Answer the Interview Question: How Do Others Describe Your Work?

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job interview questions

“How do others describe your work?” has become an increasingly popular “stock” interview question in recent years. Although it isn’t intended to confuse the person interviewing, it often has that effect. Here’s how to understand that question and answer it with confidence.

Why Do Employers Ask This Question?

Whether the word used is a general “others” or a specific “your last supervisor” or “co-workers,” this question is usually intended to help the interviewer learn:

  • how other people have described you, versus how you have described yourself,
  • how well you understand your own perspective, that of others, and how they interact to improve (or harm) your work, and
  • how you respond to the question itself. Do you freeze up, ramble, or blurt out the least flattering thing that comes to mind – or do you respond calmly and with confidence?

How to Respond

It’s easy to fumble with this question, spending time on vague compliments you’ve received in the past like “well done,” “solid work,” or “always on deadline.” But if you simply latch onto these moments, you probably aren’t telling the interviewer what he or she most wants to know. Instead:

  1. Think about what characteristics are required for this Does the job require great project management skills, and you’ve been praised in the past for your project management work? Mention it, then provide one or two specific, concrete examples of a moment when you succeeded in a project management setting. Or if your former supervisor or co-workers regularly praise you as “creative,” share that term and describe a creative project or two of which you are particularly proud.
  2. Prepare your answers in advance. Preparing for interviews is crucial, and preparing to answer this question should be part of that process. Review any notes about past recognition, copies of past performance reviews, or feedback from co-workers to find examples that speak to the work you’ll be doing in this You can also use this research to vet your references.
  3. Consider the structure of your answers as well as the content. An easy-to-follow answer may impress an interviewer as much as what the answer says, especially when the question is intended in part to see how you respond to a “curve ball.” Be ready to list your successes and their causes, to describe how and why you succeeded, and to focus on your strengths.

At Burnett’s Staffing, our experienced recruiters can help match you with employers who offer the right “fit” for your work style and career plans. Contact us today to learn more.

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