Interview Question: "How Would You Describe Yourself?"

Updated April 20, 2023

A person in glasses holds a piece of paper and talks to a person sitting in front of them while gesturing with their hand.

One of the first questions employers may ask 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.

In this article, we explain why the question is important and offer seven examples of possible answers for different scenarios.

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Why do interviewers ask this question?

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. They want to know if your qualities will benefit their company and if your values fit into their company culture. The question presents a great opportunity to highlight the skills and characteristics that make you a good fit for the job. It's similar to the question, "Tell us something about yourself" but requires you to be more vocal about what you think to be your most important trait.

This question is also an opportunity to discuss some of the other activities you participate in outside of work. When discussing such activities, ensure to keep them work-appropriate and maintain a high level of professionalism. This is a great opportunity to discuss your personal interests and hobbies.

Variations of "How would you describe yourself?"

Interviewers may ask "How would you describe yourself" in various ways, including:  

  • What would it be if you only had one word to describe yourself?

  • What are three words you'd use to describe yourself?"

  • How do other people describe you?

  • In your opinion, what are your most important traits?

  • What words come to mind when you think about yourself?

  • What adjectives would you use to describe yourself?

  • How would you describe your personality?

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • Describe yourself in one sentence.

A person wearing glasses and a hijab speaks while wearing headphones for a virtual meeting or interview.

How to answer "How would you describe yourself?"

Take time to review the job description and look for similarities between what's required and your natural strengths. To help you decide how to describe yourself in an interview, consider these seven examples:

1. "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 people are passionate about their work, 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."

Related: Last-Minute Interview Tips

2. "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 challenges 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. They promoted me three times in less than two years in my previous role."

Related: Interview Question: "What Are Your Future Career Goals?"

3. "I am highly organized."

An organized candidate is a detail-oriented person 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 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 can always 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 by 25%."

Related: Interview Q&A: How To Answer "How Do You Handle Stress?"

4. "I'm a people person."

Some people are naturally outgoing and conversational and can quickly find ways to feel at home in groups of strangers. This attribute is especially helpful for people in customer service and sales positions. If you aren't naturally outgoing, you can still succeed in sales positions by following training protocols and practicing effective sales techniques.

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. 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."

Related: Interview Types and Techniques To Ace Your Job Interview

5. "I'm a natural leader."

While you can teach people management skills, some 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 boost team morale.

Example: "I'm a natural leader. I've received a promotion to a leadership role in almost every job because I like to help people. I find coworkers 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 received a promotion to a leadership position after less than a year with each company."

Related: 10 Key Leadership Skills With Definitions and Examples

6. "I am results-oriented."

A results-oriented candidate 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 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."

Related: Top Questions To Expect During a Sales Interview

7. "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 customers understand pitches and team members communicate messages to each other effectively.

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 responsible for keeping everyone on the same page. These skills helped increase my client retention rate by more than 40% in a year and helped the team deliver 100% of our projects by the original deadline."

Related: 30 Top Interview Questions To Prepare For (With Answers)

Tips to help you describe yourself

Here are some suggestions to help you prepare for the "describe yourself" interview question:

  • Research the company. Learning what the company values can help you choose the right words to describe yourself. If it takes pride in collaboration or teamwork, highlight your strengths in that area. Your research can also help you decide if the job opening is worth pursuing.

  • Highlight positive attributes. The last thing a hiring manager wants to hear is that you have negative qualities. The "describe yourself" is a time to play up positive attributes you can bring to the company.

  • Ask for help. Asking friends, family or colleagues can be a valuable way to learn what words others would use to describe you. By sharing specific positive attributes and relating them to how you'll use them to help the company, you'll help the interviewer see why you're the best fit for the position.

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