How to Describe Yourself in an Interview: 9 Methods with Examples

Woman in business suit facing job interviewer at a desk,representing how to describe yourself in an interview

Are you wondering how to describe yourself in an interview? At most job interviews, you will be asked (in one way or another) to tell the interviewer about yourself. If you find yourself getting nervous when this question pops up, don’t worry. While it’s not an easy question to answer, we have some tips and examples here, so you can start practicing how to respond to this question.

Describing yourself in an interview setting requires showing honesty and humility, while also making yourself look confident in your abilities! Interviewers almost always ask this question because they want to know what you’re like and how you view yourself.

The first step in mastering how to describe yourself in an interview is learning to recognize this question type.

Common Variations of the “Describe Yourself” Question

Here are just a few common variations of this common interview question:

  • What are the 3 words that best describe you?
  • 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.
  • Summarize yourself in as few words as possible.

While some of these questions and commands require specifically formatted answers, the majority can be answered in the same way. So, how can you answer these questions? More importantly, what are some positive ways to describe yourself in an interview?

In this post, we will go over some useful positive adjectives to describe yourself, as well as different personality profiles to shape your response to this common interview question.

9 Ways to Describe Yourself in an Interview

While you might have an idea of what traits and characteristics you want to highlight about yourself, you might not be sure how to format your answers. Sometimes, an interviewer wants you to give a detailed description of your character, and other times, they just want you to summarize who you are in as few words as possible. Either way, we’ve got you covered.

In the examples below, we’ve provided some sample interview questions and answers, along with some bonus tips. Feel free to take sentences from different responses to create your own, unique way of describing yourself! While we don’t recommend using these answers word-for-word, they should give you an idea of what good, effective interview answers look like.

Additionally, we highlight different strengths that may fit your personality or goals in the interview room. Every business, interviewer, and position can value different character traits. It’s important to know how to use that to your advantage.

Be sure to read the summary at the end of each tip to understand why and when to use them.

So, let’s look at 9 ways to describe yourself in an interview:

Woman in gray striped suit on cellphone looking at watch

1. Describe Yourself as Flexible and Resourceful

Question: How would you describe yourself?

Sample answers:

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.

Summary:

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.

Torso view of a person in black pinstripe suit with fingers interlaced, next to a chrome analog clock

2. Give a Short But Meaningful Summary About Yourself

Question Type 1: Describe yourself in 3 words.

Sample answers:

I would say that I’m creative, hard-working, and detail-oriented.

I think that I’m an analytical, dependable, and responsible person.

Summary:

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.

Sample answers:

I am a hard-working and driven individual who isn’t afraid to face a challenge.

I’m passionate about my work and I know how to get the job done.

I would describe myself as an open and honest person who doesn’t believe in misleading other people and tries to be fair in everything I do.

Summary:

“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.

Ex.

I’m hard-working, driven, and fearless.

I am a hard-working and driven individual who isn’t afraid to face a challenge.

Group of people business suits representing how to describe yourself in an interview as a team player

3. Talk About Yourself as a “Team Player”

Question: In your opinion, what are your most important traits?

Sample answers:

I’m very communicative, detail-oriented, and versatile. I like to think of myself as a team player. While I don’t mind taking on solo projects, I prefer to work with others.

I like to think that I’m persistent and persuasive. Working in sales, these traits have served me well. Outside of work, I enjoy taking part in lively debates where I can share my views with others.

Summary:

You did your research on the company and found that the work culture is based on community, group, and teamwork. If that’s the case, make sure the interviewer knows you can function well within that culture, and you enjoy socialization outside of it. Remember, for many employers, it’s just as important to fit into a work culture as it is to be able to do the job well.

Torso view of person in blue button-up shirt writing with pen on notepad in front of a laptop

4. Highlight Your Experience and Knowledge

Question: Tell me about yourself.

Sample answers:

Well, I’m very knowledgeable in my field. I worked in IT for over 20 years before transitioning into more managerial roles. Thanks to my years of experience, I’m very meticulous in my work. I also like to keep things very professional. I’m very direct in all of my communications, but I’m also careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

I’ve worked as a systems analyst since I graduated from college. I am very particular about the details of my work, but I also like to stay open-minded to new ideas. I never want to close myself off to other people’s opinions.

Summary:

For more technical positions, interviewers want to be reassured that you have the knowledge and experience to do the job well. When highlighting your experience and knowledge, be sure to be clear and concise, and know exactly what you want to highlight from your experience. Fumbling words or jumping around on a timeline will confuse the interviewer. Therefore, learning how to describe yourself in an interview also requires you to become comfortable speaking in a high-stakes setting.

Woman in black business suit raising pen as if to speak, next to a man and woman, representing how to describe yourself in an interview as a constant learner

5. Describe Yourself as a “Constant Learner”

Question: How would you describe yourself?

Sample answers:

I like to study new things. Being knowledgeable about (your field) or any subject is an ongoing process, and I’m always proactive about seeking new opportunities to develop and grow in my role. Those opportunities could be in the form of training, a conference, listening to a speaker, or taking on a new project, but the motivation is to increase my knowledge of the field.

Summary:

This answer is reserved for interviewing for a position where you may not have enough experience, but you’re willing to learn. Be sure to have examples ready that prove you’ve been proactive about your learning experiences. Thus, knowing how to describe yourself in an interview without making yourself look inadequate is key.

Woman in white collared shirt with hand up to a black headset, sitting in front of desktop computer with people working in the background

6. Describe Yourself as a “People Person” (For Team-Oriented or Customer-Facing Jobs)

Question: In your opinion, what are your most important traits?

Sample answers:

My most valuable trait is that I’m a people person who enjoys meeting new individuals and learning about their lives. I always find some common ground with everyone even if I have to get creative to do so.

It’s always helpful when you have someone on your team that you can rely on to make your customers feel comfortable and at ease and is emotionally resourceful in repairing or improving relationships within the team. I pride myself on having those traits.

Summary:

The “most important traits” question is typically asked in the middle of the interview. Because of this, you’ll have a chance to gain more insight (from the interviewer’s questions) as to what type of individual they’re looking to hire. If they’re looking for a “people person,” it’s good to have an answer ready to complement that character trait.

Woman in light blue shirt with hands on hip smiling at man in blue t-shirt who is talking to her, representing how to describe yourself as confident

7. Present Yourself as Confident (But Not Cocky)

Question: What words come to mind when you think about yourself?

Sample answers:

I’m a mature, candid individual who has and values integrity. My confidence in myself and those traits are the reason people tend to come to me for answers to questions even if I’m not in a leadership position. Even if I don’t know the answer, I know I can point someone in the right direction.

Summary:

When asked this question, follow up with a little background as to why you chose those words. You don’t have to just give descriptive words and stop speaking in this situation. Pause and let the words resonate with the interviewer.

And, to describe yourself as confident in an interview, you must speak with confidence (imagine that!). As you get ready for the interview, you want to both look and feel the part. Interviewers typically are trained or at least work with people, so they’ll be able to sense if you have doubts about what you’re saying.

Tablet with bar graph on screen with two people's arms holding two clipboards in background

8. Highlight Your Expertise with Numbers or Results

Question: How would you describe your personality?

Sample answers:

I’m a results-oriented person who is confident in my ability to produce. Granted, I do have a degree of modesty, but I like to consistently set firm goals, and am constantly analyzing to see how far along I am (or the team is) and what I can do to achieve the goal. That pressure is inspiring and a great motivator.

Summary:

Some companies are all about the numbers, and you should know that before you go into the interview. This is another situation where you really want to portray yourself as someone who can do what you say you can do. Be sure to have examples of when you hit your numbers ready for follow-up questions.

Woman in white blouse and gray skirt typing on computer with another woman in background pointing marker at a poster board with diagrams.

9. Present Yourself as a Self-Starter or an Independent Person

Question: Summarize yourself in as few words as possible.

Sample answers:

I’m a positive and resourceful individual who can execute difficult tasks and doesn’t need to be micromanaged.

I’m a resolute and dependable person with unwavering determination to do well at my job and solve problems in the most autonomous manner possible.

Summary:

Based on your career choice and/or a company’s work culture, you might have to prove that you have the ability to work on your own. I know as a freelance writer, this type of answer is my go-to to every potential client to reinforce that I can get the job done on my own and without supervision.

Person in white shirt and black tie with hands pushing three wooden blocks labeled (from top to bottom): think, positive, be

How to Describe Yourself in a Positive Way

Now that we’ve discussed how to describe yourself in an interview, let’s look at some positive words that will send the right message to your interviewers.

Positive Words to Describe Yourself During an Interview

  • Knowledgeable
  • Precise
  • Professional
  • Proactive
  • Meticulous
  • Consistent
  • Honest
  • Direct
  • Flexible
  • Motivated
  • Reliable
  • Responsible
  • Innovative
  • Open-minded
  • Dynamic
  • Resourceful
  • Fair
  • Creative
  • Thorough
  • Careful
  • Analytical
  • Outgoing
  • Disciplined
  • Intelligent
  • Hard-working
  • Loyal
  • Dependable
  • Engaged
  • Communicative
  • Persuasive
  • Adaptable
  • Detail-oriented
  • Versatile
  • Integrity
  • Mature
  • Inspiring

For even more positive ways to describe yourself, check out this ultimate list of positive adjectives.

Man in glasses and blue button-up shirt sitting next to woman in white business suit, both holding pens and looking at person being interviewed, representing how to describe yourself in an interview.

Final Tips on How to Describe Yourself in an Interview

Now that you know how to describe yourself using positive words, it’s time for some final tips that will help you formulate your own answers!

Here are a few things that you should keep in mind on how to describe yourself in an interview:

  • Keep things positive – It’s fine if you want to talk about your strengths and weaknesses, but try to focus more on your strengths and positive attributes. Remember, an interviewer will be less inclined to hire you if your description is overly negative. So, be sure to keep things bright and positive!
  • Don’t boast – This is the difficult part when it comes to how to describe yourself in an interview. You want to make yourself sound good, but you don’t want to sound arrogant (too confident). Instead, try to focus on your best qualities while recognizing the areas in which you could improve.
  • Be honest – It’s easy to focus too much on the goal of impressing your interviewer. Oftentimes, this can lead you to exaggerate or even lie about your personality, abilities, etc. So, try to be honest with your answers. Even if you get the job, you might find it difficult to meet their expectations if you lied in the interview.
  • Make your answers personal – The example answers above are meant to give you a general idea of how to describe yourself to an interviewer. That said, you don’t want to give generic answers about yourself. These won’t make you stand out as a candidate. Instead, try to personalize your answers. You can do this by mentioning your hobbies, interests, or experiences outside of work.
  • Keep it short – While you should personalize your answers, no interviewer wants to hear your entire life story. You should always give complete answers that get straight to the point. In other words, your answers shouldn’t be long-winded or include a lot of irrelevant details.
  • Be confident – Most importantly, in an interview, be confident about the things you say. Employers are looking for individuals who they can have confidence in to perform the duties of a position, and that starts from the first interview. After all, if you don’t have confidence in yourself, how can they have confidence in you?

Conclusion

After reading this, one interview question may seem a little overwhelming, especially when it’s just one part of an entire interview. If you take anything from these tips, know that it’s just an interview. Most people have many interviews throughout their careers whether it’s a position change or upgrade. And you may not do great in every single one.

But with preparation, positivity, and confidence, you can take these tips into the interview room and really make an impression with your interviewer. After the interview, be sure to write a job interview follow up email and write down some notes for yourself on how the interview went. These notes can help you better prepare for the next round or the next interview.

Like most skills, learning how to describe yourself in an interview is something that comes with a great deal of practice and experience. So be confident, be true to yourself, and good luck with your job search!

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