Giving the perfect answers in a job interview is only half the battle. The other half is all about your personality, and this will be carefully monitored by the employer just as much as your answers will be.

The employer wants to see how you will fit into their culture, and your personality will also provide them with an indication of how you might perform in the job. If you’re applying for a sales role then you of course would need an outgoing and friendly personality. Coming across as shy in the interview will likely lead to rejection, but being too overconfident will also not help.

With nerves running high it’s important you plan ahead and think about how you’re going to come across. Here are 3 ways to make your personality shine in a job interview.

Tell a funny story 

If the opportunity presents itself you should consider having a funny work story on standby to entertain the interviewer. Telling a funny story will break the tension and help you to relax.

Prepare a couple of stories in advance so you have a few options to drop one in seamlessly during conversation. Make sure they are not inappropriate as you don’t want this to backfire and make things awkward. Keep it clean and professional.

Tell your story to a friend or partner before the interview to check their reaction. This approach in the interview is quite bold and not something you should dive in feet first with. It definitely needs to be vetted by someone you trust, but if told correctly it can have a positive impact during the interview, and will certainly lighten the mood and bring out your personality.

Discuss your hobbies 

If you have an interesting or creative hobby, you should consider going into more detail during the interview. Writing a great hobbies section sets the seed for a conversation with the employer.

“The purpose behind [asking about your hobbies in an interview] is to offer them insights into your skills and capacities that common interview questions may not always reveal.

Asking about hobbies and interests is also about determining your cultural fit for an organisation.

This means that your late night language courses or Saturdays spent volunteering with local charities can be important indicators about whether your values and skills reflect those of the organisation.” – Robert Half

Playing in a band or captaining your local sports team are hobbies which would likely spark anyone’s interest. But going out and getting drunk on the weekend is not something which would send the right message, and shouldn’t even be on your CV in the first place.

This approach essentially relies on the fact that you have a fairly unique hobby, rather than reading books or going to the cinema. Not to say that there is anything wrong with that and that you should put down your book and sing in a rock band, but it just means that it won’t really create much depth to a conversation.

Talking about your hobbies will bring out your passionate side. It will allow you to be yourself and break away a little from talking about the job. Remember, you are looking to bring out your personality during the interview, and this is usually much easier to do when talking about personal things like your hobbies.

You may also be fortunate enough to have someone in the interview who shares a similar hobby, which will create an instant connection. You will be able to leave a more memorable impression and keep the managers talking about you long after you’ve left.

Chatting about your hobbies is a great way to be yourself in an interview. That is really what the interviewer wants to see from you, and not some shy and nervous individual that focuses on just answering the questions.

Ask your own questions 

You should always ask the interviewer a few questions of your own. The standard types of questions should focus around the role and the company, but you could also consider throwing a few curve balls out there too.

Every manager you meet will enjoy talking about their team and the culture of the company. Ask the interviewer what the atmosphere and culture is like in the business during a normal working day. You could also ask where the company sees itself in 5 years time, which is also a great question to demonstrate your commitment to the company.

As for any other questions, you could improvise a little and jump in with a few off topic questions. Here are a few examples:

  • How long have you worked here for?
  • What do you enjoy about your job?

Be careful not to take over the interview, and know when to take a step back and let them continue. If they seem very busy and keen to push on as they have lots of people to see, then take it easy when asking your own questions. You don’t want them to get frustrated with you, so look for obvious cues which indicate they are not in the mood for non-work related conversations.

Here are 7 good questions to ask in a job interview.

By including your personality in a job interview you have a much higher chance of building up a rapport. It’s now time to sit back and wait for the job offers to come flooding in. But wait, have you thought about how you would accept? To help you agree terms and accept a job offer the professional way, here’s a great guide – How to write a job offer acceptance letter.