How Would You Feel About Working For Someone Who Knows Less Than You?

During a job interview, a hiring manager may ask you a question like, “How would you feel about working for someone who knows less than you”

In asking this question, the hiring manager is trying to get a sense of how you view yourself. She wants to see if you are self-deprecating, confident or cocky. Your answer to this question reveals just as much about yourself as it does about how you view other people. Therefore, whatever you say helps the manager determine how well you would work with others if given the job.

Points to Emphasize

You’ll want to tread lightly when responding to this question in order to have the best response possible.

  • Emphasize your belief that there are different kinds of knowledge.

  • Say that no matter who the supervisor is, you’re sure that he has a lot he can teach you.

  • Mention your conviction about the importance of supervisors and staff learning from one another.

  • Make sure the hiring manager knows you believe someone wouldn’t have a supervisory role without being knowledgeable him- or herself.

    When you answer this question, focus on shared knowledge and community rather than believing that there is a hierarchy of intelligence.

    Mistakes You Should Avoid

    This question can throw you off if you’re not prepared. These guidelines will help you avoid common mistakes:

  • Don’t say that you wouldn’t be okay with working for someone who knows less than you do.

  • Avoid implying that you would be humbling yourself by allowing someone who knows less than you do to manage you.

  • Don’t stick to arbitrary measures of knowledge like test scores, education, etc.

  • Never use this opportunity to try to demonstrate your superior knowledge.

    The hiring manager wants someone who believes that others have value, so you’ll want to make sure that you don’t sound belittling or pompous in your answer.

    Sample Answer

    A great answer to a question about working for someone who knows less than you is as follows:

    I believe that there isn’t just one type of knowledge. For instance, someone can be book smart and another can be people smart. I think the best kind of supervisor/worker relationship is one where both people balance each other out and where they both feel that they have things they can learn from each other.

    It’s the hiring manager’s job to find out how you would fit into the workplace, and asking this question is one of the ways she can gauge your view of yourself and others.

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