‘What would your friends say about you?’ is one of the most commonly asked questions during job interviews. In this blog, Carol, Gillian, Niall and Suzanne give their tips and advice on how to approach answering this interview question.

Carol – Keep it professional

If and when asked the interview question ‘How would your friends describe you’,  You should always give a professional reply throughout your interview. Think about what type of person the Client is seeking and answer as honestly as you can. If you believe yourself to be a ‘completer/finisher’ – someone that can always be relied on to get the job done and you feel your friends would agree – well then say so, and always follow through with a short, sharp explanation to your answer. For example, ‘I believe my friends would describe me as very reliable, because I’m always the one they can count on to organise an event or to turn up on time, or do whatever is needed every time’. By using a word which can be translated into a professional context, you are adding more emphasis to the strength of the positive, professional person that you are and that is what the interviewer wants to see.


Gillian – Be concise. Don’t Ramble in an Interview

This question, along with “how would your current/previous manager describe you” and “how would your current/previous work colleagues describe you”, are going to be in most hiring managers’ arsenal of questions so it’s important to be prepared for it. During the interview, the interviewer 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/she also has the required complementary skills. Keep your answers brief, and avoid the tendency that most people have to ramble on when asked this question. interview

Have 2 -3 bullet points ready.  Needless to say, this is your opportunity to spell out your best qualities, so keep it positive and be prepared to back them up with examples and keep it relevant to the job you are interviewing for! Good examples of qualities to talk about include, a good organiser, a reliable person, friendly and energetic, loyal, etc. There is no need to highlight any weaknesses here, that’s probably going to be interviewer’s next question!


Niall – Actually ask your friends and colleagues

The questiointerviewn of “How would your friends describe you” is not a question to be feared.

This question gives you licence to match your key qualities to the specification requirements that are on the job spec.  This question gives you a great opportunity to tell the interview panel about your qualities both work related and personal, and allows you to demonstrate how they would overlap with the role and what a great asset you are to any working environment.

One really good way to prepare for this question is to actually ask your friends or colleagues to describe your strengths and weaknesses. This is useful as they may come up with some personal qualities that you were not aware of and you could improve on.

You may be pleasantly surprised by what they tell you about yourself!


Suzanne – Think about what YOU would say about you

As a recruiter, I often ask this question when I’m conducting an interview. It is designed to see how you handle the touchy feely type of people-based emotional questions. From my experience, the best way to answer this is not to focus solely on the third party in the question e.g. ‘Friends’, ‘Colleaginterviewues’, ‘Manager’s’ etc. but to also focus your answer around how ‘YOU’ would describe yourself. Focus on your key strengths and your positive dispositions.  You can change the order of your answer to suit the job you are interviewing for. So for example, if you are interviewing for a finance based role, you need to focus on your numerical strengths and could say something like, “My friends would say I’m very numerically minded, etc.”

Remain positive at all times and remember the power of a smile. This will do wonders to reconfirm that you are a positive person.

Good Luck with your interview preparation!

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