Job Interview Question: How Would You Describe Yourself?

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What's the best way to respond when you're asked to describe yourself during a job interview? Like the interview question, "Tell me about yourself," this question is very common but not as simple as it seems. Employers ask you to describe yourself for a couple of reasons. First, they want to see whether or not you will be a good fit for the position and the company culture. This question, similar to the question “How would others describe you?

” also shows the employer how you perceive yourself.

When answering this question, be sure to keep the job description in mind, and answer in a way that shows you are right for the job. However, along with being positive, you should also be honest and straightforward as to why you're a good fit for the company. This is an opportunity to sell yourself to the interviewer, and show why you're a strong candidate for the role for which you're being considered.

How to Prepare a Response

To prepare for this question, create a list of adjectives and phrases that you think best describe you (you might even want to ask family and friends for suggestions). Then, look back at the job description, and circle all the adjectives and phrases on your list that best relate to the particular position. 

Pick two or three of the terms that best fit the position, and think of specific times when you have demonstrated each of those characteristics.With a list of terms and examples in mind, you will be ready to answer any form of the question.

By matching your qualifications to the job, you'll be able to show you've got the right skills and personality for the position.

Tips for Giving the Best Answer

When you respond, keep in mind the type of position you are interviewing for, the company culture, and the work environment. However, it's not a good idea to simply regurgitate a list of reasons why you are right for the position.

Instead, answer with a few positive adjectives or phrases that describe your personal characteristics or your attitude (sometimes employers ask a similar question, “What three adjectives would you use to describe yourself?”). Make sure to focus on the qualities that make you an ideal match for the job and the company.

You typically do not need to follow up your response with specific examples of times you have displayed each characteristic – often, an employer wants a relatively concise answer to this question. However, if you give your answer and the interviewer looks like her or she is waiting for moreyou can then follow up with examples from past work experiences. The interviewer might even ask you outright to expand your answer with examples.

Finally, while you should shape your answer to fit the particular job, authenticity is still important. Your response should be positive but genuine.

Examples of the Best Answers

Below are some sample answers to the interview question, “How would you describe yourself?” When answering this question, be sure your answer fits your own work experience and the job for which you are applying for.

  • I'm a people person. I really enjoy meeting and working with a lot of different people, and am known for being a great listener and clear communicator, whether I’m engaging with colleagues or employers.
     
  • I'm the kind of person who knows how to execute difficult tasks with precision. I pay attention to all the details of a project. I make sure that every task is just right, but is also completed in a timely manner.
     
  • I'm a creative thinker. I like to explore alternative solutions to problems and have an open mind about what will work best. My creativity has made me an effective team leader because I can anticipate problems and innovate solutions.
     
  • I'm an extremely organized person who is focused on producing results. While I am always realistic when setting goals, I consistently develop ways to efficiently achieve, and often exceed, those goals.
     
  • I enjoy solving problems, troubleshooting issues, and coming up with solutions in a timely manner. I thrive in team settings, and I think my ability to effectively communicate with others is what drives my ability to solve a variety of problems.

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