Tough Interview Question - What would your past manager say about you?

What would your past manager say about you?

Similar interview questions:
What would your professor say about you as a student?
How were you rated at your most recent performance appraisal?
What will your reference say about you when I call?
What feedback did you get for improvement in your last performance review?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer is effectively asking for how you were rated or reviewed in your performance by your past manager. This is a TORC (Threat of Reference Check) question.

The best approach to answering this question:
If you have done your homework in advance, you have already asked for letters of recommendation by past managers and/or professors. This provides you with the “show me” validation of your response. Use the information in the letter of recommendation as the lead in to your answer, then show them the actual letter of recommendation.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"My last manager said that I was one of the best hires he had made in his career. He said that I was the go to person to get things accomplished and delivered on our team. I know that he would say I was one of the best professionals he has worked for in his career. How do I know this? Because that is what he said in the letter of recommendation he wrote for me. Would you like a copy?"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"My manager for my internship last summer said that I was the best intern she had managed during her tenure as a manager. She said that I got far more accomplished and delivered than any other intern she had worked with previously. I know that she would say she would love to work again with me in the future. How do I know this? Because that is what she said in the letter or recommendation she wrote for me. Would you like a copy?"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"Well, I didn’t really like my last boss that much. We didn’t really get along. That’s the reason I’m looking for a new job is because of my last boss."


Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!


Further review: know the answers to these Fifty Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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