Job Interview Tips: What are the BEST Words to Describe Yourself?

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OK, we MIGHT owe you an apology. You may think that there is a special combination of words to describe yourself that will get you the job. Sorry, we’re not going to tell you what they are and we’re about to burst your bubble, too. These magical ‘buzz words’ simply don’t exist. Don’t shoot the messenger! While there are no words that will guarantee you the job, the ones you do use during an interview can dramatically increase your chance of success. Confused? Let us clear things up for you.

In an interview, your main aim is to really sell yourself to your potential employer. You’ll need to use the right words to describe yourself throughout the entirety of a job interview. However, it’s likely that you will also be given one of the following cues.

“How would you describe yourself?”

This sounds like a nice, innocent question, doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled – your answer will tell an employer a lot more than you may think. The key here is to remember to think about yourself in a professional capacity. A hiring manager doesn’t need to know if you like to go out for meals at the weekend or where you grew up. This isn’t the time to tell your personal history, what you need to do is prove why you are perfect for the job.

“Give me three words to describe yourself”

The great thing about this is that it’s something you can prepare for beforehand. You might not even be asked to give words to describe yourself, but it’s always wise to have a few up your sleeve. Don’t forget to include reasons why you have chosen these words rather than simply opting to list adjective after adjective. Interviewers love it when you back up your claims with evidence. That being said, for this particular question, keep it brief and to the point – no monologues, please!

Preparation

You (hopefully) wouldn’t stroll into an exam without preparing for it. So, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: one of the most important things you need to do to succeed at an interview is prepare yourself! When it comes to describing yourself, you need to be smart and make sure that what you say is relevant. Firstly, to you, so that the interviewer gets an idea of your personality and how it will fit in with the rest of the team. Be careful though, any personal characteristics you talk about in the interview still need to be relevant to a work environment.

Secondly, you need to relate what you’re saying back to the role and company in question. Doing research into the company culture and principles, and really studying the role requirements will help you to decide how you want to present your existing experience, skills and attributes during an interview. Once you have all of this information, you should think about words to describe yourself that will tick all the boxes for your potential new employer. Then, you’ll need to consider how you can work these into your responses.

Examples

To reiterate what has been said previously, sadly there isn’t a sacred list of words that will help you to ace a job interview. However, if you’re in need of a little inspiration, that’s definitely something we can help with.

By now, you know that tailoring the way you respond to interview questions to the role you’re applying for is super important. Bearing in mind this fact, we’ve put together some examples of words to describe yourself for different job types.

Admin

  • Organised
  • Self-motivated
  • Takes initiative
  • Loyal
  • Friendly

Marketing

  • Creative
  • Dynamic
  • Social
  • Influential
  • Innovative

Sales

  • Tenacious
  • Relationship builder
  • Influential
  • Driven
  • Ambitious
  • Energetic
  • Results-focused

Managerial

  • Fair
  • People-focused
  • Strong
  • Leader
  • Relationship builder
  • Influential

Customer Service

  • Friendly
  • Polite
  • Customer-focused
  • Strong communicator
  • Adaptable

Recruitment

  • Resilient
  • Eager
  • Hunter
  • Influential
  • Strong-communicator
  • Relationship builder
  • Self-motivated

Avoid

Clichés are quite hard to avoid whilst describing yourself to an interviewer. However, try to think outside of the box (which, ironically, is a cliché itself) with what you say to ensure that you stand out from any other candidates that are in the running. Don’t stick to the same old overused lines and remember that you’ll need to back anything you say up with evidence.

There is one huge no-no here. No lies. Not even little ones. Yes, you’re trying to sell yourself during an interview and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of exaggeration or embellishing the truth a bit. However, if something is genuinely untrue, just don’t say it. The truth usually has a way of outing itself at some point and, if it does, you could find yourself in hot water.

Bringing it all together

So, in summary, the words you use to describe yourself in an interview should:

  • Be tailored to the type of job
  • Demonstrate that you tick all the job requirement boxes
  • Have evidence to back them up
  • Be true!

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