How Would Your Colleagues Describe Your Personality?

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Interviewers ask the question “How would your colleagues describe your personality?” for a number of reasons. Even though this question refers to your colleagues, the employer might actually want to see how you view yourself.

He or she may want to compare your self-assessment to what your references said about you. The employer might also want to assess whether or not you have the soft skills to fit in with future co-workers.

No matter the reason, make sure your answer is honest but positive, and focused on the skills and personality traits required for the job.

How to Answer Interview Questions About Your Personality

The best way to answer this question is to actually know what your colleagues think about your personality in the workplace. Think back to any times that a colleague has praised an aspect of your personality, such as when you were a great team player on a project, or when you demonstrated kindness and helped a struggling employee. Perhaps a colleague once wrote a reference letter for you, or endorsed you on LinkedIn. Make a list of all the feedback you have received from co-workers.

Next, look at the job listing for the position you’re applying for. Circle any feedback on your list that is similar to a quality or trait the job listing mentions. Select one or two qualities to include in your answer.

If you cannot remember any particular feedback (either formal or informal) from your colleagues, write down some of your strongest qualities, and circle the ones that relate to the job listing.

Tips for What to Say

A strong answer to this question requires two parts. First, state the personality trait your colleagues see in you.

Then, provide an example of a time you that you demonstrated this quality. If a co-worker complimented you on this trait because of something specific you did, mention this.

The goal is to focus on the positive aspects of your personality that relate to the job you are applying for. While you should focus on the positive, you want your answer to be honest too. By being honest, you can avoid taking a job with a company whose culture doesn’t work with your personality.

Examples of the Best Answers

  • My colleagues have told me that I am extremely organized and excellent at time management. During one team project, my team members praised me for developing and sticking to a timeline for all the phases of our project. We ended up successfully completing the project ahead of time.
  • My co-workers would say that I am very optimistic, and always look for creative solutions to problems. When many people at my former job were upset about budget cuts to our department, I devised a few clever ways to maintain some of our resources on this limited budget.
  • I’ve been told that I am both a strong leader and a team player. One colleague offered to write me a personal letter of reference once because of my strong team leadership. He was impressed by my ability to effectively lead a group of colleagues while simultaneously listening to and considering everyone’s input.

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