There are red flag words to describe yourself that you want to avoid. This includes options that seem scary, generic, or inaccurate, such as “obsessive (scary),” “goal-oriented (generic),” and “likable” (inaccurate, as nobody is 100% likable).
Best Answers to “How Would You Describe Yourself?” Interview Question
“So, how would you describe yourself?” is an incredibly cut-and-dried question asked in almost every interview. However, the answer isn’t as conspicuous as you probably think. An intricately organized yet prompt answer at your end can be the difference between you taking the crown and returning back home with a heavy heart, dispirited.
A great way to answer this question is to genuinely believe in what you are about to give voice to. Remember, your prospective big-shot employer is not looking for a textbook answer to describe yourself. They are looking for “you” and what you bring to their organization. Your answer has to be concise, focused, and if possible, dished with a fresh and unique perspective.
Describe Yourself as Flexible and Resourceful
I like to think that I’m a very flexible and resourceful person. Even when things change at the last minute, I’m able to adjust accordingly and meet tight deadlines. At my last job, the schedule was constantly changing, so I needed to be highly adaptable. Despite the chaotic environment, I always finished tasks on time.
Use this verbiage (style of speaking) when interviewing for a position that requires a lot of changes on the job and strict timelines. This line of speaking is reserved for interviews where you’ve already researched the position and know what you’re getting yourself into. It reinforces to the interviewer that you can handle the pressure that comes with constant change.
Give a Short But Meaningful Summary About Yourself
Question Type 1: Describe yourself in 3 words.
This is one type of short answer question that you’ll hear from a trained interviewer (or one who just read a book or blog about interviewing). It’s often heard at the beginning of the interview as a means of leading into more in-depth questions about your answer or at the end as a means of summary.
Have an answer ready to this question before you go into the interview so you can answer back quickly and confidently. Even if it isn’t asked, you can use those self-descriptive words as a framework for other answers to the interviewer’s questions. Even if you’re not asked the question directly, you will always need to describe yourself in an interview, to one degree or another.
Question Type 2: Describe yourself in one sentence.
“Describe yourself in one sentence” is the other way to ask the short answer question. Take note of the summary above and use the three-word description as part of a summary sentence. This way you’ll have an answer to both questions with the same words.
Describing Yourself: 5 Different Example Answers
Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for: example answers to the “how would you describe yourself” interview question. Each of these options reflects a slightly different scenario, showing how you might approach the question a bit differently depending on where you are in your career.
Keep in mind that these should only serve as inspiration, as you’ll need to customize your answers to the job if you want to shine. With that in mind, here are five answers that show how to describe yourself to the hiring manager.
Entry-Level – Machine Operator
“In manufacturing, speed and accuracy are both priorities. That’s why I pride myself on being diligent and detail-oriented, pushing myself to exceed expectations while ensuring quality remains high. In my last role, I was formally recognized for having the lowest error rate in the company, all while exceeding output targets.
“Additionally, I’m dependable. At my last job, we lost a worker to injury and did not have the budget to hire a replacement, so I volunteered to pick up the slack, often working long hours into the night. We didn’t miss a beat.”
Entry-Level – Recent Graduate
“If I had to describe myself, I’d have to say organized, determined, and tech-savvy. While in school, I excelled at keeping project teams on target, coordinating the efforts of everyone to ensure critical tasks were handled. Additionally, I welcome challenges and enjoy putting my technology knowledge to work. While earning my degree, I had the opportunity to intern with an outstanding company. My main project was to digitize legacy records, a project they anticipated would take weeks. Fortunately, I was able to develop an automated process that streamlined the digital file system, allowing me to complete the work in half of the time.”
Mid-Level – Sales Consultant
“One reason why I excel in sales roles is that I’m both tenacious and empathetic. In the world of sales, being able to see the situation from the customer’s perspective is essential, which is why my empathy serves me well. The ability to also push past “no” and find a way to get to “yes” is similarly vital, which is why I value my tenacity.
“In my last role, using that combination of traits allowed me to land the second-largest contract the company had ever secured. I used my active listening skills to get a full feel for the customer’s needs and dug in to discover any reasons they may hesitate to move forward. Then, I was able to create a custom presentation designed to address their needs while putting their mind at ease, ultimately securing the contract.”
Management Level – Project Manager
“I’m a self-motivated professional that believes strongly in the power of collaboration. As a self-starter, I thrive when given the opportunity to take the reins and coordinate efforts, which is what drew me to the work of project management initially. However, I’m also adept at collaboration, as well as creating mechanisms that boost cross-team communication. It’s that capability that allows me to exceed expectations in project management roles, as I’m able to get the best out of everyone taking part.”
Executive Level – Department Director
“I’m a strategic, results-oriented professional that understands the value of remaining open-minded. During my 15 years in the field, I’ve been fortunate to learn the ins and outs of the industry. However, I recognize that I don’t know it all. Success, in my opinion, is a team effort, relying on the expertise of everyone and not just my own. By embracing my open-mindedness, I capture opportunities others may miss, which I feel makes me an asset at any company.”
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His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others.
About The Author
Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.