One of the first questions you may be asked in a job interview is, “How would you describe yourself?” While you have several options when deciding how to answer this question, the key is to explain why your specific experiences and attributes make you the best fit for the role.
When an interviewer asks you to talk about yourself, they’re looking for information about how your qualities and characteristics align with the skills they believe are required to succeed in the role. If possible, include quantifiable results to demonstrate how you use your best attributes to drive success.
How to answer, “How would you describe yourself?”
To help you decide how to describe yourself in an interview, consider these examples:
I am passionate about my work.
Every employer seeks to hire people who enjoy their work, but the word “passion” evokes feelings of dedication and loyalty. When someone is passionate about the work they’re doing, they’re naturally committed to quality and positive outcomes.
Example: “I am passionate about my work. Because I love what I do, I have a steady source of motivation that drives me to do my best. In my last job, this passion led me to challenge myself daily and learn new skills that helped me to do better work. For example, I taught myself how to use Photoshop to improve the quality of our photos and graphics. I soon became the go-to person for any design needs.”
I am ambitious and driven.
Ambition and drive are two qualities that are essential to success and growth in many jobs. When an employer hires an ambitious candidate, they can rest assured this new hire will consistently seek ways to improve themselves and keep their eyes firmly set on their next goal.
Example: “I am ambitious and driven. I thrive on challenge and constantly set goals for myself, so I have something to strive towards. I’m not comfortable with settling, and I’m always looking for an opportunity to do better and achieve greatness. In my previous role, I was promoted three times in less than two years.”
I am highly organised.
An organised candidate is a detail-oriented candidate and someone an employer can trust to meet deadlines. This quality is especially important in administrative positions, project management and other roles that require adherence to process and quality.
Example: “I am highly organised. I always take notes, and I use a series of tools to help myself stay on top of deadlines. I like to keep a clean workspace and create a logical filing method so I’m always able to find what I need. I find this increases efficiency and also helps the rest of the team stay on track. In my last role, I created a new filing process that increased departmental efficiency by 25 percent.”
I’m a people person.
Some people are naturally outgoing, conversational and quickly find ways to feel at home in groups of complete strangers. This attribute is especially helpful for professionals in customer service and sales positions.
Example: “I’m a people person. I love meeting new people and learning about their lives and their backgrounds. I can almost always find common ground with strangers, and I like making people feel comfortable in my presence. I find this skill is especially helpful when kicking off projects with new clients. In my previous job, my clients’ customer satisfaction scores were 15 percent over the company average.”
I’m a natural leader.
While you can teach people management skills, some people naturally take on the role of a leader in group settings. Employers often seek natural leaders for leadership and non-leadership positions because they set a good example and can boost team morale.
Example: “I’m a natural leader. I’ve eventually been promoted to a leadership role in almost every job because I like to help people. I find co-workers usually come to me with questions or concerns even when I’m not in a leadership role because if I don’t know the answer, I’ll at least point them in the right direction. In my last two roles, I was promoted to leadership positions after less than a year with the company.”
I am results oriented.
A results-oriented candidate is someone who keeps the end goal in mind and knows which resources it will take to get there. Employers know when they hire someone who is results-oriented, they will do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Example: “I am results oriented, constantly checking in with the goal to determine how close or how far away we are and what it will take to make it happen. I find this pressure inspiring and a great motivator for the rest of the team. In fact, over the past year, I was able to help my team shorten our average product time to market by two weeks.”
I am an excellent communicator.
Effective communication skills are necessary for ongoing success in almost any position and every industry, but they don’t always come naturally to everyone. When a candidate can communicate well, they help ensure messages aren’t muddled internally or when delivering information to a customer.
Example: “I am an excellent communicator. I pride myself on making sure people have the right information because it drives better results. Most business issues stem from poor communication, so I feel a responsibility to keep everyone on the same page. These skills helped increase my personal client retention rate by more than 40 percent in a year and helped the team deliver 100 percent of our projects by the original deadline.”
These are just a few examples of how to answer the question, “How would you describe yourself?” but there are plenty of other qualities you could share. Take time to review the job description and look for similarities between what’s required and your natural strengths.
List of words to describe yourself
Here are several examples of words you can use to describe yourself in an interview, elevator pitch or resume summary.
Words to describe your work style:
Words to describe your personality:
Words to describe how you work with others:
Asking friends, family or colleagues can be a useful way to learn what words others would use to describe you. Describing yourself isn’t always easy, but you may be surprised by how quickly those who know you can sum up your best attributes. By sharing specific positive attributes and relating them back to how you’ll use these to help the company, you’ll help the interviewer see why you’re the best fit for the position.