For the past four weeks, TradePost has taken a dive into the subject of personalities in the workplace. We have looked at how to identify different personalities and how to manage them. To wrap up our series, we would like to offer you some interview questions that can help you identify the personalities of potential new hires, giving you a leg up on assembling and managing a team that is compatible!

Typical interview questions are important, such as the ones you ask candidates to gain an understanding of their skills and employment history. Many of these questions are not open-ended enough for you to gain a real sense of their personalities, which is why you need to throw in a few questions that can reveal to you their true personalities, making it easier for you to make an informed decision when you hire. We have a few great questions you can ask your candidates the next time you interview for an open position on your team!

  1. What must exist in your workplace for you to be motivated and happy? This question will give candidates the opportunity to tell you what keeps them going on a daily basis as well as what helps them thrive. Typically, if a candidate tells you they need a quiet and peaceful work environment to be happy, you can estimate they may be slightly introverted.
  2. Say you've decided to reorganize the department you lead. How would you proceed with that reorganization? This is a great question to find out how quickly candidates thinks on their toes, but it also will reveal whether or not they are detail-oriented, will ask for help from others, or be concerned about their coworkers' opinions of the reorganization.
  3. How have you spent your time since you left your most recent position? This question can be very telling because what a person does when they do not have to adhere to a daily schedule says a lot about their personality. If your candidate says they caught up with friends and family during their job search, you may have an extrovert on your hands. If he or she spent some time volunteering, you may have a very empathetic and feeling person in front of you.
  4. In your previous position, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment(s)? What were your most significant failures? Every person has a few good accomplishments in mind, but very few have honest words about their shortcomings at a prior position. Honesty may be very important to you as a manager, so this could help you identify a person with integrity. However, it can also help you identify personality by what the candidate considers a failure. If he or she says that getting along with a coworker was a significant failure, you may be speaking with someone that cares for others and their relationships with them.

These are just a few examples of questions that can help get your candidates talking long enough for you to gain a sense of who they really are. All great applicants will practice common interview questions and answers before showing up, so asking them some more unique open-ended questions will help you to know how they answer when they are honest and unrehearsed. Don't try to trick your potential new hires, but throw in a few of these to better understand the hearts and minds of those you bring in for an interview! Also, don't forget that it is okay to give a personality quiz to your short list of candidates as an assessment to contribute to your decision. You can have them take the quiz from our first post in this series!

Readers: Would you add any interview questions to this list?