When a job interviewer asks: “What would your co-workers say about you?” or “How would your boss describe you?” how should you answer?
Don’t be stumped by this common interview question. With a little preparation, you can highlight your best features and demonstrate that you are a capable and productive team member.
What Do Employers Really Want to Know?
By asking you to consider how others view you, interviewers may be trying to see if you can evaluate your own behavior – your self-awareness, or so-called “emotional intelligence.” Are you able to view yourself from an outsider’s perspective? Your answer may indicate whether you can build meaningful professional relationships, as well as recognize what you do well and what you need to improve.
Answering the Co-Worker Question
“The way you relate to your co-workers can determine your ability to work as part of a team, fit in with the company culture and develop a professional network. Interviewers often ask about how your coworkers would describe you to learn if you would fit well into their company’s group dynamic,” says Indeed.
How do others see you? If you have the opportunity, ask for input from former co-workers you trust. If you’re still employed, you may feel awkward about fishing for compliments. Instead, when a co-worker praises you, write it down (or save the email)! If people often praise certain abilities, make sure to highlight these traits as part of your interview response.
Whether you repeat your co-workers’ compliments or use this question to focus on some of your best qualities, “be honest and try to give a genuine answer. The interviewer really is trying to learn about who you are as a worker and a person when they ask this question,” says Career Sidekick. “Pick one or two traits that you feel are true and beneficial – especially traits that will benefit you in this employer’s job.”
Answering the Boss Question
Imagining what your boss would say about you forces you to view yourself from a slightly different perspective. After all, employees generally don’t interact with their manager and co-workers in the same way.
“The easiest way to answer this question is to paraphrase a recent positive performance review. Referencing specifically where you’re getting your information from makes it easier to describe yourself,” says The Muse. “This is a great opportunity for you to share something you really wanted to mention in the interview but haven’t had the chance to yet.”
A written letter of recommendation from your boss also can provide an honest and complimentary assessment of your skills.
If you don’t get along with your boss, focus on ways you have risen to a challenge. Choose two or three specific traits to highlight. Then, briefly outline the situations when you demonstrated each trait. But remember: Leave out any mention of conflict. The interview is assessing your attitude, as well as your skills.
Are you looking for work, or thinking of switching jobs? The placement experts at Pro Resources Staffing Solutions are experienced in helping match workers with positions suited to their skills.