Saying nice things about yourself tends to be a lot harder than saying nice stuff about others. For most people, it can be really awkward to talk about their own accomplishments—which is why interviewing is so uncomfortable for many.
Thankfully, there is one question that can (kind of) bridge this gap. When an interviewer asks you, “How would your boss or colleagues describe you?” this is your chance to use the words of others to talk about your own positive traits. Here are a few ideas about how you can take advantage of this opportunity.
1. Quoting an Official Performance Review
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 as “trustworthy, dedicated, and creative” without cringing. You’ll also want to give some big picture context about your role and responsibilities to fill in the gaps around your answer. Altogether, it’ll sound something like this:
2. Start With the Story and Share the Takeaways
Another way to do this is to start off with the story and conclude it with how your boss or co-workers would describe you. Since the question is pretty open-ended, 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.
Or, it could be the other way around. There might be some trait or skill you know the hiring manager is looking for, and the opportunity to talk about it hasn’t come up yet. This is your chance.
3. Naming Three Positive Traits With Short Examples for Each
Coming up with stories can be tricky when asked on the spot (which is why you should have a few prepared), so if you just can’t think of anything, here’s another approach. Try to think of three positive traits you bring to your work or workplace. Then, have a short example after each. It might go something like this:
Next time you get this question, you should be smiling because of what a great opportunity it presents to talk about pretty much anything you want to framed in a way that makes it easier for you to talk about. That’s what you call a win-win.
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