No matter how impressive your resume is, you would not get far if you are not ready to discuss your personality as well.
It is important to take the time and prepare not only for technical questions, but also those about your personality and workspace relationships.
A personal question that you will most definitely meet along the way is “How would your coworkers describe you?”
It might seem scary at first, but we are here to prepare you, and you will have a great answer in no time.
In this article, we are going to go through the following questions:
- Why do recruiters ask “How would your coworkers describe you?”
- What is the best approach to answer “How would your coworkers describe you?”
And we are going to leave you with some great examples to get you started.
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But if you are ready to learn how to answer “How would your coworkers describe you?”, stick around.
Why do recruiters ask "how would your coworkers describe you?"
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Before we proceed to finding the right way to answer this question, you need to understand why do recruiters ask it at all.
Like most personality questions, it has many layers and recruiters get more from it than you would think.
The first and most important thing they learn from it is whether you are self-aware.
This question forces you to look at yourself from another angle, and really show you understand how people perceive your words and actions.
And as you have already provided the recruiter with references, this questions also serves to determine whether you are honest and understand your strengths and weaknesses.
Last but not least, the question “How would your coworkers describe you?” provides you with a great opportunity to discuss your soft skills.
Even though they are not as obviously valuable as the hard skills that you have developed over your career, soft skills are not less important for the recruiter, as most jobs require you to communicate with your colleagues on various topics.
Best approach to answer "how would your coworkers describe you?"
Now that you know why recruiters ask this question, let’s figure out how to answer it in the best possible way.
You can do so by simply following a few simple steps.
Think about your strengths
The first thing you need to do to get the answer to “How would your coworkers describe you?” right is make a list of your strongest qualities and how do you use them in the workplace.
Your answer should not take more than a few minutes, so make sure you only pick 2 or 3 that you think your past coworkers would bring up.
When deciding which traits to bring up in your answer, don’t forget to make it relevant to the position, and keep your answer concentrated on those.
You would want to show the recruiter that you are the right person for the job, and your past coworkers would back up this statement.
Match actions with descriptions
When describing your traits, simply throwing words in the air won’t do much good.
You need to prepare yourself with some work-related situations that you handled using your best traits, and what was the outcome due to your actions.
That would help the recruiter understand how your personality facilitates your success in the workplace.
Use past feedback
One of the best ways to figure out how others would describe you is to look at feedback you have received in the past.
Whether it was from coworkers, or a manager feedback, it can give you a good idea of how your colleagues would describe you.
Furthermore, using any kind of performance review from previous positions provides a specific proof of the description you provide to the recruiter.
Talk with your coworkers
The best way to find out the answer to “How would your coworkers describe you?” is to ask them directly about it beforehand.
That would give you some great ideas about how to answer the question when asked in an interview, and will also help you determine which past colleagues are your best options for references.
Last but not least, don’t forget that honesty is always the best policy.
That applies to all your interview questions, especially the personality ones, and this one is no exception.
If the recruiter senses that your answer sounds too fake or scripted, they would feel comfortable moving forward with the hiring process.
Furthermore, they always have the option to contact some of your past coworkers, and you might find yourself red-handed.
Example answers to "How would your coworkers describe you?"
And now, as promised, we have some example answers for you to check out before constructing you own.
My past coworkers would say that I am very optimistic and always eager to learn and grow. Whenever there is a problem that needs to be solved, I am always happy to find a creative solution. An example of that is when my colleagues were worried about budget cuts in our department, and I figured out a clever way to maintain some of our resources with fewer costs. My plan ended up being implemented.
My colleagues have always admired by reliability, punctuality, and analytical thinking. I have always been determined to manage my time efficiently, so that I can help others with any last-minute tasks, and use my extra time to review my work. Once, I collaborated with another accountant to manage a client’s complex tax returns, and using a meticulous schedule, as well as adjusting strategy for dividing responsibilities depending on our strengths, we managed to meet our goals and deadline.
My past coworkers have often told me that I am a strong leader, as well as a team player. One of my greatest moments was when a colleague of mine offered to write me a personal letter of reference because of my strong team leadership. She was impressed by my ability to manage a group of colleagues, while also listening and considering everyone’s ideas.
We are all done, now you know how to give the best answer to the question “How would your coworkers describe you?”
Just to make sure you will get it all right, let’s go through all the steps one last time:
- Think about your strengths – you would want to take the time to discuss your best and most relevant strengths that your past coworkers might decide to share if asked. However, don’t get carried away, pick the best 2 or 3, and focus on them, you would not want your answer to be longer than a few minutes
- Match actions with descriptions – when describing yourself, you would want to provide specific examples of your personality traits
- Use past feedback – whether it is from a past coworker or a performance review, any kind of past feedback would help you with your answer, and provide instant proof of your words for the recruiter
- Talk with your coworkers – the best way to find how would they describe you, is to simply get in touch with them and ask them. That would give you some great ideas for your answer, and would also help you determine which ones would be best to give you reference
- Be honest – like any other interview question, you would want to keep your answer truthful, as being caught red-handed is just one phone call away
Check out our example answers one last time, and nail your next interview.
Make one that's truly you.