How you speak about your experience in your previous positions can tell an interviewer a lot about your personality, your job outlook and what they should expect from you if you are hired. “Describe the best supervisor you’ve ever had,” or “Who was your best boss and why” are common inferences that an interview might make.
When asking this question an interviewer is really trying to see how you assess work situations, and to see if you would be able to thrive with the company’s management style.
Points to Emphasize
When answering this question you want to show your versatility and ability to work with various types of people.
- If possible, generalize positive characteristics from more than one of your supervisors to show a positive outlook on management as a whole.
- Find a way to highlight your particular characteristics that helped you succeed under your supervisor.
- If you are aware of the management style of the company, focus on your experience with a supervisor that utilized that same style.
- Even if you did not have any supervisors that you particularly liked, find a way to focus on the positive traits of at least one of your previous managers.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Though this question may have you speaking about someone else, remember that the focus is still on you. Avoid these mistakes and pitfalls.
- Do not be vague in your answer, because it might appear that you are lying.
- Do not mention or dwell on any negative characteristics.
- Try not to ramble on about how great your previous supervisor was; this may raise question as to why you are not still in that position.
- Stay away from sounding critical of your previous supervisors.
Remember, the interviewer will be assuming that you would probably speak the same about them as you would about previous employers. Do not give them any reason to think you would speak negatively about them.
In answering this question, you might consider a response such as:
In general, I have had the opportunity to work with excellent management. I have always been able to effectively communicate with them and they would often acknowledge my hard work and dedication. However, if I would have to choose one I would say Mrs. Smith because she gave very constructive feedback when needed, which I believe has helped me to further hone my skills.
Try to keep your answer general and show your versatility and ability to work with and succeed under different management types.