When it comes to job interview prep, you’ve probably been focused on rehearsing answers to questions about your work history -- strengths, weaknesses, why you want a new job, what you bring to the table. If you get a few personal questions thrown in, you'll just wing it. After all, you can’t get those wrong, right? Not necessarily. A lot of job candidates spend so much time planning for traditional interview questions that they stammer or ramble when personal questions are asked, and it throws off the flow of the interview. Don't let this happen to you!
The good news is that prepping for personal questions is pretty easy. You just need to take stock of some basic facts about yourself and get comfortable saying them confidently. Think about the aspects of your life that naturally lead into a conversation and showcase why you’d be good for the team. You may not be able to predict the specific personal questions that could come up, but here are a few to get you thinking:
Some of the questions are larger in scope -- there’s a lot about you that’s not on yourresume, for instance. How boring would you be if your whole self was able to be described on one page?! Think about something personal that reflects how you’d be as an employee, like your summer living abroad where you learned how to adapt to new circumstances and communicate with people from different backgrounds. Don’t mention something completely out of left field, like the fact that you make the world’s best chocolate chip cookies, or something that's TMI and could come off the wrong way. And if there's something interesting that you know you'd like to bring up in an interview before you ever walk into the room, you can add some personal interests to your resume -- this will often prompt an employer to ask about them.
The best thing about prepping for these questions is that you’ll get a confidence boost from the self reflection. By articulating why you’ve come to make the decisions you’ve made and how full your life is outside of work, you’ll own those things more fully, and that confidence will come across in an interview.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan