Careers

How to answer the interview question, 'What are your boss's strengths and weaknesses?'

Photo Illustration/Bryce Churchill
Photo Illustration/Bryce Churchill

As it turns out, what you have to say about your boss can actually end up saying a lot about you.

According to Glassdoor's 50 Most Common Interview Questions series, the question, "What are your boss's strengths and weaknesses?" should not catch a candidate by surprise.

"Your response to this question should indicate that you're aware and in tune with what it takes to be a good leader and that you have considered how to evolve your own management style based off learnings from others," Nicole Wood, of coaching company Ama La Vida, tells Glassdoor.

When answering this question, be sure to provide clear examples of why you feel a former boss is a great leader. However, when discussing ways for a boss to improve, career coach Aurora Meneghello of Repurpose Your Purpose advises applicants to "steer clear of personal attacks that might make it appear that you like to blame others."

"Think of a valid criticism that is not too negative," she tells Glassdoor. "For example, some bosses are not very good at delegating, or schedule too many meetings."

By providing these examples hiring managers are able to get a sense of how you value time and your desire for effective management.

Bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch also advises candidates to avoid harsh criticisms.

According to Welch, too much negativity in an interview can signal that you're a "boss hater," which can be detrimental to your career. She describes type of employee as someone who never sees eye-to-eye with a boss and always claims they're receiving unfair treatment.

"In all my years working in the corporate world and advising people about their careers," Welch says, "boss hating is the number one behavior that kills a career."

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook.

Don't miss:

What to say when a job interviewer asks, 'What questions haven't I asked you yet?'

How to answer the interview question, 'What are some of your leadership experiences?'

How to answer the interview question, 'How would you fire someone?'