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How should you actually answer interview questions that ask you how your boss or manager might describe you? At first glance, this question might take just a bit of reflection, and then be rather straightforward to answer. However, describing yourself in a positive light is typically harder than it sounds. This might be obvious, but first and foremost, you should ensure your answer is actually positive, and highlights your strengths. It is very important to appear confident, but not arrogant; it is very easy to appear dogmatic when discussing yourself, but just handle this question objectively. Describing can be a very powerful weapon, or incredibly self-destructive.
How do you transcend this question into a tool that aids in setting you apart from the other candidates? We have devised a framework that is both easy to follow, and very effective when applied carefully. Review it analytically, extract information that is pertinent to your situation, create your plan to answer this question, and then execute your plan effectively.
What are the absolute best ways to approach this question? Potential procedures include: sharing objective information regarding your performance, describing a relevant story, or conceding you cannot speak on the behalf of your boss. How you go about each approach is however of paramount importance.
Sharing Objective Information about Your Performance
One potential approach you may take is sharing objective information regarding your performance. Instead of replying explicitly with what you believe your manager might say about you, you can instead recite specific examples of your accomplishments. For example, perhaps you might share that you established an advantageous partnership with another company. On the other hand, maybe you received a significant raise or promotion; you may use these facts to infer what your boss might say. More specifically, you may say something such as, “Given the fact I received a promotion within a few short months, I am under the impression my manager has taken kindly to my employment.” In this case, you state an objective milestone you reached during your employment, and then made a logical and reasonable inference while simultaneously promoting yourself to your interviewer.
You may also elect to perform research on your own statistics. There exist many websites that document and publish the success of employees. It may be wise to refer to this information if prompted with this type of question. In doing this, it is important to relate this information back to what your manager might say about you, so you do not appear as though you are merely boasting.
Describing a Relevant Story
Another adequate strategy you may employ is beginning you answer with a relevant story. This story might describe a time you overcame a challenge; you were rewarded for your efforts on a project; or anything else you might deem impressive. Furthermore, it is wise to describe a story that will highlight a particular skill you know the company desires. On the other hand, perhaps you really wanted to mention something, but it didn’t fit anywhere else in the interview. This is your chance to incorporate it via telling a story. This will work wonders with Uber interview as you can see in the linked article. The story should be succinct and of a sensible length. The last thing you want to do is bore your interviewer with an incredibly detailed story that barely answers the question. Instead, include only the details that are very relevant, and then finish by explaining the outcome, and be sure to include what your manager thought. This strategy softens the seemingly rough notion of discussing yourself in a positive manner. Instead of harshly asserting the qualities that make you great, you describe a scenario where your strengths are implied. Furthermore, in this case, you are describing an instance where your manager actually gave you positive feedback, so you aren’t left needing to postulate what they might say currently.
You may even include your observations in your story, and then draw a conclusion based off of them. For example, you may state something such as, “I have noticed that all of my co-workers come to me for advice, and that my boss discusses important matters with me. Therefore, I am inclined to believe my boss views me as competent and trustworthy.” In this case, you are objectively describing what you have noticed, and then using deduction in order to form a reasonable conclusion.
Conceding You Cannot Speak on the Behalf of Your Boss
Perhaps there does not exist much objective information regarding your performance, or you do not wish to come up with a story. Either way, a generally wise different approach to take is simply conceding you cannot speak on the behalf of your boss. This said, you should not only concede this, but rather, reiterate the reasons why you are confident you are an excellent fit for this position. For instance, you may explain something such as, “I cannot speak on behalf of my manager, but I am confident I am very suitable for this position because of XYZ.” In this case, you argue you cannot possibly understand what exactly your boss thinks of you.
You also get the opportunity to discuss basically anything you would like. It is wise to use this opportunity to discuss something you could not previously mention. However, it is important to be very careful with taking this approach, for you do not want to appear as though you’re simply selecting the cop-out answer. To avoid seeming avoidant, it is wise to also include a statement explaining you are confident in your standing at your current job. A fine example is as such, “I am very confident I am in good-standing in my current position.” In this case, you avoid having to discuss yourself extensively, but achieve the goal of communicating the general dynamic that exists in your current workplace.
This framework provides you with three different options for answer this type of interview question. It is important to review it carefully, and select the option you believe best fits your circumstances. Nonetheless, this question reveals powerful opportunities for you to virtually discuss any topic you would like, so long as you can tie it back to the original question. Regardless of your choice, remember to answer calmly and professionally.