Tough Interview Questions - What would your co-workers say about you?

Following is a tough interview question:

What would your co-workers say about you?

Similar interview questions:
Would others on your team recommend you for this role? How are you viewed by your co-workers? What do your peers think of you?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer is asking another TORC (threat of reference check) question, this time at a peer level. Often a manager or boss can have a distorted perspective, since the day-to-day details can be missed. However, co-workers are usually acutely aware of the day-to-day details of their peers. So peer reviews are often integrated into annual performance reviews to avoid one dimensional "managing up" views of the employees. The interviewer is seeking that same peer level review of your work in the interview and may follow up the question with a request for references.

The best approach to answering this question:
Have letters of recommendation in hand from either co-workers at past positions or trusted peers in your current role (although be extremely careful before you disclose to anyone that you are job searching). In this way, you turn the second hand information into first hand references, often covering the reference check with the letter of recommendation. Also, asking for the letter of recommendation will tell you exactly what the person thinks of you, rather than leaving it open to a more subjective phone reference check.

An example of how to best answer this question:
"Three members of my team nominated me for the President's Award for my work on our current project. I believe they would say I get things done, deliver results and provide a positive teamwork atmosphere. Actually, I know that's what they would say, because those are quotes directly from letters of recommendation they have written for me. Here are copies for your review."

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"I guess it depends on who you ask. Some would say I'm a lot of fun to work with, but some others are just sticks in the mud, not wanting to have fun at work. I always try to make work fun by pulling harmless pranks, but some people just don't have a good sense of humor. So that's part of the reason that I'm looking, because I don't want to work with people who are so uptight about getting work done and can just hang loose about stuff."

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!