Being Your Own Reference: Rating Yourself As A Professional In The Job InterviewJenna Arcandon April 18, 2024 at 5:30 pm Work It Daily


Have you ever been asked, “How do you rate yourself?” in a job interview? The qualifier could be “as a professional,” “as an employee,” or maybe as the holder of a certain skill set. In most cases, they want you to give them an answer between 1 and 10 in order to get some concrete idea of where you and your skills are.

This is a tough question to answer. You will find advice that you should always rank yourself as a 10, or even higher. They say that anything less makes it look like you don’t have confidence in yourself or that you’re admitting a weakness.

In my opinion, automatically rating yourself at a 10 makes you seem a little conceited (at best). It sounds like a false answer, just like “I’m such a perfectionist” does to the “What’s your greatest weakness?” question.

At the same time, answering “5” may keep them from offering you the job.

Here’s how you should really answer, “How do you rate yourself?” in a sincere, job-winning way:

The best answer for someone with experience is a 7 or an 8. You’d elaborate on that by saying something along the lines of you see yourself as someone who’s learned a lot and is valuable at this point in your career, but you also realize that you can learn more from this organization—and then say what that is.

This is reasonable, positive, and appealing.

If you’re just out of school or have very little experience, you should answer a little lower, at maybe a 6 or a 7. Again, elaborate on your answer. You see yourself as better than average (5) but with room to grow. You’re excited about what you can learn from this company and how you can contribute to it.

Is it ever okay to rate yourself at a 9 or a 10? Yes, but only if you’re a true subject matter expert with extensive experience. In most cases, we all have room to learn and improve.

Your interviewer will be surprised that you don’t automatically tell them “10” (or in some cases “11”). So make sure you explain your thought process. Say something like, “On a scale of 1 to 10, a 5 would be a true average, and a 10 is perfect. I think I’m better than average, and no one is perfect.”

Continue the conversation in a positive vein by pointing out what you’ve learned that makes you valuable, qualities that make you a great fit for the job, and why you’re excited to continue your career at this company.

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