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Hopefully, you are reading this before your interview and not dwelling on the questions you may or may not have answered correctly!

Maybe you’re searching for all the help you can get online before your next big interview.

Either way, being asked to describe yourself is a very common interview question.

There are people who can talk about themselves all day.

In this video, we take a deep dive into some of the best (and worst) words to describe yourself in an interview!

Keep reading and we’ll share some great words to describe yourself and more importantly, sample answers to back those words up.

Below are some good, bad, and controversial words to describe yourself. If you just came here looking for some keywords, this is for you.

If your goal is to absolutely blow someone away in an interview, these keywords alone won’t get you far.

More important than the keywords is the story and supporting evidence that you can provide. Keep reading and we’ll show you exactly how to do this.

Let’s say you can think of a handful of good words on the spot.

Or maybe you’re unsure if the words you think of are any good.

Whatever you do, try to avoid simply listing descriptive words.

Rather, give a short story to support your claim.

Below is a list of appropriate answers to the interview question, “Can you describe yourself in 5 words?”

Diligent / Loyal / Reliable

I am always the first person that my friends call because they know I am always there for them. Night or day, I make sure to take care of the people in my life. I put the same effort into making sure my work is done correctly, and I am always available to help my team members.

Creative / Innovative / Visionary

I love trying new things, creating new methods, and introducing new ideas. In my previous job, I was responsible for selling waterproof phones. One day, I brought in a clear container filled with water to demo the waterproof phones. We made underwater videos and the phone still worked. Once my manager found out, he made this a mandatory practice for all 150 locations.

Motivated / Ambitious / Leader Honest / Ethical / Conscientious

Ever since I was a little kid I have tried to stay ethical. I remember one time I found six Disneyland tickets and $200 cash in an envelope. I turned the envelope into the store where I found it. My honesty paid off when no one came to claim it and I was able to keep the content.

Friendly / Personable / Extrovert

I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people and maintaining a lot of relationships. I’m your typical extrovert which has really helped me in my career. My natural networking abilities have allowed me to excel in sales roles such as this one.

It is important to think of relevant explanations that also align with the job you are interviewing for.

Be strategic.

There may be 50 words to describe yourself.

However, pick the ones that will be valued most for the position at hand.

Tell them how these words apply to your life and give an example that backs it up.

This may be difficult for those who are shy and have problems opening up, but this is a great life skill.

Don’t be afraid to think about your answer ahead of time so you can shine your character in the best possible light.

Try to avoid general verbiage when you describe yourself.

Some bad words to describe yourself that lack substance include:

Don’t get us wrong, these are positive traits.

They are also very general traits.

That’s why everyone uses them.

These words might describe you, but it could also be assumed in any candidate and will come across as boring.

Think of how many people are going to give these basic answers.

Don’t be like them!

Set yourself apart from the masses and provide truthful character traits that will resonate with the interviewer.

Also, make sure to avoid words that one can perceive as negative such as:

Choose words that can only leave a positive impression.

The goal is to avoid the generic and anything that can come off as negative.

Never, ever, ever say, “I don’t know,” in response to this question!

If you don’t know how to describe yourself, then what else don’t you know?

In other words, it leaves a bad impression.

What leaves a good impression?

Giving a cool, calm, and confident response.

This type of response gives the hiring manager the impression that you are the type of person who comes prepared.

And this can only work in your favor.

Just one reason why it helps to prepare your responses ahead of time!

The best way to prepare for this question is just that.

Prepare!

If you are able to successfully describe yourself in 5 words, you will come off as a confident and capable candidate.

Nobody knows you better than yourself so all you have to do is put it into words!

However, if you really need help thinking of words that describe you, consider asking some friends or family members.

If you are at a loss trying to figure out which words describe you, ask the people who know you best.

Simply text, call, or email a few friends and family members asking “What do you think are words that describe me?”

By asking others what words can be used to describe you (and eliminating the not-so-positive words they might use), you will have a great starting place to come up with your more detailed and descriptive answer for the interview.

If you are interested in taking your interview game to the next level, it’s time to hire an interview coach.

Interview coaches are trained professionals who know what hiring managers want.

Investing in an interview coach can make the difference in landing the job, or coming in second.

Check out our list of the best interview coaching services around.

Good luck! You are going to do great.

Good Words To Describe Yourself In An Interview

When you go into an interview, you want to wow your interviewer so that they give you a job. They have already read your resume, so they know your skills, experience and education. Now, they are looking for the personality and person behind the resume.

Good Words to Describe Yourself in an Interview Words for Leadership Positions

If you are applying for a leadership position, then these are some good words to describe yourself in an interview. Often, words like engaged and organized work well. Companies like problem solvers who are proactive and assertive in dealing with issues, so these words will also work well. During your interview, consider using some of the following words from this list.

Words for Entry Level Positions Words to Describe Your Personality

If you are struggling to find the right words to describe your personality, the following lists of ideas can help you get started.

Words to Describe Your Attitude at Work Words You Should Avoid Using in an Interview Make Sure That You Have the Best Chance in Your Interview

Finding good words to describe yourself in an interview is a start. You also need to find a way to incorporate them naturally into your answers. The best way to do this is to start practicing your answers to interview questions. You don’t want to seem like you are boastful or just listing qualities that you may or may not have. One way to incorporate them naturally is to use them in a story. When you answer an interview question, use an example from your past job to show that quality instead of just saying that you have it.

There are a number of articles online that can help you find interview practice questions. While an interviewer will often look for unique or job-related questions, a number of the interview questions will be quite similar. Practice answering the questions that you find online in front of the mirror or with a friend. You can also practice variations of each questions, so you can naturally pivot during the interview to your practiced answers. With the right descriptive words, good answers and a lot of practice, you can make sure that you are ready for your big interview and can do your best.

Interview Question: “How Would You Describe Yourself?” (With Examples)

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.’:

Example 1

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.

Example 2

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.

Example 3

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.

Example 4

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.

Example 6

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.

I am…

A self-starter

“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.”

Proactive

“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.”

Community-focused

“I look for growth opportunities for the group, as I find this presents with the best long-term results.”

Revenue-focused

“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.”

Decisive

“Long-term results require making decisions efficiently and decisively, even when it’s difficult.”

Accountable

“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.”

Excellence-driven

“Not only do I aim to meet expectations, but I am often one to exceed my employer’s expectations.”

Leadership-focused

“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.”

Results-driven

“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.”

Goal-oriented

“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.”

Performance-focused

“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.

Recommended Reading: Related Articles:

The Best Words To Describe Yourself In An Interview

Recruiters do like to see a touch of modesty. There’s something about a know-it-all that sets anyone’s teeth on edge. The company will also want to know how you’ll fit in with bosses and colleagues. They’ll be looking for qualitative information that isn’t to be found in your resume. Here are some statements that recruiters love:

“I am eager to learn.”

“I am determined.”

“I never give up until I get something right.”

“I get on well with all kinds of people.”

“I like to keep a positive attitude.”

“Hard work doesn’t bother me. I actually like it.”

“I enjoy facing challenges.”

“I like everything I do to be well-organized.”

Of course, if any of these statements don’t apply, you shouldn’t use them. If you get the job, people will soon see you weren’t being truthful. The above statements apply to any job and they indicate you’ll be a cheerful, hardworking employee. But there are a few extras you can mention in specific types of jobs.

Best Words for Customer-Service, Sales or Marketing Interviews

Let’s be frank, not everyone is suited for customer service. No matter what company is interviewing you, they will want to know you’ll be good for their image. That means looking neat, but not overdressed, having good posture, being pleasant, and being well-spoken. Try these lines to describe yourself if questions arise where you can utilize them.

“I can keep my cool under pressure.”

“I don’t easily lose my temper.”

“I’m good at multi-tasking.”

“I enjoy meeting new people every day.”

“I love making people’s day.”

“I believe customers are the most important part of any business.”

“If necessary, I can be assertive without being rude.”

Do you get where this is going? Recruiters want to know you can handle having two people waiting for you while the phone is ringing, and another customer is being unreasonable and rude, while still being unruffled.

They also want to know you’re an organizer. Can you keep track of several tasks for specific customers in a disciplined way? For example, a sales rep may get a call, have to get information, call back, record the order, get the order dispatched, correctly invoiced, and call the customer again to follow up. They must do this for several customers at once, so things can get pretty chaotic unless they’re smart organizers.

In marketing, they also want to know you’re people-oriented and organized, but they’ll want to know more about the creative aspects too. Try these options for describing yourself:

“I love turning great ideas into reality.”

“I’ve done a few freelance projects, and I’ve brought my portfolio.”

“I find people and their opinions fascinating.”

“I really enjoy reading about and learning from marketing success stories.”

Best Words for Accounting or Administrative Interviews

Apart from the things we looked at in the generic statements, there are some extra statements recruiters like.

“I’m a perfectionist.”

“Organizing data so that it makes sense is rewarding for me.”

“I’m a methodical person.”

“I like working systematically.”

As you can see, you’re demonstrating a different set of qualities. You like getting things done in a calm and organized way. You crunch away at your work according to a specific system, and you like being part of that system because it results in useful, condensed information of some sort.

Best Words for Management Interviews

I’m going to be brutally honest here. Most of us do not walk out of college into highly-paid managerial jobs, and if you don’t know what to say at the interview, you’re not ready. Besides, there are more kinds of managers than you can shake a stick at, and each of them requires different personal qualities.

I’ve interviewed a lot of people for minor managerial posts, and all I can say is it depends on your skill, experience, expectations (salary, etc.) and whether you’ll fit into the organization’s management style. How you dress for your interview matters a lot. Play safe and stick to understated, yet smart clothing. Ladies, not too much makeup or perfume please; my apologies if this offends you, but this is the real world.

Be true to Yourself

If you don’t feel you can honestly say any of these things, don’t. You must be able to back your statements up with evidence from your life. “I’m very determined. For example, I….”

You should also ask yourself whether you’ll be happy in a job where you have to pretend to be someone other than who you really are and whether you’ll even be able to do it. You probably won’t. What do you get? Short service and a bad reputation are the two things no future employer is going to like. Look to a field you’ll enjoy and excel at instead.

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