Welcome back to our on-going series on those simple-sounding, yet tricky to answer interview opener questions; ‘Top-5 ice breaker inquiries and also just how to handle them’.

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In this week’s episode, we tackle the topic of speaking on befifty percent of other people about yourself. Yes, it’s time for:

“What would your boss say about you?”

In a similar fashion to some of the various other concerns we’ve extended in this series, you should tread rather a fine line with the answer to this. Too flippant and you won’t convince the interviewer and also you’ll leave yourself open up for probing follow up inquiries, or the usual “why do you think they would certainly say that?”. Too detailed and also individual, or negative, and you danger turning the employer off altogether. Aacquire, we’ve looked at the digital advice and also guides on how to answer this question and also once aobtain, it’s a really combined bag. So, let’s dive in and check out howwewould certainly pertained to the ideal answer(s):


The question can be asked in a variety of ways, falling right into four major categories:

Confident version. Example: “Name 3 positive things your last manager would certainly say around you”

Neutral version. Example: “What would certainly your colleagues say you are choose to occupational with?”

Negative version. Example: “What location would your boss say you should boost on?”

Positive/negative version. Example: “How would certainly your manager define you, both positively and negatively?”

What’s being assessed here?

This question is probing your capacity to see yourself from one more person’s perspective, and offering the interviewer some pointers regarding what you might be choose as an employee. The question is really asking you to assess yourself in your existing task, through some referral to just how you interact via others about you.

Let’s also quickly resolve some confusion that we’ve viewed digital. The question is not asking you what the CEO of your existing firm (that you may never before have actually met) would certainly say about you. It’s referring to your line manager, or senior manager with whom you have a reporting line. But just to make this clear, you deserve to describe them directly in your answer, as we’ll describe in the examples.

How to answer?

This question is exciting in that it have the right to have fairly a broad array of responses, depending on how the question is phrased.

Referring to the four categories we outlined previously, responses can be offered along these lines:

Confident version. This is your chance to show off, although not to over-step the note right into bragging. Focus on the positives and also how you’ve really added to your team and also your firm. Your boss may only have actually positive points to say, and if they’ve gave you with a letter of referral, now is the moment to roll this out as evidence

Neutral variation. Again, focus on the positives. No must sell anything negative unless expressly asked for it. However, note that the negative variation can frequently be the follow-up to the positive or neutral variation – so it’s important to be fully ready, as we’ll describe below

Positive/negative variation. For this one, you’ll require a handful of positive points, and also one or 2 weakness areas to talk around (outnumber the negatives via the positives, for obvious reasons)


Whichever means you come to be asked this question, it’s clear you need to prepare some positive and negative points about your work-related suffer. As discussed, this is a time to shine and show off a tiny (without over-stepping into bragging territory), but you also must be all set via the negatives.

For positive and negative product, think around any reviews you’ve had, and also the positive and also development areas fed ago to you in those meetings. Think about successful project or tasks and any type of praise or referrals you obtained on the back of those. Think around training and advance that has actually been established for you, and also any kind of times there’s been difficulties and also problems at occupational and how those have actually been reresolved.

Essentially, you must prepare product for the positive versions, and carry out your ‘weakness’ question preparation from our last blog short article to cover the negative points. In reality, the two concerns are so closely attached, it’s ideal to prepare both at the exact same time.

Five rules of thumb

The 5 rules of thumb to answer this question are:

Keep it brief. Once aobtain, as via all these ice-breaker inquiries, the vital to success is brevity. Don’t say so bit that it sounds favor you’re ducking or staying clear of the question. Equally, don’t launch right into a five-minute monologue about what a completely exceptional employee you are. It’s fine to show off a tiny right here, however remember that nobody likes a bragger

Be realistic. Think around both the areas in which you’ve excelled and also been praised for, means in which you’ve really assisted your team and also made considerable contributions to a project, yet additionally areas where you could improve

Use examples. Wright here you can, use examples to ago up why your boss would say particular points around you. Evidence-based answers are constantly the most exceptional and well got. Evidence have the right to encompass testimonial comments, reading excerpts from letters of recommendation, or relaying comments that have actually been made at work during or after projects

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Don’t say you don’t know, you never view your boss, or emphasis on the negatives – none of this is useful. If the question just asks around negatives, answer it as a weakness question and go on to define steps taken to enhance this location. Never before leave answers as just as a negative

Be hocolony.

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Don’t foracquire that prior to you acquire an market, the hiring firm will seek referrals. So, your answer will should at leastern partially match up with what your boss might actually say. Aacquire, this is an excellent argument for utilizing referrals and also review product to craft your answer

Pro Tip: Have 3 positives and also 3 weaknesses ready

This way you are all set for any kind of variations of the question.

Try an instance 1: positive version


“Can you tell me three positive points your boss could say around you?”


“I think my director would say I’m diligent, knowledgeable and an excellent leader. Diligent bereason I take pride in our work-related and also so I’ll pull out all the stops to accomplish a deadline, then very closely follow approximately make certain whatever is functioning well for the customer. My director has actually had actually good customer feedago because of this. Knowledgeable bereason I’m exceptionally interested in my topic location and store up-to-day via industry topics, trends and advancements. I attend conferences and also workshops when I can, and also my boss has actually sassist this really helps the team once I bring new expertise ago to them. And ultimately, a good leader bereason I always make certain to carry every member of the team together on jobs, play to their strengths and save them urged, and this has come up several times in 360 feedago sessions”

Let’s look at what this reply tells us:

It mentions the director – so there’s no confusion

It’s brief and also offers 3 points, as asked for

It’s honest and also believable – evidence is supplied from customer feedago, manager feedback and also 360 feedback

It’s altruistic – it’s all for the advantage of the team, not just around the individual

It concentrates on core soft skills – diligence, discovering ability, leadership

It creates a USP; “I’m the one that brings earlier brand-new learning and also IP into the team”

Try an instance 2: neutral version


“So, what execute you think your boss would certainly say about you?”


“Well, I recently had a review with my divisional manager, so I have a pretty great principle of what she could say. Across reviews, my capacity to show initiative and also important thinking have been brought up by her as solid points, as well as my capability to pull together and also motivate the team when leading a task. As a CRM remedies consultant, I plan and also connumber remedies designed to customer needs and through the implementation phase, I’ve always been quick to determine and also solve troubles and also store customers happy. Rather than throwing the trouble back to the team, I constantly attempt to carry out what I can initially, and also I know this has been appreciated greater up.”

Let’s look at what this reply tells us:

It mentions the divisional manager – so there’s no confusion

It’s brief and also offers three primary points, just favor the positive answer above

It’s hocolony and believable – evidence is supplied from testimonial sessions

It’s altruistic – it’s all for the benefit of the team, specifically by reducing their workload

It concentrates on core soft skills – initiative, critical thinking, leadership

It creates a USP. “I’m the one who tackles difficulties head on and also conserves the team a headache”

Try an instance 3: negative version


“What area would your boss say you must boost on?”

Note:Treat this as the fullweaknessquestion – see our previous blog post for examples

Try an instance 4: positive/negative version


“How would your boss define you, both positive and negative?”

Note:So, for this one, we can combine the positive answer (from above), via a weakness answer (from our previous blog post), and also come up through this:


“I think my director would say I’m diligent and knowledgeable. Diligent bereason I take pride in our occupational and also constantly meet a deadline, then carefully follow up with the customer – my director has had excellent customer feedago because of this. Knowledgeable bereason I’m very interested in my subject location and also store as much as date via market topics and also trends, attending conferences and also workshops. My director states this really helps the team to remain current. On the other hand, I have sometimes uncovered it tough to share what I’m involved on with others in the team because I’ve tended to think I deserve to perform a better project. This came up in a 360-feedback session via my director. So, I’ve been functioning on expertise colleagues more, trusting them and also sharing and also delegating obligations. This has actually freed me up to execute my own work-related better and also I’ve additionally learnt some various approaches to the same problems from others.”

Let’s look at what this reply tells us:

It mentions the director – so there’s no confusion

It’s brief and offers 3 primary points, 2 positive and also one negative (so skewed to positive)

It’s hoswarm and believable – evidence is gave from customers, manager feedago and also 360-feedearlier sessions

It’s altruistic – it’s all for the benefit of the team

It concentrates on core soft skills – diligence, learning ability, self-criticism, and also the advancement of team player abilities as a solution to feedback

It’s positive – the perkid has acted to remedy the weakness and also checked out a positive outcome from that

It creates a USP. “I carry new IP earlier right into the team and I recognize and overcome issues”