Talking about your former bosses to your potential boss in a job interview can be tricky.
Here are 4 questions you might be asked from a former boss along with great answers.
Have you had a hard time working with a supervisor or manager?
We all know that we should not answer an interview question negatively, but what do we do when a practical question demands a negative answer? Do not be negative.
It will say more about your attitude than it does about your relationship with your old boss. If you can really say you’ve never had a problem, then say so. If not, give a neutral or positive answer, such as: “In my first job, I had a little problem. I didn’t know enough to live up to expectations before I started, and it ended up being a problem.
Someone with more experience than me advised me to talk to my boss about what was happening. That turned out to be the best thing I could have done, because we cleared the air and were able to move forward. It turned out to be a great lesson for me on the importance of clear communication from the beginning.
An answer like this is a very positive one. He doesn’t blame the boss, and he’s very relatable. Who has not had problems due to lack of communication or unclear expectations? Most importantly, this answer tells him what you have learned from him and how you became better as a result of that experience.
Who was your best former bosses and who was the worst?
When talking about the best boss, a great response will focus on what you have learned from that person that will help you succeed in this new job. For example: “I have had some great bosses from whom I have learned a lot. One in particular was… ”and then you can talk about a skill, a good habit, or something else that contributes to your success in this new job.
When talking about the worst boss, you need to stay positive. As much as possible, avoid specifics with this answer and focus on communicating that you are adaptable to a wide variety of people. You can say something like, “I once had a boss who was hired after working there for a while, and our communication styles were very different. I got along well with him, and I was successful at my job, but it wasn’t like other relationships I’ve had with other managers. ” You are not badmouthing this person, and you point out that you were able to get along and be successful.
Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss about how something should be done.
Probably no one who has ever worked in history agreed 100% with the boss on how everything should be done. This is a good opportunity to explain how you can be diplomatic and respectful and present an idea without attacking someone else.
A great response might sound something like: “My boss made the decision to move forward on something that I could see would cause us a lot of trouble in the future. So, I went to him and told him about my concerns, along with some alternative ideas. He appreciated that I came up with well thought out solutions, and ended up implementing one of my ideas. Everything went well, and we achieved the desired results ”.
Every time you tell a story, make sure you end up with the results you got. This is important for hiring managers.
What would your former bosses say about the areas where you need more development?
This is another version of “What is your greatest weakness?”. The best answer to this question (as with any question about your weaknesses) is to give an answer that is clearly a weakness, but will not harm your job performance in this new position. For example, I was in sales, so impatience was always my weakness. Impatience is a problem in my personal life (just ask my kids), but it drives me to make the sale.
If your current boss will be one of your references, talk to him or her first and make sure they both convey the same message.
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