How Would Your Colleagues Describe Your Personality?

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There are several standard interview questions for which you should have strong answers prepared, including ones about your work experience and personality. Most applicants are not prepared for questions about their personality, despite certain personality traits having been listed as desirable in the job posting. Interviewers often ask, “How would your colleagues describe your personality?” for many possible reasons, including:

  1. To get a sense of your self-perception
  2. To compare your self-assessment to how your references described you
  3. To assess your soft skills to determine how well you’d fit into their group dynamic and company culture

How to Answer Interview Questions About Your Personality

This seemingly straightforward question is an opportunity for you to share your best traits. Are you dependable? Trustworthy? Flexible? Focus on the skills and attributes that would make you an asset to the organization.

To answer this interview question effectively, you should know what your colleagues believe you bring to the table. Think back to any instances in which a colleague commended you, such as when you were a great team player on a project or when you demonstrated kindness by helping a struggling employee. Read reference letters written for you, LinkedIn endorsements, or performance reviews. If you want to dig deeper, simply ask your co-workers how they would describe you.

Their answers may reveal strengths you otherwise wouldn’t have considered or areas for improvement.

Next, list all the data you have collected and condense it into short bullets by looking for patterns within the feedback. Once complete, go back to the original job posting and choose one or two traits that overlap with the description.

If you cannot remember or find any specific feedback (either formal or informal) and are unemployed, list what you think your top five strengths are and expand on how you demonstrate each of them. Remember to select the traits related to the job listing.

Tips for What to Say

A strong answer to the question "How would your colleagues describe your personality?” requires two parts:

  1. Highlight one personality trait at a time, sharing an example of a time when you demonstrated this quality. Storytelling is an opportunity to display confidence, charisma, and strong interpersonal skills.
  2. Focus on the personality traits that are applicable to the job for which you are applying. Of course, be positive, but make sure you are honest and humble also, as these virtues are highly valued in the workforce. Moreover, embellishing your assets or flat-out lying could land you in a company culture that is incompatible with your true nature.

Examples of the Best Answers

A good answer to this question will not only show off a positive personality trait but will also explain to the interviewer how this personality trait will allow you to excel at the position to which you are applying.

  • My colleagues have told me that I am extremely organized and excellent at time management. During one project, my team members praised me for developing and sticking to a timeline for all the phases of the project. (Give a brief summary of what the project was.) We ended up successfully completing it ahead of time, and it was a hit!
     
  • My colleagues would say that I am very optimistic, as I see setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. There is always a creative solution to a problem, and I love searching for it. One instance that comes to mind was when colleagues from my last job were upset about budget cuts to our department, and I devised a few clever ways to maintain some of our resources on a shoestring budget. They ended up being implemented.
     
  • I’ve been told that I am both a strong leader and a team player. In fact, one colleague offered to write me a personal letter of reference at one point because of my strong team leadership. He was impressed by my ability to effectively lead a group of colleagues while also listening to and considering everyone’s input as we determined the best plan of action for this new company initiative. ​(Give a brief summary of the initiative and the outcome.)

Related Interview Questions

“How would your colleagues describe your personality?” is just one of many interview questions related to teamwork for which you should have answers prepared. Other typical questions include, "Have you ever had difficulty working with a manager?" and "Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?"

Have Questions Ready to Ask

While your interviewer is listening and reacting to your answers to assess your potential within the company, pay careful attention to the interviewer's verbal and nonverbal communication to evaluate the same thing.

Finally, be ready to ask the interviewer questions to both showcase your inquisitive side and determine if this is a company culture in which you would thrive.