When a hiring manager asks personal questions, they are probing to find out how you handle certain situations. This might be an example of how you handle work experiences and stress. Provide them with concise details, but don’t mention anything that will cause you to become emotional. Speak clearly and provide the necessary information without elaborating on unnecessary details.
Points to Emphasize
In interviews that ask personal questions, it’s important to remember to provide only the essential information. It can be easy to get carried away with personal stories and deliver too much detail. Remember to stay positive in your response and not dwell on negativity. Be sure to emphasize:
- How you overcame this difficult period in life.
- Any necessary and useful skills that helped you deal with it.
- What you learned from this difficult period.
- How you have helped others who are facing similar difficult experiences.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Personal questions are a great opportunity for the hiring manager to see you as a person, rather than another interviewee. Don’t provide a generic experience that doesn’t give them an inkling of the depth of your character. Also avoid:
- Speaking with a negative tone about any person or any situation. Make it constructive.
- Mentioning any personal names that information that others wouldn’t appreciate or approve of.
- Lengthy responses. The interview won’t be long and you only have a short amount of time to prove yourself.
- Leaving the response without closure. Through your answer, ensure the hiring manager that you have overcome and learned from your difficulties.
A good answer to a question like this might be:
Several years ago the company I was working for went under. All of the employees were laid off, and it was difficult for many of us. I struggled to adjust to life at home without a fulfilling career. As I searched for a new career path, I felt impelled to further my education and gain a greater understanding in the field of teaching. I have always enjoyed learning and education and thought it would be fulfilling.
I am so happy I chose the career path I did. What started out as a difficult period in my life, actually ended up leading me towards a career that I absolutely love. I have never felt so inspired and driven in a job before, but teaching has truly become my passion. Now I encourage others who are struggling to find enjoyment in their careers to seek out something they truly love. Life is too short to be wasted doing something you aren’t completely happy with.