Behavioral interviews use probing questions to illuminate your past behaviors and to identify your similar future performances. This question pierces right to the core. It may be difficult to maneuver your way around as you strive to remain genuine and honest in your answer. To strip it down to its barest parts,the interviewer is basically asking whether or not you are liked by your co-workers,and if you behave in ways that disrupt productivity.
“The biggest misconception about me was that I was a workaholic. My co-workers often joked that I had virtually no social life and (that I) took work home with me on a nightly basis.”
If this was a “misconception” do you mean to say that you don’t work very hard at all? The interviewer is guessing what kind of person you really are or if you even have a clear perception of yourself. It never looks good to have a discrepancy in perception between you and your coworkers. Anytime you try to paint a picture of what you are not, you are left trying to play catch up as to portraying what exactly you are. Answers like this put you in damage control mode,making you scramble for an appropriate answer.
“My coworkers probably think I spend a lot of money on my wardrobe. Really I spend a lot of time looking for deals at outlet malls. I think that looking professional is really important and I (try to) find a way to make it work even on a tight budget. ”
Unless you’re applying for a job in the fashion industry,you’ve said nothing to impress me. Your first interview may be your only chance to close the deal. You need to make every answer work to your advantage. In fact,unless you distract me with something I actually care about,I’m going to start thinking something else like “This person is boring,” or “You sound like a shallow person,I don’t care about your wardrobe.” If you don’t tell the interviewer what to think about you,they will form their own opinions that you cannot control.
“I don’t believe there are any misconceptions about me. I’m very direct,respectful and honest. I am open about my accomplishments and weaknesses. I always welcome feedback because it gives me an opportunity to grow. Because I try to be objective and open-minded,my colleagues usually ask (for) my advice and confide in me. This approach helps me make decisions on their merits instead of getting caught up in unproductive exercises.”
This answer builds the interviewer’s confidence and confirms your role as a positive influence for the company in question. Taking it a bit further with details or examples makes your answer all the more believable. If people who work with you every day have misconceptions about you,how can an interviewer be confident that he or she is going to figure you out in an hour? Employers usually value transparency in their employees – under no circumstances do they want to be left guessing.