Job Interviews

Describe Yourself for Job Interviews

There’s barely a job interview that goes by where the interviewer doesn’t ask a variation of the question, “How would you describe yourself?” This may not be the exact question used in your job interview because it can be couched in so many different ways, but inevitably the question will come up in some shape or form. 

Essentially the interviewer wants to know about your positive qualities, your skills and your unique characteristics in relation to how they match up to the job description and how you will fit in with the existing team. 

Interviewers will also often ask you about your negative characteristics, which can be a very tricky question to answer well, unless you follow my advice below (I have discovered the perfect way to answer this question!).

So learning how to describe yourself for job interviews (both your positive and negative traits) and answering these types of questions with confidence can be  pivotal to whether you get the job or not.

Variations on the Interview Question, “How Would You Describe Yourself?”

So to start with let’s have a look at the various ways that you may be asked to describe yourself for a job interview. Here are some examples:
  • “What qualities do you think you can bring to this post?”
  • “Why should we hire you?”
  • “Tell me about yourself”
  • “What are your key strengths/skills?”
  • “Why do you think you will be successful in this job?”
  • “If you were an animal what would you be and why?”
  • “What is your greatest strength?”
  • “Why are you the best person for the job?”
  • “What can you contribute to this company?”
  • “Can you give me 5 words to describe you?”
To answer any of the questions above effectively you will need to have a good self awareness of your positive qualities. Many of us find this type of positive appraisal of ourselves difficult, simply because we have never been taught how to do it. We are conditioned from a very early age not to “show off”, brag or boast about what is good about ourselves and unfortunately, this often blocks even a modest sense of our positive characteristics. 

That means that your first step is to overcome any sense that being positive about ourselves is wrong! Once you have suspended that thought, it’s time to get a piece of paper and a pen and find 5 -10 words from the following list of active adjectives that best describe you. Of course, if you have some other words to describe yourself, use those as well.

80 Words to Help You Describe Yourself for a Job Interview 

Open-minded Impartial Initiator Leader
Facilitator Disciplined Empathic Mature
Self motivated Conscientious Methodical Meticulous
Self belief Enthusiastic Creative Creative Thinker
Self Aware Practical Dynamic Tenacious
Resourceful Imaginative Determined Persistent
Reliable Entrepreneurial Positive Coordinator
Negotiator Catalyst Analytical Team Player
Down to earth Self-reliant Results-driven Results oriented
Intuitive Organized Insightful Perceptive
Persuasive Adaptable Flexible Common sense
Efficient Co-operative Communicator Tactful
Ethical Diplomatic Motivated Proactive
Listener Consistent Logical Approachable
Passionate Initiative Knowledgeable Focused
Hardworking Patient Confident Committed
Positive Attitude Solution focused Attention to Detail Problem Solving
Thrive under pressure Professional Expertise Time management Customer-orientated
Resourceful Articulate Quick Learner Direct
Honest Competitive Ambitious Loyal

Spend some time thinking about the words you have chosen to describe yourself for your upcoming job interview and answer the following questions.

  • Where have these qualities been evident in your life? 
  • How have you expressed these qualities in your work? 
  • How have they benefited the companies and teams you have worked for previously? 
Think of concrete examples wherever possible.

Now that you are fully equipped to answer the positive side of the "describe yourself" job interview question, it's time to think about the tricky question we mentioned before - the dreaded weakness interview question.

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