Employers want to know what kind of worker you are before they hire you. For this reason, they ask various questions related to your current and past positions to see what kind of work you have done previously. Amongst common work questions, "Where do you and your supervisor fit into the organizational structure" is one you might here during an interview.
When an interviewer asks this question, they are trying to gauge your abilities and capacity as an employee. If another employer has entrusted you with a high position, an interviewer is more likely to fulfill the needs of their position. To ensure that you are perceived in such a light, you want to properly answer this question.
Points to Emphasize
Here are a few points that you should emphasize when answering this question.
- Clearly state yours and your supervisor's positions within the company.
- Focus on explaining your duties and contributions within your current position.
- If you have received any acknowledgements or awards, highlight them.
- Share any duties that your supervisor may have passed on to you or any supervisory tasks that you have fulfilled.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Answering this question incorrectly can make you appear untruthful. To avoid this or any other negative portrayals, strive to avoid the following mistakes and pitfalls.
- Do not lie about your position or your supervisor's position, even if you are not closely managed.
- Do not spend much time elaborating on your supervisor's duties.
- Even if your relationship with your supervisor is not the best, do not talk about the negative aspects of your relationship.
- Stay away from talking about tasks and duties that are not related to the position you are applying for.
One way to properly answer the question could be similar to this:
In the organizational structure, my supervisor is the main assistant to the CEO and lead lawyer of the firm, and I am his assistant. I assist my supervisor in supporting the needs of the lawyer by answering phone calls, greeting clients and maintaining files. Through working closely with my supervisor, I have been acknowledged for my attention to detail and organizational abilities, and have been given additional duties, including researching and compiling the results in reports. I believe that these experiences have prepared me for this position.
Make sure that you paint a clear picture of your current position, the duties you fulfill and how they relate to the job you are applying for.