The interview is flowing nicely, you’ve aced your answers, and the future looks bright. Until this question pops up: “What three words would your co-workers use to describe you?”
You haven’t thought about it before, so you stumble. You’ve been thinking from your own perspective this whole time, so switching gears to someone else’s point of view is tough.
Avoiding this awkward interview situation is simple: just prepare beforehand. Not sure how? We’ve got you covered.
- Ask Your Co-Workers What They Think of You
This is the simplest place to start. One of the reasons interviewers ask this question is because they want to know how you could fit into their team.
And the easiest way to figure out what people think of you is to go straight to the source! Find a few co-workers or friends you’re close with (and your boss if you’re comfortable with that) and ask them what they think of you as a teammate. You don’t have to use these responses verbatim, but they should inspire your answer.
- Make a List of Your Own Strengths
Employers also ask this question to get an idea of what you think your strengths are. Another way of asking the question would be “what do you think other people think your strengths are?” They may be trying to get a more honest answer than with “tell me your top strengths and weaknesses.”
So, once you have a list of the words your co-workers used to describe you, make a list of your own. Then compare both lists and come up with a new one that incorporates both.
- Back Up Each Word with Specifics
Now that you have a list of words, come up with small story snippets for each one. You need evidence to back up your adjectives. For instance, if “innovative” was one of your words, mention a unique idea you had that furthered the company’s objectives. Just make sure to keep things short, simple, and to the point.
Once you get that final list of words, weed out anything generic or baseline. Words like “hardworking,” “responsible,” or “organizational” don’t make you stand out and are expected of any new hire. Instead, opt for words that describe you, specifically, like “innovative,” “detail-driven,” etc.
For more in our Answering the Interview Question series, check out:
Do you have any other ways to answer this question? Let us know in the comments section below!