3 Answers To "Describe Yourself" Interview Question

Human beings love to label themselves. There really isn’t much of an issue with this, either. We use words to describe ourselves constantly, whether to make ourselves easier to understand or to help us solidify our own identities.

However, when the hiring manager drops the “describe yourself” bomb, it suddenly becomes very difficult to put ourselves in a box. What are they trying to find out? How should this question be answered?

We’ll cover everything you need to know in this guide.

We won’t be covering a similar interview question, “Describe yourself in one word.” We’ll have another guide on that one, and it does differ substantially from the broader “describe yourself” questions.

Table Of Contents

When You Might be Asked to Describe Yourself in an Interview

On a basic level, your interviewer will as the “describe yourself” interview question to simply find out more about you as a person and potential employee.

An interviewer may also look for “describe yourself” interview answers that show your ability to self-criticize and be introspective. An employee who knows their strengths, faults, and areas to improve on is an employee that wants to improve and grow as a person. This is always a great addition to any professional team.

Pro tip: In a Job Outlook Survey performed by NACE in 2019, it was mentioned that communication skills (written and verbal) were one of the biggest skills desired by employers. Knowing how to answer interview questions like "describe yourself" test these skills.

A hiring manager may also be looking for faults or qualities that may make you a poor choice for the position. Because of this, it is vital to be both humble in your answer as well as honest.

What is the Interviewer Looking for When They Ask You to Describe Yourself?

The hiring manager is looking for answers that relate to both your personality as well as your professional persona.

For example, answering with this may not be a great idea:

I would describe myself as friendly. My friends tell me all the time that I am easy to be around and an all-around lover of fun. This can be both good and bad, of course, but I think we live in a world that could use more kindness.

You’re being honest and humble about your personal qualities, but none of these words relate to the job at hand. If you’re applying for a customer service position, consider answering with more of a tie-in to the prospective job:

I would describe myself as friendly. My coworkers from my previous positions would tell me all the time that I was easy to work with and made the job go much smoother. I think in customer service, one needs to have an empathetic and likable personality to benefit the people around them as well as the customers they serve. Being very friendly can be both good and bad, of course, especially on a personal level, but I think we live in a world that could use more kindness.

See the difference? The previous answer was not tied into the job at hand, while the second answer was much more relational to customer service.

3 Best Example Answers to "Describe Yourself" for the Marketing Department

1. I'm the kind of employee who knows how to execute very hard and tedious tasks with precision. I pay attention to all the details of a project for the best results. I make sure that every aspect of a task to be completed is just right, and that it is completed in a timely manner.

2. I enjoy solving complex problems, troubleshooting, and brainstorming unique solutions in a quick manner. I absolutely thrive in team-based settings, and I think my skills when it comes to effectively communicating with others, especially my coworkers or team members, is what drives my ability to solve a variety of problems in a marketing campaign.

3. I am definitely results-oriented. I’m constantly checking in with the goal of determining how close or how far off we are in a marketing project, and what it will take to make it happen quickly and perfectly. I find this love of pressure and challenges inspiring and a great motivator for the rest of the team, which is always a good thing. In fact, over the past two years, I was able to help my team shorten our average campaign writing time by three weeks.

3 Best Example Answers to "Describe Yourself" for the Sales Department

1. I'm such a people person. I really love meeting and working with a lot of different personalities, and I am known at my previous job for being a great listener and excellent communicator. Whether I’m engaging with coworkers or interacting with customers in need of sales support, I try to always keep this aspect of my personality active.

2. I’m very good with strangers and I’m also quite extroverted. I think you need to be in order to thrive in sales. I love meeting new customers and learning about their lives and their backgrounds. I can almost always find commonalities with strangers, and I like making people feel comfortable and listen to. I find this skill is especially helpful when getting new clients on board with a new product. In my previous job, my customer satisfaction scores were 20% over the brand average.

3. I would describe myself as an excellent communicator. I enjoy making sure people have the right information because it drives better results in sales. Most company issues stem from a lack of communication, so I feel a personal responsibility to keep everyone on the same page. These skills have helped increase my personal client retention rate by more than 50% in the past year or so, and also helped my previous sales team to deliver all of our projects by the original deadline, if not sooner.

3 Best Example Answers to "Describe Yourself" for the Creative Department

1. I'm quite a creative thinker and creative person, both professionally and in my personal life. I like to explore different solutions to problems, and I am open-minded about what will work best as a particular solution. My creativity has made me a very efficient team leader because I can anticipate problems and come up with solutions on the dot.

2. I am so passionate about my work. Because I love what I do in the creative industry, I have a steady source of motivation at all times that drives me to do my absolute best. In my last position, this passion for my work led me to challenge myself on a daily basis and learn new skills that helped me complete projects in a better way. For example, I taught myself how to use Illustrator to improve the quality of our photos, navigation icons, and graphics. I soon became the go-to person for any design needs on my creative team, and I’d like to bring that to this position.

3. I would describe myself as very highly motivated. I particularly enjoy working as a part of a team, which is very useful in the creative industry. In my last position I was part of a group of eleven people and we communicated multiple times per day to work as a unit to complete our last project. I also interacted very frequently with other groups like the sales department, development and operations, and customer service department. I get a thrill out of fast-paced, team-oriented company culture like this.

3 Best Example Answers to "Describe Yourself" for all Departments

1. I'm an extremely very person who is focused on producing top results. While I am always realistic when setting goals in my personal and professional life, I consistently develop ways to efficiently achieve and exceed those goals.

2. I’d describe myself as a natural leader. I’ve been promoted to a leadership or management role in almost every position I’ve worked in because I like to help people. I’ve noticed that coworkers usually come to me with questions when I’m not in a leadership position because if I don’t know the right answer, I’ll work with them to find one. In my last three roles, I was promoted to head supervisor positions after less than six months with each company.

3. I’d say I’m very resourceful and ambitious, which goes hand in hand. I find solutions and solve problems without asking for the help of coworkers or supervisors. I know when to ask for aid and I make it clear when I do need assistance.

17 Best "Describe Yourself" One Sentence Example Answers

1. I would describe myself as a go-getter, which is vital for this kind of job.

2. I’d describe myself as a natural empath, which makes it easier to deal with customer service.

3. I would say I am strong-willed, which is so necessary for this industry for achieving sales.

4. I would describe myself as organized, and we all know how organized you have to be in this industry to stay on top.

5. I’m a people-person.

6. I’m a natural leader.

7. I am results-oriented.

8. I am an excellent communicator.

9. I’d describe myself as detail-oriented, something that I think all developers worth their salt need to be.

10. I am very team-oriented, and I love being part of something for the greater good.

11. I would describe myself as a leader, not just a manager or boss.

12. I’d describe myself as goal-oriented, and I’m perfect for this position because it is so focused on reaching deadlines.

13. I would say I am timely, I hate being late or missing deadlines.

14. I am a mentally strong individual, and to handle this kind of workload I believe you really need to have a mental fortress.

15. I am passionate about my work.

16. I am ambitious and driven.

17. I am highly organized.

Related: 80+ Best Answers To "Describe Yourself In One Word"

3 Best Example Answers to "Describe Yourself" that Speak to Your Personality

1. I’d describe myself as ambitious and driven. I love a good challenge and constantly set goals for myself professionally so that I have something to strive toward. I’m not very comfortable with settling for the bare minimum, and I’m always looking for an opportunity to improve myself and achieve goals. In my previous role, I was promoted two times in less than one year.

2. I would describe myself as highly organized. I am always taking notes and I use a variety of tools to help myself stay on top of deadlines and project tasks. I like to keep a clean and organized desk and create a sensical filing method so that I’m always able to find what I need on the spot. I have found that this increases efficiency and helps the other members of the team stay on track as well. In my last role, I created a new filing process that increased departmental efficiency by 12%.

3. I’m ridiculously ambitious. One of the reasons I’m looking for a new position right now is that I want to work on wide-scale important projects and challenge myself as a professional. I like to seek out new opportunities to learn and I’m not afraid at all to fail and struggle as a part of the process, as long as I improve. I feel that this industry is the best place to find challenges like this right now. I also did some research on this company’s mission and I think the workplace culture here sounded like a great fit for me as a person.

FAQ’s

Why does the interviewer ask this question?

It is a leading question, one that is intended to break the ice and begin the conversation you’re going to have in the interview.

Where does this question get asked?

Normally this question is asked during the in-person interviews. It is not normally asked over the phone.

What should I avoid when asked to describe myself?

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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