A relatively common question that you should be prepared to answer in a job interview is “how would your friends describe you”.
It’s a bit of a different one in that it isn’t focused as much on your specific experience or work history, but is more of a probing question around how people perceive your character and tendencies.
With it being a bit different than your typical interview question, it’s one that can catch you off guard if you’re not prepared.
To that end, this article is going to provide best practices, sourced from a variety of different career experts. for answering the “how would your friends describe you” interview question.
Let’s dive in.
- 1 Tips for Answering “How Would Your Friends Describe You” Interview Question
- 1.1 1. Be specific and avoid general, vague descriptors that could apply to almost anyone.
- 1.2 2. Only discuss potential weaknesses if you’re framing them in a positive way.
- 1.3 3. Keep the answer related to skills or traits that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- 1.4 4. Be anecdotal with your response.
- 2 Example Answers for “How Would Your Friends Describe You”
- 3 Why Employers Ask “How Would Your Friends Describe You”
- 4 Things to Avoid When Answering “How Would Your Friends Describe You”
- 5 Conclusion
Tips for Answering “How Would Your Friends Describe You” Interview Question
Our first three tips for how to answer “how would your friends describe you” come from Matt Erhard, Managing Partner, Summit Search Group. Our fourth and final tip is from Emily Onkey, Co-Founder and CMO, Aplos.
Here is what they have to recommend:
1. Be specific and avoid general, vague descriptors that could apply to almost anyone.
Don’t just say “my friends would describe me as a good communicator”—give more context to show why. Something like, “My friends would describe me as the group’s confidant and mediator because I’m the go-to person when someone needs a supportive ear to vent to and often step in to resolve disagreements between my friends.” This gives the interviewer more context for the types of skills you’d bring to the workplace.
2. Only discuss potential weaknesses if you’re framing them in a positive way.
For example, something like “My friends might say I’m a workaholic because I’m always willing to take on extra shifts and think about my projects even when I’m off the clock, but the truth is I’m just so passionate about what I do that it’s sometimes hard for me to step away from it.”
If you’re bringing up an interest or hobby from your personal life, relate that back to the workplace. So, for example, you could say something like “My friends would describe me as a leader because I’m the one who takes charge on and off the field in our intramural softball league.” That lets you still bring up something you do outside of work, but in a way that still shows value as a potential employee.
4. Be anecdotal with your response.
Provide a specific example of something complimentary your friend said to you after you did something. You can probably get away with putting a flattering spin on it, but your story should be unique and rooted in something that really did happen to you.
If you have a friend who once told you something like, “You know how to find the good in people.” Explain what transpired beforehand that prompted your friend to say that to you.
Example Answers for “How Would Your Friends Describe You”
Below, Barry Maher of Barry Maher & Associates shares the best response and work responses that he ever heard to the “how would a friend describe you” question:
If they knew my current mindset, they’d say I’m someone who’s determined to become one of the best hires you’ve ever made. Then the woman proceeded to explain, point by point, in chronological order of her life, all the reasons why a friend would think she was perfect for the position, demonstrating the research she’d done on the company and the specific position and how much preparation she’d done for the interview.
The worst? That came from a young man who seemed surprised by the question, looked around in confusion and then smiled as if he’d come up with the perfect answer and said, Why don’t you tell me about yourself first? Showing just how unprepared he was for the interview and, we assumed, the job.
Why Employers Ask “How Would Your Friends Describe You”
A potential employer might ask this question to gain insights into your personality, interpersonal skills, and how you might fit into their work culture. It helps them assess qualities such as teamwork, reliability, communication, and leadership potential. Your response offers a glimpse into how others perceive you, providing additional context beyond your own self-assessment.”
The above content was provide by Melanie Mitchell Wexler, Career Coach.
Things to Avoid When Answering “How Would Your Friends Describe You”
During a job interview, when asked how your friends would describe you, it’s important to avoid certain pitfalls to present yourself in the best possible light. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Don’t come across as boastful or arrogant.
Highlight your positive qualities, but avoid exaggerating or boasting about yourself. Instead, provide genuine and humble insights into your character.
2. Avoid giving vague or generic responses.
Employers are looking for authentic and meaningful answers that illustrate your personality and interpersonal skills. Be prepared with specific examples or anecdotes.
3. Connect your qualities to the requirements of the job.
This shows that you can transfer and apply your interpersonal skills in a professional setting. Explain how your traits would contribute to teamwork, collaboration, and job performance.
4. Be open to constructive feedback.
If your friends have given you criticism or areas for improvement, acknowledge them and discuss how you actively seek to develop and improve.
5. Keep your response positive and relevant.
Avoid mentioning negative aspects or traits that may raise concerns. Keep your answer professional and aligned with the job requirements.
The above content was provided by Adam Garcia, CEO, The Stock Dork.
“How would your friends describe you” can be a tricky job interview question that often catches people off guard.
That makes it all the more important to think through your response, prepare your answer, and be ready to go for if and when you receive the question.