In brief: “Establishing good communication with others in the workplace is vital for an effective workers’ performance and essential in today’s competitive market. When hiring employees, one of the most important personal traits that employers want to observe is the interpersonal skills, also called personal communication skills. Therefore, some job interview questions are targeted to find out more about these qualities, one can be – ‘how others describe you?’ “.
During the interview, the interviewer and the company not only tries to find out whether the candidate has the relevant experience and knowledge for the job, but will also try to find out whether he (or she) is the ‘best person’ for the job having the required complementary skills.
To this end, the interviewer may ask several questions related to the lifestyle, psyche, personal traits and general attitude of the interviewee. One of these questions is: ‘how your friends or colleagues would describe you?’ and about your relationship with co-workers.
Asking this question, the interviewer wants to hear more about you in the eyes of others verifying if you are ‘people oriented’ person who can also speak openly/frankly about himself.
Answering the question
You want to answer to the point rather than missing it out altogether. Keep in mind the position requirement when answering – What kind of a person they are really looking for?
You can divide your answer into two parts –
1. Communication skills:
Colleagues who worked close to me (or from my team) can tell that I am friendly, loyal to friends, cooperating, listener, respectful, honest, empathetic, caring and ready to help and always go the extra mile to help out.
People that I supervised would describe me as a coacher, ready to listen, strong advocator for their good performance, dream/goal chaser and a person who they are ready to follow.
2. Other good strength for managing/working style:
My co-workers and friends would describe me as hard worker, determined, good planner, professional, flexible, tolerant and a quick learner.
Tips: How would your past co-workers describe you?
Here are tips to answer the question.
You can never cast more doubts onto your answer, if you sound unconfident, unclear or uncertain about what people would say about you. Don’t start your answer using the phrase ‘I think my colleagues would tell that ..’ . You don’t ‘think’ you are sure.
The interviewer most probably means that he want to know how would your colleagues describe you rather than your friends even if asking about friends, because they wouldn’t be interested in your personal life, at least for now.
Therefore, when asked about how your friends would describe you, try to keep the description as professional as possible. Do not try to implement any factors of your personal life, like being jovial, adventurous, easy to get along with, etc.
When asked about how your co workers would describe you, be concise and not say anything that would be considered as ambiguous.
Remember that the person who is interviewing you could be your future supervisor, so you should definitely give a thoughtful answer in describing how you believe colleagues would describe you.
Another important aspect to remember why answering this, and any type of interview question is to provide facts and truthful information.
You never want to place yourself in a position where you tell something that is not true and it could be discovered later.
Most of this information would be cross checked, and some of it may even be used to take decisions about you. For example, if you tend to describe that you have leadership qualities, there are many chances that they might consider you for leadership positions now or in the future of working with the company.
Keep in mind that if you are asked for referrals, these questions might be asked to those referrals too. Of course, you cannot tutor all your referrals about how they should reply to any questions and therefore you should only give out information that would be agreeable by all.