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How to Answer "What Words Best Describe You" in an Interview

This is a tough question, because who can sum themselves up in a few simple words? It may seem easy to ramble on about your life, your passions, and your hobbies, but to tell a total stranger about who you are at the core of your being is definitely a challenge.

The question is very broad, to tell you the truth. The interviewer doesn't care about you as the complete person you think you are, what you do on the weekends, or where you come from. All they care about is how you see yourself as a professional.

How to Answer This Question:

Before you go into the interview, take a few minutes to prepare for this question by thinking about your past work experience. Consider:

  • Your attention to detail. If you notice the little things, pay attention to every word that people tell you, or see mistakes where others do not, you can use the words "detail-oriented" to describe yourself. If you don't notice details, you can describe yourself as "focused on the objective".
  • Your people skills. If you are great with people, can interact easily with anyone, and are loved by all, you can easily say you're a "people person". If, however, you are not very good with people and find yourself preferring to be alone, you can call yourself a "task-oriented person".
  • Your creativity. Do you think big, dream bigger, and shoot for the stars? You can definitely use the term "creative thinker" or "visionary" to describe yourself. If you have all the creativity of a rock, you can say you are "grounded" or "focused".
  • Your organization skills. Are you the kind of person that stacks their Post-It's by color AND size, have all the pencils in their cup sharpened, and know where everything is? You can definitely describe yourself as "highly organized". If chaos is your best friend, you can describe your way of operating as "willing to adapt".
  • Your efficiency. If you are the kind of person that arrives at 8:59 and leaves at 5:01, you are a "highly efficient" person. If you tend to arrive late and prefer to leave early, focus on your work and say you are "productive".
  • Your problem-solving skills. Do you enjoy finding the solution to problems, no matter how large or small? If so, you are a "troubleshooter" or "problem-solver". If problems just stress you out and you need to ask others for help, your strong suit is definitely in "interpersonal relationships".

The point of this question is to find out about the way you work, but you can take anything--even something negative--and spin it into something positive that will make you look better in the interview.

As you answer this question, try to add something describing how you can use your particular set of skills to improve the company. Use the descriptors that you used to present yourself to highlight a way that your presence in the company will be to the benefit of all.

You'll definitely want to sit down and spend time preparing for this question before the interview!

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