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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 toward. 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.”
Related: Interview Question: What are Your Future Goals?
I am highly organized.
An organized 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 organized. 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 helps the rest of the team stay on track, too. In my last role, I created a new filing process that increased departmental efficiency 25%.”
Related: Interview Question: “How Do You Handle Stress?”
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% 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.”
Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples
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% in a year, and helped the team deliver 100% 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.
Related: Interview Question: “Tell Me About Yourself” (Tips and Example Answers)
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.
Related: 125 Common Interview Questions and Answers (With Tips)
Interview Question: ‘Describe Yourself In Three Words.’
Follow these steps to prepare for when employers say ‘Describe yourself in three words’:
1. Create a list of words
Prior to preparing your response, start writing down any word that comes to mind when you think of yourself. Don’t think too deeply at first, and just see what you initially think of. As you write your list, you may think of more nuanced adjectives that describe who you are. If you’re feeling stuck, ask family or friends to think of a few words.
2. Choose three that embody your brand
Take a look at your list and begin to cross out words that seem shallow or pretentious. Instead, highlight words that represent your personal, authentic brand. Then, look at the job description again and think of which words best relate to it. This can help you guide your answer to one that is relevant to the job while still being true to yourself.
3. Explain why you chose them
After listing the three words, give a brief explanation as to why you chose each one. Find ways you can relate them to how you’ll use them in this position. This is also supposed to be a lighthearted question, so use it as an opportunity to let your personality shine.
Avoid these things when describing yourself in an interview:
Showing too much ego: Although you should show some confidence when answering this question, you should also be a bit humble. Words like amazing, or awesome don’t really mean anything and may come off wrong.
Being too timid: Likewise, you should show that you do have self-confidence when answering this question. Instead of saying I’ve never thought about it, or I’m unsure try to come up with responses that show why you’re a great person to hire.
Choosing irrelevant words: Although certain words may perfectly describe your personality outside of work, they may not offer much value to the interview. Pick words that both embody your personality and describe your professional self.
Use these examples as inspiration when replying to ‘Describe yourself in three words.’:
I would describe myself as driven, helpful, and reliable. I chose driven because I am always working toward a new goal and trying to achieve more. Even though I set out to accomplish my own goals, I make sure to stop and help others, which is why I chose that word too. I think that in order for a company to succeed, we need to lend a hand to one another. Finally, I chose reliable because I stick to my promises. If I say I’ll do it, you don’t have to remind me. I’ll get it done promptly.
First, I am thoughtful. I have a habit of always thinking of others and finding ways to make their days better or to lighten their load. Second, I am organized. I thrive off planners and sticky notes to ensure I am getting all of my work done on time. Finally, I am empathetic. I can easily understand other’s perspectives and find ways to find common ground.
I am curious, insightful, and passionate. By always exploring the world around me and researching new things, I find that I often have a lot to contribute to a conversation or brainstorming session. When I am interested in something, I become truly passionate about digging into it as much as possible. These three words are why I have so much research experience and am looking for more.
The first word I’d use to describe myself is witty. That’s why I enjoy writing so much. Finding a fun pun or reference is what I do best. I am also quite patient. If an idea isn’t coming to me, I don’t give up. Instead, I keep chewing on it until something great arises. Lastly, I am dynamic, meaning that I have a lot of skills to offer to this position.
I am communicative, meaning that I always want there to be a clear line of communication. It’s better to clarify than to be confused. I am also engaged. I love throwing myself into a project and making it an important part of my life. Finally, I am inquisitive. I am always asking questions to learn more.
How To Describe Yourself In An Interview
Be the diamond in the rough they’re looking for.
Interviewers often speak to several candidates for a position before narrowing their selection and presenting an offer to the most desirable candidate. Through the process, the interviewer hopes to stumble upon that needle in the haystack. When this happens, it’s a huge relief given that it can take months for an organization to fill a position. According to HireVue, it takes an average of 42 days for companies to fill a position, and for some companies, it can take even longer.
In an ideal world, you’re that “diamond in the rough,” or maybe you’re simply the candidate that stood out the most amongst other qualified candidates. Either way, when you were asked in your interview how you would describe yourself, you knew how to use strong words and vocabulary to answer the question. Sure, you told the interviewer what they wanted to hear, but you did it from a place of authenticity, integrity, and thoughtfulness. As a result, you landed the job.
If you want this story to define you, it’s important to consider the language and vocabulary you use to answer the popular “How you would describe yourself?” during an interview.
Related: “Tell Me About Yourself” Answers to Avoid
Show you represent the top qualities they’re looking for
Below is an outline of some of the top qualities interviewers look for and the type of response that speaks to those qualities. Consider saying one of these things the next time you are asked how you would describe yourself.
“Once I’m clear on what the task or project is, I’m good at determining the best way to accomplish it.”
A team player
“I believe there is value in collaboration. Often, two minds are better than one, and as such, working in a team with a collaborative spirit is important when the need arises.”
“I like to evaluate current procedures and processes when possible to identify any foreseeable issues or concerns. I find that being proactive in a situation, when possible, is much better than being reactive. Also, when I’m proactive in planning for a project and the needs to react to a situation arises, it’s much easier to move to a Plan B when there is a solid Plan A in place.”
Of strong personal value
“Integrity and authenticity are important to me. I do what I can to continue to improve and be the best I can be at whatever I do.”
“I look for growth opportunities for the group, as I find this presents with the best long-term results.”
“I am confident in my ability to produce results. Of course, situations happen when the results aren’t ideal, and when that does happen, I do my best to tip the hat in a positive direction.”
“Long-term results require making decisions efficiently and decisively, even when it’s difficult.”
“By taking responsibility for my actions and results, I have the ability to make the choices necessary for a better outcome or results the next time around. Pointing fingers or playing the blame game is not productive and can even set the team back.”
“Not only do I aim to meet expectations, but I am often one to exceed my employer’s expectations.”
“I don’t let tough situations control me. Instead, I evaluate them and decide the best way to approach the situation for the best result at that moment.”
“The only way to keep moving forward is to focus on results. I am committed to adding value and reaching goals with the best results possible.”
“I am hardworking and set reasonable goals for myself. Once those goals are in place, I can then back out of them and create smaller goals or benchmarks to accomplish so I can continuously evaluate my performance.”
“I strive to do the best I can for whatever task is presented to me. I appreciate working for a company that has clear goals and rewards employees for meeting those goals.”
Customer- and service-oriented
“I’ve found that the best way to truly understand what the customer needs is to ask the right questions, and then follow up to confirm we are on the same page. Once I’m clear that we are on the same page, I can then develop a plan or set goals to meet the customer’s or client’s needs.”
Dedicated to personal growth and development
“I believe it’s important to continue to grow and learn. I’m always looking for opportunities, like webinars, seminars, and classes, that can help me learn and grow at work and in my everyday life.”
A good communicator
“I’ve learned that we all have different communication styles, and I need to learn how others communicate for us to effectively work together and meet each other in the middle. I also like to ask questions and don’t have a problem following up to confirm I’ve understood something correctly. We all see things through our own perspectives, and I try to understand what that perspective is for others so we can communicate well.
Come up with your own list of responses
The above are some guidelines to give you an idea of the type of language to use based on what many interviewers look for in top-notch candidates. It’s important to come up with your own responses though, so that you truly represent yourself as an individual. Grab a pen and paper (or your laptop) and begin brainstorming about your top-notch worthiness by taking these steps:
Create a list of the competencies and qualities provided above.
Write down what you do to represent each quality.
Craft your responses accordingly.
Practice answering questions that might prompt your responses.
As you craft your responses, it’s also important to have some examples that speak to your claims. In other words, if you say you’ve often exceeded your employer’s expectations, be prepared to give quantifiable examples to back it up. The more you can support your claims with measurable success, the better.
Practice describing yourself
Practice interviewing with a close friend or someone you trust. The more you’re prompted with questions like “How would describe yourself?” and the more you speak your answers out loud, the more comfortable you will be once you’re sitting across from your interviewer. It is possible to distinguish between interviewees who are have practiced interviewing and those who don’t. You, of course, want to fall into the former group.
Finally, words can be powerful, so give your word choices some thought before you walk in for an interview. Doing so will make it easier for you to choose the best words that will help you stand out among the competition.
Your resume helped you land the interview – congrats! But are you prepared to finish the job? Get help from TopInterview’s expert coaches.
Analyse, Explain, Identify… 22 Essay Question Words
Essay question words. What are they? What do they mean? How should you answer them? If you’ve come here in search of answers to these questions, you’ve come to the right place.
Now, we may be experts in best essay writing, but we’re also the first to admit that tackling essay questions can be, well, a bit of a challenge. Essays first require copious amounts of background reading and research so you can include accurate facts in your writing. You then have to figure out how to present those facts in a convincing and systematic argument. No mean feat.
But the silver lining here is that presenting your argument doesn’t have to be stressful. This goes even if you’re a new student without much experience and ability. To write a coherent and well-structured essay, you just have to really understand the requirements of the question. And to understand the requirements of the question, you need to have a good hold on all the different question words. For example, ‘justify’, ‘examine’, and ‘discuss’, to name a few.
Lacking this understanding is a pitfall many students tumble into. But our guide on essay question words below should keep you firmly above on safe, essay-acing ground.
Question words – what are they?
Words such as ‘explain’, ‘evaluate’ or ‘analyse’ – typical question words used in essay titles – provide a useful indication of how your essay should be structured. They often require varying degrees of critical responses. Sometimes, they may simply require a descriptive answer.
No matter their nature, question words are key and must always be adhered to. And yet, many students often overlook them and therefore answer their essay questions incorrectly. You may be a font of all knowledge in your subject area, but if you misinterpret the question words in your essay title, your essay writing could be completely irrelevant and score poorly.
For example, if you are asked to compare the French and British upper houses of parliament, you won’t get many points by simply highlighting the differences between the two parliamentary systems.
These are the question words we will cover in this blog: Critical question words Descriptive question words
To what extent
Question words that require a critical approach
Some question words require a critical answer and there are varying degrees of how critical your answers must be according to the requirements of the question. We’ve broken these down for you below:
4. Critically evaluate
To ‘ critically evaluate ‘, you must provide your opinion or verdict on whether an argument, or set of research findings, is accurate. This should be done in as critical a manner as possible. Provide your opinion on the extent to which a statement or research finding is true. A critical evaluation of a subject will warrant an assertive essay response that details the extent to which you agree with a set of findings, a theory, or an argument.
The key to tackling these question words is providing ample evidence to support your claims. Ensure that your analysis is balanced by shedding light on, and presenting a critique of, alternative perspectives. It is also important that you present extensive evidence taken from a varying range of sources.
State your conclusion clearly and state the reasons for this conclusion, drawing on factors and evidence that informed your perspective. Also try to justify your position in order to present a convincing argument to the reader.
An answer to a ‘review’ question word should demonstrate critical examination of a subject or argument. This is done by recapping or summarising the major themes or points in question, and critically discussing them while giving your opinion.
Review answers should not be purely descriptive; they must demonstrate a high level of analytical skill. The aim is not simply to regurgitate the works of other scholars, but rather to critically analyse these works.
In the case of ‘assess’ question words, you are expected to consider or make an informed judgement about the value, strengths or weakness of an argument, claim or topic. ‘Assess’ questions place particular emphasis on weighing all views concerning the essay subject, as opposed to your opinion only.
However, when assessing a particular argument or topic, it is important that your thoughts on its significance are made clear. This must be supported by evidence, and secondary sources in the literature are a great start. Essentially, you need to convince the reader about the strength of your argument, using research to back up your assessment of the topic is essential. Highlight any limitations to your argument and remember to mention any counterarguments to your position.
A close examination of a research topic or argument requires that you establish the key facts and important issues concerning the topic or argument by looking at them in close detail. This means that you must adopt a very critical approach with ‘examine’ question words.
You should also try to provide some context on why the issues and facts that you have closely examined are important. Have these issues and facts been examined differently by other scholars? If so, make a note of this. How did they differ in their approach and what are the factors that account for these alternative approaches?
‘Examine’ questions are less exploratory and discursive than some other types of question. They focus instead on asking you to critically examine particular pieces of evidence or facts to inform your analysis.
Question words that require a descriptive response
In some instances, question words require mostly a descriptive response as is the case with the words below:
Here, you are required to provide a lot of detail and information on a research topic or argument. ‘Elaborate’ questions tend to elicit descriptive responses. Therefore. it’s important to demonstrate that you have done significant research on the topic to support the information you provide.
Essay questions that require you to ‘identify’ something in relation to a research topic or argument require you to simply point out and describe the main ideas in a short and coherent way. A little like this paragraph.
Such an answer will generally involve the use of many examples, such as tables, figures, graphs, or concrete research statistics and evidence. The aim is to use these examples to demonstrate knowledge of the subject of the question and to further explain or clarify your answer.
outline answer requires you present an organised description of a research topic or argument. It is imperative that you provide the main points only (and any important supplementary information) as opposed to focusing on the minor details. Remember to present your answer in a systematic and coherent way.10. Summarise 11. Clarify 12. Compare 13. Contrast In summary…
Use These 8 Words To Describe Yourself During A Job Interview.
You know you’re going to be asked about yourself in a job interview, so don’t get caught tongue-tied. It’s smart to have a small collection of adjectives that describe you well and show you off in your best light-bonus points if they aren’t the same old tired words everybody else is using.
Often the best strategy here is to think of action verbs, then modify them into adjective form. Think about how you would sincerely describe yourself-both personally and at the office-then put together a list and memorize it for ultimate interview success.
Here are some 8 powerful examples interviewers are sure to love.
Communication is one of the most highly valued skills by most employers, so this is a shrewd word to use. It suggests that you’re a people person, you are effective at disseminating information, you care about connecting with your clients and coworkers, and you are intelligent enough to do so clearly and professionally. Plus, you can segue this into concrete examples of how you used your communication skills to problem solve.
This word hints at your attention to detail, your precision, your organizational skills, your ability to prioritize, and the fact that you hate letting anything slip through any cracks. If you’re meticulous, you’re thorough and self-managing and trustworthy. See how much work this kind of word can do?
“Consistent” or “accountable” are also good ones. You’re in it for the team-you don’t just show up for you. You realize that your work is part of an ecosystem of other people’s projects and you don’t let anybody down. You’re not late for work, or for meetings. You can be relied upon to do your job, do it well, and deliver whatever needs to be done.
Go ahead and say what a difference you made at your last gig. Go ahead and gloat. You come on the job and get things done. You can totally brag here at this point, and throw in a mention of any accomplishments or awards you may have earned along the way. This word shows you don’t just make promises; you get results.
You don’t quit until the job is done (and done well). What’s more, you’ll get the project done on time. You’ll put in the extra work until the solution is found. This conveys that you’re “results-oriented,” as well.
You’re not rigid. You think outside the box. You’re able to adapt to challenging circumstances and find the work-around that no one else can see. You adapt on the go and keep adapting. You’re the kind of employer everybody wants because you’re willing to do things outside the purview of your job description-provided it makes sense for the company and for the goals of your team.
8. Team player
It’s always good to round off a list of descriptors of yourself with something that conveys a bit of humility-your willingness to sacrifice your own time and ambitions now and then for the good of the group. “Team player” transitions easily enough to a description of how you’re also a “leader”… for those of you who want to score that last bonus point.
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