One of the most popular questions in English is “how are you?”. Whether you’re meeting someone for the first time or meeting someone after a long time, the question acts as an effective conversation starter. But how is it different when interviewers ask this question? More importantly, what is the best reply for “how are you”?

Read on to explore the importance of personal interview questions, effective techniques of answering them and finding the most appropriate response to “how are you doing”.


  1. What Are Personal Interview Questions?

  2. How To Answer Personal Interview Questions

  3. Pivotal Personal Interview Question: How Are You?

  4. So, How To Answer The Question “How Are You”?

  5. “How Are You Doing” Reply: Avoiding Common Mistakes

  6. Preparing For The Interview

What Are Personal Interview Questions?

Job interviews aren’t only about gauging your employment history, your academic qualifications and your knowledge or skills. Interviewers often ask personal questions about your life, work ethic and your ability to handle stress. By doing so, they’re determining whether you’re a good fit for the job as well as workplace culture. For example, “are you a team player?” is a fairly common question. Your potential employers want to know whether you can work well in teams and keep an open mind.

A crucial thing to remember while answering personal interview questions is that there are no right or wrong answers. Organizations are looking for candidates who fulfill their requirements and the more you match, the better your chances are. Moreover, personal interview questions work both ways. You get an opportunity to come up with honest answers to the questions—helping you determine what you’re looking for in your job.

How To Answer Personal Interview Questions

Before your interview, it’s useful to prepare for standard personal questions that are geared toward your personality, work styles and other aspects of your character. To leave a lasting impression on your interviewers, you need to answer in ways that’ll help you stand out from the rest. Here are some useful tips and strategies to help you make an impact on the interviewer.

  1. Take Your Time

Don’t be in a rush to answer the questions. Always take time to collect your thoughts and present them in a confident manner. However, this doesn’t mean that you take too long to answer; the interviewer will think that you lack confidence.

  1. Practice Non-Verbal Communication

Your body language is of the utmost importance when it comes to captivating your audience’s attention. Make sure that you stand straight, maintain eye contact and smile during appropriate moments. Never sit with your arms or legs crossed as it looks like you’re holding something back. Even tone and attitude matter when you’re building rapport during an interview.

  1. Listen Attentively

Oftentimes, interviewers provide you with information—either directly or indirectly. When you pay close attention to what they have to share about the organization or the position, you can pick up on things that are expected from an ideal candidate. Communication is a two-way street; listen attentively and show the interviewer that you’re paying attention.

  1. Honesty? Best Policy!

In the hope of impressing potential employers, candidates often present an unreal version of themselves. Hiring managers can tell when you’re not being honest because they’ve been interviewing individuals and studying their body language for a long time. Always be genuine while answering and present the honest version of yourself.

  1. Do Your Homework

The most useful trick to impress a hiring manager is to research the employer. In addition to the job listing, learn more about the organization’s mission, vision, goals and objectives. You can align your answers with the specific requirements and expectations of the organization.

  1. Demonstrate Self-Knowledge

The primary purpose of asking personal questions during an interview is to gauge whether someone is self-aware and has given thought to their individual strengths and weaknesses. Be ready to elaborate on your strengths and how you overcame setbacks in your past professional experience(s).

Pivotal Personal Interview Question: How Are You?

At first glance, it may seem simple but you need to prepare a proper response to “how are you”. It’s the first question that an interviewer asks and it’s the only opportunity to make a good first impression. In fact, studies show that 33% of hiring managers make a decision about a potential employee within the first 90 seconds of interacting with them; you have to put your best foot forward.

Wondering how to reply to “how are you” in the best way? Let’s first understand what an interviewer means by asking that question. Some of them are just trying to get to know you better while others are using the question to break the ice and get the conversation going. The more you open up, the easier it is for them to assess your candidacy.

So, How To Answer The Question “How Are You”?

While navigating different ways to answer “how are you”, keep in mind that the interviewer wants you to engage with them. Try not to get into too many details about yourself and always be honest. At the same time, avoid cliches and classic responses like “I’m fine, thank you”. Let’s look at a few strategies that will teach you how to respond to “how are you” in interesting ways.

  1. Steer Clear From “I’m Fine”

‘Fine’ as a response is tricky territory. Unless you use an appropriate tone, it has a negative connotation. A short and high-pitched “I’m fine” with a smile is one of the safest ways to answer “how are you”. But you don’t want to leave your interviewer with such a short response? Make room for follow-up conversations by answering “I’m good, how about you?”—it shows that you’re confident enough to build rapport with your interviewer. Find ways to engage with them and swiftly transition to the next question.

  1. Avoid Going Into Personal Details

In most situations, an interviewer is a stranger. Although “how are you” is a personal question, you need not get into specific details from your personal life. For example, if you had a bad day because you got into a fight with someone and the incident ruined your mood, it’s best to avoid such details. The interviewer should feel comfortable in your presence as well. Make sure that you go prepared for an interview; you can break your answer into multiple bullet points so that it’s easier to recollect and stick to your story.

  1. Study Your Immediate Environment

Another smart technique that will help you prepare the best response to “how are you doing” is paying attention to your immediate surroundings. If you notice something in the room that catches your eye, use it to enhance your conversation. For example, if there is a collection of books at the back, try saying, “I’m good, thank you. I couldn’t help but notice that impressive collection!” By picking up cues, you can keep the conversation flowing organically.

  1. Read Up About The People

While it’s vital to do your research about an organization’s background, it’s equally helpful to study your interviewer’s background. For example, your potential manager may be on the interview panel asking you questions. You can always call the organization in advance and get an idea of who’ll be interviewing you. Look them up on LinkedIn or the organization website and find some common areas of interest you can bring up in your conversation. It doesn’t have to be complicated and you can simply talk about the city they lived in.

“How Are You Doing” Reply: Avoiding Common Mistakes

There are several topics that you should avoid at all costs while engaging with hiring managers. Here’s a list of topics you should stay away from:

  • Never bring up religious or political instances—everyone has different views and people are extremely sensitive about such topics

  • Never discuss the physical appearance of an interviewer—what they are wearing or what they look like—it’s inappropriate and unprofessional

  • Don’t overwhelm interviewers by talking excessively at the beginning itself; try not to exceed beyond 30 seconds—just engage them and move on to the primary part of the interview

Preparing For The Interview

Now that we’ve established the most appropriate way to answer “how are you”, it’s time to start practicing. Harappa Education’s Ace The Interview course will help you get comfortable with some of the most frequently asked questions in interviews. You’ll learn how to overcome jitters and respond confidently. Understand your Purpose, Audience and Message by using the PAM Framework to develop engaging responses. Get ready to ace your next job interview and leave a lasting impression on potential employers!

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics related to the COMMUNICATE Habit such as Self-Introduction for Interview, Guide to Answering “Tell Me About Yourself“, “How Would You Describe Yourself” and The 50 Most Common Interview Questions to ace your next interview for your dream job.

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