruiters assess your ethics, personality, and cultural fit for the company.

Read on as we discuss the top 15 personal interview questions and answers with tips to help you cover all bases to ace your next big interview.

Let’s get started!

Personal interview questions and answers

1. If you could be an animal for a day, who would you want to be, and why?

This question may seem irrelevant, but it is one of the most commonly asked personal interview questions.

The strangeness of the question can put any jobseeker on the spot, and the answer you choose and how you justify it reflects your wit and ability to think on your feet.

The good thing is that there are no wrong answers to this question. However, it is always best if your answer matches the position you are applying to.

Here are some animals and reasons to choose them.


Ideal for those applying for positions that depend on teamwork as dolphins are social enigmas of the sea.

They communicate with their friends, making them a smart species.


There is nothing that can go wrong with this answer.

They can be wild yet friendly, kind yet fierce, and if there is one thing everyone knows, it is that dogs are loyal.

Using Dog as an answer can apply to any position as it gives you a wide range of qualities to talk about.


If you are all about strength and pride, moose is the answer to this personal interview question for you.


With a head held high, Giraffes can see farther than other animals.

This answer is ideal for positions where you need to see the big picture, especially in roles where future measures are decided based on prediction and in-hand observations.


If you are someone who would climb the highest mountains to find answers, this is the right choice of animal for you.

Sample answer

If there is any animal I can relate to, it has to be Giraffes.

Just like a giraffe, I’m always looking ahead, and I try to know what is happening around me everywhere.

It is a great benefit for me as this quality helps me determine the future course of action for the company with a head start like nobody else.

2. Can you tell us some of your strengths and weaknesses?

The best way to answer this question is to talk about a strength that reflects your work ethics and a weakness that has nothing to do with it.


Let’s follow a step-by-step method.

  1. Make a list of 5 relevant weaknesses and strengths
  2. Match all of these with the job description at hand
  3. Identify the strengths that best compliment the position (eliminate the rest)
  4. Identify a weakness that is a part of your personality but does not affect your position (eliminate the rest)

Sample answer

One of my greatest strengths is that I’m a smart worker with attention to detail.

This not only helps me perform efficiently but also leaves little room for escalations.

As for my weaknesses, I feel one of the things I need to work on is my impatience.

From waiting for food in a restaurant to completing projects before the deadline, it is my impatience that keeps me restless all the time.

3. Are you a team player? Or a lone wolf?

The answer to this personal interview question depends on the position offered and the company you are interviewing for.

If you are required to be a team player, then there is just one answer, but if not, you can be honest.

Either way, we highly recommend that you answer to reflect that you are comfortable with both situations.

It shows that you are a dynamic person who can be flexible.

Sample answer

I have always been a people person, so I’m like working together and collaborating with people.

Although, if needed, I can be a lone wolf too and still ace my job!

4. What are you passionate about?

This is a frequently asked personal interview question as it allows the recruiters to understand where your interests lie.

It gives more depth to your character and helps the interviewer assess your nature.

It is your opportunity to talk about yourself.

To answer this question, talk about a hobby or activity that you follow.

Discuss it in detail and talk about how you pursue it.

Sample answer

There are quite a few things that I’m passionate about, but I think the one that makes me happy is cooking.

I like to treat myself to food, and even after a hectic day, I’m never too tired to cook.

It helps me satiate hunger, and surprisingly, some of the best ideas I have had were in Kitchen.

5. How do you separate your professional life from personal?

This personal interview question is your opportunity to talk about how well you handle your work and manage to keep it out of your personal space.

Many people think that people who are always working are more dedicated and hence better employees.

But the truth is that an efficient employee completes their work within the set timeframe while sparing enough time to take care of their personal life as well.

Sample answer

There is a thin line between my professional and personal space. I just try not to cross it.

One rule that we have at home is that no phones are allowed near us while we have our meals.

Apart from that, I make sure to spare 2 hours for my well-being.

I use up this time to work out, catch up on any reading to do, or just spend quality time with my family.

I always have my laptop in case of an emergency, but I try to finish all my work before I log out, even if it takes an hour extra.

That way, my work stays at the office, and I get time for myself at home.

6. What is more important to you? salary or work-life balance?

With this personal interview question, interviewers assess your priorities in life.

There is no wrong answer here. Just choose whatever is more important to you and give reasons that support your answer.

Tip: If the position you are interviewing for is fast-paced and has no scope for work-life balance, you can say that money is more important.

You can also talk about how both of them are equally important if you feel that way.

You can read more about how to choose between salary and work-life balance to get some more clarity.

Sample answer

It is hard to choose between the two since both of them are the parameters on which I assess all opportunities.

Salary is the motivation to work, but without work-life balance, it gets difficult to have any personal life at all.

But if I have to pick one, I think I can see myself settling for a lesser raise, but work-life balance is crucial to me.

7. What was the last book that you read?

This is a simple yet impactful personal interview question.

The kind of books you read speaks volumes about you and can make a huge difference, especially if you are interviewing for a position where you must be well-read.

Choose to talk about a book you liked and talk about its genre, what it is about, and what do you think about it.

Sample answer

I read books of all genres, but I'm more inclined towards reading non-fiction books.

Lately, I have developed an interest in reading startup stories, and the book I most recently read was Connect the Dots by Rashmi Bansal.

The book has stories of 20 entrepreneurs that started their ventures driven by passion.

It was a good read, and it makes one think of all the things we can achieve if we decide.

8. Which person has inspired you the most, and why?

The people we idolize and follow reflect who we are and who we aspire to become.

This is probably why this personal interview question is the recruiter’s favorite.

You may choose to talk about celebrities or even people in your life.

Sample answer

Out of everyone, the person who has inspired me the most is Mr./Ms. (Name).

She was my manager at my first job, and I have to say this, I would be nowhere if it wasn’t for her.

She handheld me through my projects and taught me everything I know about this industry.

It is because of her mentoring that I could achieve so much, so for me, she is my role model.

9. Are you better at planning or implementing?

There are good planners, and then there are people who are not very good at planning but are pros when it comes to execution.

To answer this personal interview question, you have to analyze yourself on these 2 parameters.

Also, tailor your answer to the position you are interviewing for as you will have to go with planning if that is one of the key skills of your job description or otherwise.

You can talk about one these ae strengths but we suggest that don't let the other come off as a weakness.

Sample answer

I like to believe that I’m good with both of them.

But honestly, I feel that I’m better at implementing strategies than planning them.

I have been in an on-field position, first for market research, and now to push sales.

I have always been the go-getter, and while I have made the strategies now and then, the execution part is where I shine.

10. Do you agree that continuous upskilling and gaining knowledge is important?

There is only one right answer to this personal interview question, and that is “Yes”!

Upskilling is the only way to make working efficient and simple.

Sample answers

Yes! Constant upskilling is our answer to “How to use the upgraded technology in this fast-paced world”.

It allows me to do my job more efficiently and keeps me in the loop with the technology used in the office for upskilling.

11. Tell us about a time when things didn’t work out for you as planned?

It may not seem personal at all, but it is a very effective personal interview question to be asked in an interview.

To answer this question, talk about the time when you had to cope with failure even after you planned everything didn’t happen like it.

Knowing how a candidate reacts to such situations is crucial for recruiters to understand your leadership qualities.

Choose a recent incident to show relevance and discuss it in detail.

Include the expected result, the result you got, and the steps you took for damage control and coping.

Sample answer

About 10 months ago, I requested my supervisor to let me handle this new project that our company got all on my own.

I was to take care of the marketing campaign for the XYZ company.

The goal was to make their product launch the biggest success they had ever had.

I thought I could do it all on my own, only to be short on manpower 2 weeks later.

As soon as I realized my judgment error, I made a plan and got in touch with my supervisor, who then let me take help from other team members.

I still led the campaign, but I didn’t have to do it all by myself in the first place.

12. How do your friends describe you?

It may surprise you, but this is one of the most frequently asked personal interview questions.

Through this, the interviewers try to understand your personality outside the work premises to determine the kind of person you are.

Even though they will not contact your friends to re-confirm your answer, you must give this a good thought.

Many people, when faced with this question, find themselves in a tough spot as it is hard to describe yourself, especially from someone else’s perspective.

Sample answer

I have 3 close friends, and if I were to look at me from their point of view, I think they would describe me as a funny, reliable, and versatile person.

13. How do you deal with criticism?

Criticism never comes easy to anyone. This is why it is one of the most difficult personal interview questions in an interviewer's book.

To tackle this question, talk about an incident where you handled criticism well as an example, preferably something from outside your workplace.

This will reflect sincerity and will ensure the recruiter that you are capable of having your head on your shoulders even when being criticized.

You can also talk about the steps taken by you to work on the shortcoming for which you received criticism.

It shows you are open to positive feedback and can handle it coming from the workplace.

Sample answer

Just like everyone, I too find criticism very underwhelming. But I also believe that without it, there would not be much growth and that it is essential to move forward.

When I receive criticism of any kind, I make it a point to listen to the problem, and if I’m at fault, take full responsibility for my mistakes.

This happened a couple of months ago when I was working on a growth strategy for one of our upcoming projects.

That is when someone pointed out to me that I don’t include one of the parameters, which impacts the results to quite an extent.

We spent the next 4 hours figuring out its relevance to the project, and once I realized it is crucial to the project, I redid the entire plan and apologized for the inconvenience I caused.

14. What is motivates you to do a good job?

It is a recurring personal interview question that helps the interviewer gauge if hiring you is the right choice.

The things that motivate you can speak volumes about your personality. So, discuss what motivates you to keep going.

Sample answer

The one thing that motivates me the most is the feeling of success and accomplishment at the end of the day.

Nothing motivates me more than knowing that I did something worth my time, and got recognition for it.

This feeling keeps me going at it and I work harder every day to feel this way.

15. Do you have siblings? What do they do?

Surprised to see this question? So was I when I was first asked this in an interview.

Talking about your siblings convey where you are coming from, and what kind of atmosphere you have back home.

There is no sample answer here. Just talk about how many siblings you have, or if you are a single child, and discuss their profession with the recruiter.

Extra questions

Here are some extra personal interview questions for you!

  1. What are your career goals?
  2. What is your greatest weakness?
  3. What is your greatest strength?
  4. Do you have any questions for me?
  5. How to describe yourself in one word?
  6. How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
  7. What is your greatest achievement?
  8. Tell me about yourself
  9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  10. What is your dream job?

Personal interview tips

  1. Tailor your answer based on company research
  2. Answer honestly. Do not fabricate facts
  3. Practice answering interview questions in front of a mirror to observe your facial expressions
  4. Practice verbal and non-verbal communication
  5. Bring about self-awareness with a personality test
  6. Even though there are no right and wrong answers here, match your responses to the position you have applied for

We hope with these 15 unique personal interview questions and answers and tips, you are now ready to face this aspect of interview preparation and make a long-lasting impression.

All the best!

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