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Interview Question: How Would Your Coworkers Describe You?

A how-to guide for answering the interview question – “How would your coworkers describe you?”

In this blog, we will be targeting the interview question, How would your coworkers describe you?

Interviews can be dreadful for a lot of us, the anxiety and horror of what if I screwed up? What if I said something terribly wrong? What if I am not conducting myself well enough?

Fear of giving a bad interview is not necessarily bad; it allows you an opportunity to prepare, and preparation is the secret sauce to a great interview.

Why will the employer even ask me this question?

Remember that you operate in a shared space with people from different ideologies and backgrounds. And this shared space needs to be comfortable for each. You can not expect to be a troublemaker and expect all your coworkers to like you.You will most probably have a unique relationship with each coworker, and this unique relationship is something your hiring organization is interested in.

It will help the hiring organization identify.

  • What you bring out in people

Remember when you were on a deadline to submit an important project, and the worker next to you kept rambling? Well, you probably deemed him as someone loud and flamboyant. Your coworker evoked the emotion of annoyance in you,  Remember, you have the same effect on your coworkers, and employers would like to know more about this effect as they want people who add to the efficiency and productivity of the organization, not take from it.

  • What people bring out in you

If you tell your employer that the coworkers you had were a pain to work with, You will come out as someone arrogant and, at worst, a nihilist who only sees bad in people (Hey! It’s just an exaggeration), but yes, do not negate your coworkers. There is a chance you were not so fond of your employer and colleagues, but bad-mouthing them is not a trait employers seek, so stay away from this and be the bigger person! 

  • Are you a team player?

If you were someone who freezes when this question comes, there are chances employers will presume that you like to work alone and sharing space does not come easy to you, which is not a bad thing if that is the requirement for your job, but if it isn’t, BE PREPARED! Whether you like working solo or with a team will also help the organization determine whether you fit into their corporate culture.

Dos and Don’ts of answering the question – How would your coworkers describe you?

Dos 

  • Highlight your personality

Take a pen and paper and start jotting down your best qualities. Now think of instances that established these traits among your coworkers. Adding anecdotes to the identified traits is a smart move as you will highlight the good qualities backed up with evidence. You can also think back on the instances where your colleague complimented you. The compliment could be on your work, like when you made a professional achievement, or your personality, like when you helped a colleague in need. To dig deeper, you can ask your coworkers directly how they would describe you. This sort of survey will help you identify the strengths you can present and the weaknesses you can work on. Sometimes a third person’s perspective is what you need precisely!

  • Make a list

Once you know what your coworkers think of you, make a list and select items that fit best for the job description.

If you are not so confident as to how you will highlight the good qualities, The STAR Technique might come in handy in this scenario. STAR stands for Situation, Action, Task, and Result.

  • Be honest

You might not like this question, and it is ok, but do not be ignorant about it. Honesty is the best policy. You can tell the organization if Socialization is not your strongest pursuit. Such honesty will help the organization and you as well, so they can assign you the work best suited for your personality.

  •   Confidence

The hiring company wants to check your self-perception with this question and measure the confidence you bring to the table. For a lot of people, it is not an easy question to answer as most of us consciously or subconsciously have doubts about ourselves.Well, put the doubts aside and trust in your ability. Straighten your back, look into the eyes of the interviewer and put your best foot forward!

  • Soft skills and hard skills

You should find a balance between soft and hard skills as it will make your answer both professional and emotionally appealing. 

  • Soft-skills: 

Personal habits and traits shaped by nature and nurture determine how you operate in a group and your communication with colleagues and coworkers.

  • Nature: It is determined by our genetics. It includes the biological influences we cary
  • Nurture: This includes our environment, upbringing, and experiences we go through throughout our lives. 

 

Like, you might have gone through a rough patch, and now you are more calculated as a person.

  • Hard skills: 

These are technical skills you have learned in the course of your life experiences. This can range from education to the skills you learned in your workspace, like –

  • A Content writer learning the concept of search engine optimization
  • An Engineer learning various languages such as Perl, Python, Java, Ruby, etc., through their college experience.

 

Tip for newbies: If you have not worked before or do not have a lot of experience sharing space with people, you can expand on your strengths by giving instances that are not particularly work-related.

Example- “As you can see in my resume, I am new to this profession, but if you would like, I could tell you about an instance when I was part of an NGO, as I have always gravitated towards community service. We had a food drive, and the volunteers were ready with the food packages, but the vehicle that the NGO booked got canceled last minute. I took the task of taking the volunteers to the designated area, and the food drive was a success. They told me how they think I am a very compassionate and hardworking person.”

This showcases

  • Humility 
  • Hard Work
  • Compassion
  • Ownership

Some good Example answers for the interview question “how would your coworkers describe you?”

Example 1- 

“In the past, my coworkers constantly told me that my optimism was something that always cheered them! I always had an empathetic side and a curiosity about life. If I am being candid, this is a skill I did not have to work for actively. 

I remember once the HR took sick leave, and my office pal was not in a very good mood because it was his birthday. During my break, I went to a nearby bakery and tried to put a smile on his face and cheer him up by bringing a cake. 

Even though it was a small gesture, it is good to make someone’s day, especially when it is someone you share space with every day.” ( put an experience from the past that highlights your optimism)

Why does this answer work?

It highlights you as

  • Team player
  • High spirited 
  • Optimistic

Example 2- 

“The task unit I worked in was assigned new graphics for our website by the manager.

 No leadership roles were assigned amongst the people working on it,

 This created conflicts as the team were confused about how they should go about this situation. 

Even though I did not actively try to emerge as a leader, I helped my colleagues solve disputes and work efficiently. Many of them came up to me and told me they thought of me as a natural leader and the task? By god’s blessing, it was a huge success!”

Why does this answer work?

It highlights you as

  • A natural leader
  • Negotiator 
  • Team player

Example 3- 

“I would like to believe my coworkers would consider me to be someone very professional and organized as I always showed up on time and met all my deadlines. I like to dress up for the office, so I remember being the office nerd who would show up with fully ironed clothes and a tight tie who would always clean up their desk before leaving.”

Why does this answer work?

It highlights you as 

  • Humble
  • Organized and neat 
  • Professional 

Don’ts 

  • Be Ignorant 

There are chances you did not like the previous organization you were working with but try not to reflect that in your answer

  • Boast

Having plenty of qualities to highlight is excellent, but take it one step at a time. 

You do not need to sell yourself short, but a little modesty would come in handy! Show, don’t tell.

  • Highlight the irrelevant 

Highlighting the irrelevant might be off-putting for hiring managers as they usually want an answer that would suit the job you are applying for. You might love to travel. Your coworkers might call you the office hippie for it but giving that answer for the position of an accountant? Not such a good idea, but if you were interviewing for a travel photographer, you could definitely highlight your love for travel.

Some bad Examples are answers to the interview question, “how would your coworkers describe you?”

  • “I think all my coworkers were jealous of me. I think they all hated me.”
  • “My coworkers would say I was the best employee with so many talents and skills that they were constantly in awe of my work.”
  • “To be honest, I never really spoke to my coworkers. I found them mediocre.”
  • “I hated all my coworkers and the corporate culture the company followed.”

Follow-up questions you can work on

  • What can you bring to the company?
  • Did you ever have any disputes with your coworkers?
  • Do you like to work in a team or independently?
  • Why are you leaving your current job?

Key Takeaways 

  • Match the skills to the Job description 
  • Do your research 
  • Stay polite and take it in stride!

Now that you have learned the recipe for cooking, an ideal answer for this interview question, 

Now It is your turn to ace the interview with answers that impress employers!