Interview Question: How Would your Co-workers Describe You?

Filed under Interview Help, Job Search Help

Preparing your responses in advance for this tough interview question is the best way to ace it.

Interview Question: What are Your Weaknesses?

If the thought of answering the interview question “How would your co-workers describe you?” makes you anxious, you’re not alone. Even the most confident job-seeker worries he’ll say the wrong thing. Read on as we decode this tricky interview question and provide you with insight on what hiring managers are really looking for when they ask this question.

Why It’s a Tough Question

No doubt about it, “How Would Your Co-Workers Describe You?” is a tough interview question. If your co-workers don’t like you, you certainly don’t want to admit it, and if they love you to pieces, chances are you won’t feel comfortable gushing about it.

What the Interviewer Wants

The interviewer is trying to determine if you have a clear understanding of how you are perceived by others and if you understand how your work behavior impacts your co-workers. Your answer should provide an objective overview of your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to communication, interpersonal skills, and teamwork.

How to Answer

Use power words. Every industry has a unique set of buzz words, but there are several power words that cross multiple industries. Consider the following:

• Detailed
• Committed
• Resourceful
• Trustworthy
• Reliable
• Respectful

Including one or more of these power words in your answer is sure to grab the interviewer’s attention. You’ll earn extra interview points when you support your claim with examples.

Match descriptors to skills needed for the job. Review the job posting and select a trait or skill that is absolutely essential for success, then work that trait or skill into your answer. For example, if you’re applying for a customer service representative position that requires “excellent customer service skills” you might say:

My co-workers would describe me as patient and customer focused.

Feature soft skills. The interviewer already knows you have the hard skills to do the job like being proficient in PowerPoint or typing at 55 wpm. Now he wants to assess your soft skills – you know, interpersonal skills like how well you relate to others. As an example, our customer service candidate might say:
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My co-workers would say that I’m easy to get along with. In the three years that I have worked for my current employer, I have never had any issues or altercations with any of my co-workers.

My co-workers would say that I have mastered the skill of remaining calm when dealing with irate customers. Just last week I took an escalated call from a customer screaming expletives over an incorrect billing amount. By the end of the call, the customer was apologizing for her behavior and thanking me for resolving her issue.

Include an area for improvement. Including a weakness keeps your answer genuine and insightful. Just make sure that you clearly demonstrate you’re working to improve this are. For example:

My co-workers might say that I over-commit myself. I admit at times I try to be everything to everyone, but I am working on correcting this. I make sure that I finish my tasks before I offer to help others with theirs.

Be honest. It’s a smart interview tactic to highlight your strengths as they relate to the skills needed for the job, but lying is never appropriate. The whole point of an interview is to determine if you are a good fit for the company. If you make yourself out to be someone you’re not, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Be true to who you are and you will find the right job.

Do you have any tips for answering this tricky interview question?

image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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