How to Answer Interview Questions About You

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Photo: Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

When an interviewer asks questions about you, he or she is trying to determine whether you’ll be a good fit for the company. Is your personality a match for the company culture? Are your goals and expectations a match for what your role in the company will be if you're hired? How would you fit in with the current team?

The best way to answer interview questions about yourself is to be honest. You are who you are. However, you also want to keep the company and the specific job in mind when you answer.

Read below for more specific tips on how to answer interview questions about yourself. Also see below for a list of the most common interview questions you'll be asked, and sample answers.

Tips for Answering Interview Questions About You

Every interview question about you requires a slightly different answer, but there are a few useful tips you can keep in mind whenever you are asked a question about yourself.

Honesty really is the best policy. Trying to present yourself as someone you're not may help you get a job offer, but it might not be the best idea in the long run. You need to consider whether the job would work out long-term if it's not a match for your personality and work style or for what you're seeking in your next position and your next employer.


Employers can often tell when an interviewee’s answers are insincere, so be genuine.

Be careful what you share. While you should be honest in the responses that you give, this doesn’t mean that you must provide information or details that might cast you in a bad light. Err on the side of being conservative in your responses, only alluding to character or personality traits that would contribute to your positive work performance in your career field. (If, for example, a candidate for a K-6 teaching job were asked what his favorite hobby was, his answer probably shouldn’t be, “Levelling up in ‘Mortal Kombat’”).

Demonstrate self-knowledge. It’s a sign of maturity when a candidate demonstrates that they have given thought to their personal strengths and weaknesses with the goal of self-improvement. Many of these questions are intended to assess your degree of self-knowledge. Be ready to confidently describe your strengths and—more importantly—explain how you have compensated for and / or overcome personal challenges.

Tone and attitude are important. If you are uncomfortable talking about yourself, try not to show this or to become defensive. While there are some inappropriate questions an employer cannot legally ask you about yourself, those discussed here are legitimate. Approach them as rapport-building conversation starters, designed to allow the interviewer to “get to know you.”

Research the employer. Be sure to review both the job listing and your resume before the interview. Think of skills, experiences, and qualities you have that make you a good fit for the position.

Then, make sure your answers align with the needs and requirements of the specific company and the position you hope to land. For example, if you are asked what your greatest weakness is, you don’t want to say something that is a core requirement for the job.

Spin the question to your advantage. The real trick in answering questions about yourself is to show how your personality and character traits make you an ideal candidate.


Don’t be afraid to “toot your own horn” a little and elaborate upon how your personality suits you well to the work you’re applying for. 

Most Asked Interview Questions About You

Here are the most frequently asked “personal” questions that interviewers ask candidates, along with links to sample answers.

Other Questions About You

Personal questions can range widely, from simple queries about your training and background to deeper inquiries about your individual strengths, weaknesses, self-knowledge, and career goals.

Basic Questions About Your Personality

Questions About Your Work Style and Work Ethic

Questions That Gauge Your Self-Knowledge

  • Do you consider yourself successful? Why? - Best Answers
  • How are you different from the competition? - Best Answers
  • How do you handle failure? - Best Answers
  • How do you handle success? - Best Answers
  • How will your greatest strength help you perform? - Best Answers
  • If the people who know you were asked why you should be hired, what would they say? Best Answers
  • What do people most often criticize about you? - Best Answers
  • What have you learned from your mistakes? - Best Answers
  • What is the biggest criticism you received from your boss? - Best Answers
  • What part of the job will be the least challenging for you? - Best Answers
  • Which part of this job is the biggest stretch for you? - Best Answers
  • Why shouldn't I hire you? - Best Answers

Questions About How You Manage Stress, Challenge, and Change

  • How do you handle stress and pressure? - Best Answers
  • When was the last time you were angry? What happened? - Best Answers
  • If you know your supervisor is 100% wrong about something how would you handle it? - Best Answers
  • Describe how you managed a problem employee. - Best Answers
  • How well do you assimilate into a new environment? - Best Answers
  • How would you adjust to working for a new company? - Best Answers
  • What do you see yourself doing within the first 30 days on the job? - Best Answers
  • What can we expect from you in the first 60 days on the job? - Best Answers
  • Tell me about something you would have done differently at work – Best Answers

Questions About How You Would Fit Their Company

Questions about Your Work History and Career Goals

  • What is your dream job? - Best Answers
  • Describe what you have done to upgrade your skills. - Best Answers
  • What is your professional development plan? - Best Answers
  • Explain the gap in your employment history. - Best Answers
  • Why weren't you promoted at your last job? - Best Answers
  • What did you like or dislike about your previous job? - Best Answers
  • What was the biggest accomplishment/failure in your previous position? - Best Answers
  • What won’t you miss about your last job? – Best Answers
  • Why are you interested in a lower level job? - Best Answers
  • Why are you interested in a non-management job? - Best Answers
  • Why are you leaving your job? - Best Answers
  • How did you fit in with the company culture at your previous job? - Best Answers
  • How did you impact the bottom line? - Best Answers
  • How do you plan to achieve your career goals? - Best Answers
  • How does this job fit in with your career plan? - Best Answers
  • What are your goals for the next 5-10 years? - Best Answers
  • What challenges are you looking for in a job? - Best Answers
  • When can you start work? - Best Answers
  • When do you plan on retiring? - Best Answers
  • Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? - Best Answers
  • Where else are you interviewing? - Best Answers
  • Is there anything else we should know about you? - Best Answers
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