How Would Your Boss Describe You

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: October 26, 2022

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Most interviews will include the commonly asked “how would your boss describe you” question. Some hiring managers may ask it a little differently. You could get the “if I talked to your boss about you- what would s/he say”- or “what are three positive things your boss would say about you” interview questions instead. These queries are all trying to get to the same piece of information- even though they sound different. In order to better understand what you should say- you have to know why the inquiry is being made.

When an employer asks this- he or she wants to determine whether you have the ability to view yourself from an outside perspective. The interviewer may also be looking for some insight into you as an employee. If you give a glowing description of yourself- the hiring manager may think you cannot be impartial. To really impress the interviewer- you need to practice an answer that is neither over- nor under-confident.

How to Answer the “How Would Your Boss Describe You” Interview Question

Give a quote

Preparing for an interview is an extremely important step. For example- if you research commonly asked interview questions- you will discover you may be asked to describe what your boss thinks of you. You can do this with complete accuracy if you had the wherewithal to ask your boss for a letter of recommendation before the interview. You can read a quote from the recommendation to give the hiring manager a clear picture of what your supervisor thinks of you. Giving a quote makes your answer seem less like you’re bragging and more like you’re being honest. You could also talk about your most recent evaluation as a way to deduce what your boss might say about you.

Name Important Traits

You could also consider listing a few of your most important traits. Because you want to really emphasize how well you would fit in at the company- you may want to do some research to find out what traits are most important to the business. Make sure you give an example of why your boss may use these traits to describe you. If you do go with this approach- inform the interviewer these are not direct quotes. You do not want to put words in the mouth of your old boss. This question may give you the opportunity you need to bring up some skills you have not yet had a chance to discuss.

Tell a story

You could also answer this particular interview question through a story. It is beneficial to answer inquiries with stories throughout the interview process because it makes your answers more memorable. Rather than rattling off a list of skills- you are tying an achievement to them. These stories may help keep you at the top of the hiring manager’s mind. When you are telling him or her what your old boss might think of you- you can use a similar strategy. Tell a story about your old job and conclude it by saying what your boss might think of you based on the particular exchange. As always- you want to give adequate details without making your answer too long. No matter what kind of story you tell- avoid saying you do not know what your boss might say about you because you never got to know him or her. This could give a bad impression of you to the interviewer.

Sample “How Would Your Boss Describe You” Interview Answers

1. My boss felt that consistent reviews are important for the professional development of all employees- so I actually have a fairly good idea of how my boss would describe me. I was consistently praised for my initiative and critical thinking skills in my reviews. As a database administrator- I was often tasked with planning and configuring database design. With new implementation there is always the possibility of trouble. I quickly and accurately troubleshot any design flaws to ensure the most efficient database possible.

2. I think my boss would talk about my three most positive traits: hard-working- knowledgeable and up for a challenge. I have always been one to take pride in my job- so I am willing to put in long hours to ensure the projects get done in a timely manner. My boss always praised that about me. I also work hard to stay current on industry technologies by attending workshops and conferences. Because of this desire to learn- my boss and other colleagues always turned to me if they had any questions about industry standards. Finally- I am up for a challenge because I am willing to take on projects and tasks that I am not entirely familiar with. If a new client came to us- my boss would often approach me to see if I was interested in being a part of the team.

With these sample answers and a better insight into common interview questions- you are likely better prepared to tell the interviewer what your boss- colleague or professor thinks about you.

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