Job Interview Question

How was your working relationship with your previous supervisor?

How To Answer Interview Questions Series

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How was your working relationship with your last boss?  This is an attitude question for sure.  They don’t really care about your last boss, they care about you.  Hiring managers know that past behavior predicts future performance, so they are very interested in your answer.  Are you going to trash your old boss?  Are you going to complain about how you were misunderstood?  Or are you going to talk about how much you learned?

This is a pretty standard job interview question, so make sure you’re ready for it.

Hopefully, this is an easy one because you got along great.  Even if that’s true, it’s important that you elaborate a little bit on what you learned from that person that will help you succeed in this new job.  The hiring manager doesn’t want to only hear, “Great!”

Your being ‘coachable’ is a big deal to your future manager.  They want someone who is willing to learn and who can take criticism and improve.

Even if you didn’t get along so well with your last boss, it’s important to try to keep this answer positive without lying about it.  You should never out and out lie—first, it’s just not a good thing and second, very few people can lie without setting off some signal you’re lying in the hiring manager’s subconscious mind.

canstockphoto3149152Think about the positive things you learned from that relationship and talk about that.  There’s got to be something.  Any kind of negativity from you in the interview only reflects badly on YOU.  It makes you look like a whiner or complainer.  But you can sort of turn lemons into lemonade.

If there was a real personality clash, you can say, “Our personalities were very different, so at times it was difficult for me, but it taught me a lot about how to adapt to another person’s work style and made me a more well-rounded person.”

You might have to ponder that for a while to be able to come up with something positive if you worked for the Boss from Hell, but it’s worth it.  Being able to maintain a positive outlook and response even in the face of a difficult or stressful job situation is a huge plus for you.

And always remember that your focus is to sell yourself for this job, so try to bring it back around to how what you learned at that job from that boss will contribute to your success in this one.

If you do have a difficult situation you can’t think of a way to talk about positively, consider hiring a career coach to help you.



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