6 Answers To "How Would Your Coworkers Describe You?"

a picture of business person and how would your coworkers describe you

Have you ever been asked, “How would your past coworkers describe you?” or “How would your previous boss describe you?” These can be startling and unexpected questions to deal with during an interview. However, they are not without their purpose. Let’s explore why interviewers ask this question during job interviews, what good and bad answers look like, and some sample answers to consider.

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Questions?

Hiring managers will ask this question for a few reasons.

On one hand, they may want to know how you fit into the company culture at your last job. If you didn’t get along with your coworkers or your coworkers would be likely to note that you didn’t fit in, it could mean that the company culture wasn’t a good fit for you. And if the job you are interviewing for has a similar company culture, you may not be deemed a good fit for that either.

Hiring managers will also ask this question to get a feel for your personality, teamwork ability, and how well you interact with others. If you’re just a general pain or decide to take this opportunity to bad mouth your old coworkers, you’ve raised a red flag to your potential employer. They will also compare what you’ve said to what your actual references have said about you.

Interviewers will ask this question along with “how would your previous boss describe you?” is get a sense of what your own sense of self-perception is. Employers want confident employees.

What Does a Good Answer to “How Would Your Coworkers Describe You” Look Like?

A good answer to “how would your coworkers describe you?” will contain a few key elements:

  • Honesty
  • Modesty, but don’t sell yourself short
  • A situation or example of how your coworkers or a single coworker thought of you
  • Something relevant to your prospective job
  • One personality trait highlighted at a time

What Does a Bad Answer to “How Would Your Coworkers Describe You” Look Like?

These answers, or any derivative of them, should be avoided:

  • “My coworkers all hated me.”
  • “I don’t think my coworkers would have a lot to say about me. I was a bit of a lone wolf.”
  • “I literally never spoke to my coworkers.”
  • “They were all jealous of me, so I doubt they told you anything good.”
  • “My coworkers didn’t respect how great of an employee I was and were all jealous.”
  • “My coworkers would say I was the best employee ever.”

6 Example Answers to “How Would Your Coworkers Describe You?”

Example one

My past coworkers have told me that I am very organized and quite good at time management. During one specific project, my team members praised me for developing and sticking to a timeline for all the project's different aspects. We ended up completing the project ahead of time, and it went really well! I’d love to have a similar relationship with my team members in this position.

Example two

I’ve been told that I am both a reliable leader and an excellent team player. In fact, one coworker from my previous position offered to write me a personal letter of recommendation at one point because of my excellent team leadership. It really made me feel valued by the company. He was impressed by my ability to lead a development team effectively while also listening to and considering everyone’s individual input as we determined the best plan of action for this new business initiative.

Example three

My coworkers would say I’m consistent in pursuing and reaching my goals. When I worked as a project director, I experienced rejection, which is obviously never fun. However, I didn’t let that rejection get me down or take me away from achieving my goals. On the contrary, I used that strength for all my projects and worked afterward. I would love to bring that energy to this position.

Example four

My past coworkers would say that I am very cheery and optimistic. I would think they would say this because I’ve demonstrated how I see setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. There is always a creative solution to a problem, no matter what it is, and I genuinely love searching for it and working with a team to find it. One particular instance that comes to mind was when previous coworkers from my last job were upset and worried about budget cuts to our IT department. I brainstormed a few clever ways to maintain some of our resources on a tiny budget. They ended up being implemented, and everyone was delighted with the result.

Example five

I think my past coworkers would describe me as hardworking and attentive. At my previous job in food service, I would clean up around the soda counter when I was about to break. It takes so little time and energy to tidy up, even if you’re not on the clock. I didn’t know this at the time, but the shop manager saw me do this. He approached me later and told me that he sees a hardworking employee when he sees actions like that. It really made me feel good about myself, and I’m confident that I can bring my hard-working nature to this position as well!

Example six

I’d like to think my colleagues from my last position would describe me as a professional. I was usually on time for every shift, dressed appropriately, and reached my deadlines. I certainly wasn’t perfect, but I had a goal in mind every time I clocked into work: I was there to do a job and commit to a set of tasks, and I wasn’t going to leave until those tasks were performed properly. I was also very loyal to my team, and while I miss them now, I’m ready to bring my professionalism to this new team at this company.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, Dice.com, WorkWise, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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