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Interviews can be tricky to navigate. Each potential employer is looking for certain personality traits and skills that will benefit the company. Questions that expose your work ethic or ability to perform well at a job are common but can leave you hesitating on how to answer. Don't get tripped up on questions such as these; answer them honestly. You never know when your interviewer will actually call your former boss. Practice your answers ahead of time so you're not caught off guard and instead are able to impress with how easily you provide information about what a past employer would say about you.
If Your Boss Didn't Like You
Answering questions about a former boss is touchy, especially if a former boss wasn't a big fan of yours. Still, you want to answer the question honestly while putting a positive spin on it. For example, if you are aware that your former boss didn't like you because you were high maintenance and asked too many questions, turn that into a good thing. Explain that you like to make sure you're doing things correctly, so you frequently double check your work -- and that you're a curious person who asks questions when necessary.
If Your Boss Thought You Were Amazing
In some cases, you may have had a great relationship with a previous manager. If this is your fortunate story, shower your interviewer with everything your former boss loved about you. Describe how he liked that you were always on time and that you frequently stayed late to complete projects. Or, explain how he would portray you as the go-to person at the office. However, don't go overboard with bragging -- that may make you look like you're overcompensating or hiding something. Be honest but humble.
If You Suddenly Quit
If you suddenly left your last job, be careful how you answer this question during an interview. If your interviewer does call your former boss, the sting of your departure may affect his answers. However, spin your leaving into a positive thing. You could explain that your former boss would say that you follow your dreams and are passionate. If you want to allude to the fact that you quit your last position, one way to explain it is to say that you are a calculated risk taker and know how to make swift decisions. When choosing what qualities to describe, take into account the job you're interviewing for and how these qualities would fit in to your new position, too.
If You Were Fired
In the unfortunate case you were fired from your last job, answering the question about what a former boss would say about you isn't easy, but still conquerable. Distract from the fact that you were dismissed and concentrate on what you did well. For example, if you were let go because you were chatty, explain that your former boss would say you are the type of person who has never met a stranger and you would be good at sales. However, don't be dishonest if asked directly about your termination, and let the interviewer know you learned to be a better employee from the situation.
Based in the Midwest, Gina Scott has been writing professionally since 2008. She has worked in real estate since 2004 and has expertise in pop culture and health-related topics. She has also self-published a book on how to overcome chronic health conditions. Scott holds a Master of Arts in higher-education administration from Ball State University.