This question asks for three positive things your last boss could say about you, not necessarily what the boss did say about you. For any decent worker a list of three shouldn’t be hard. Make sure to match these three positive things with the job being sought. That means researching the company and knowing the job requirements and responsibilities.
To prepare for this question, make a list of positive things your current boss has said about you. Then look for those that match the new job. A good place to start is your last review. Bring the performance evaluation with you to show the interviewer. It never hurts to show you know how to use visual aids when making a presentation.
Don’t worry if you can’t think of specific positive things that match the new job. Many general professional attributes fit many jobs. It doesn’t hurt to discuss specific skills.
“Thanks for asking that question. When I started my last job I was pretty raw. My boss corrected me a lot, or gave suggestions on how things should be done. She often says I take criticism and direction well, and told me I shaped up to be a great asset. She said I was good, then, at passing along new information – a great communicator. And she always commented on how punctual I was – I never missed a deadline or was late to work for the five years I worked there.”
Specific Skills – Plumber
“He said I must talk the same language as the pipes, because I seem to be able to spot a problem the second I walk into the room. He never saw anyone who takes as much pride in his tools as I do. And he said I was second only to him in communicating with customers.”
Specific Skills – Sales
“My boss told me there’s the old sales story about selling ice cubes to Eskimos – he said I could sell them the ice, the freezer to keep them frozen, and the cups to put them in. He told me I have a way of zeroing in on customer needs. And, even though I lose a sale now and then, my honesty pays off big time in the long run.”
If a longer answer doesn’t feel right, try listing attributes your boss has mentioned, or hinted at on a review.
Be ready for the follow-up question which is often “give some examples of these attributes in action.”
One answer surely won’t help land the new job. “I’m quiet, I work cheap, and I’m leaving.”