Interview Tips

How To Answer: Can You Describe Yourself in 3 Words?

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By: Shane Hostetler
May 8, 2020 • 5 min read
Image Credits: Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

How to Answer: Can you describe yourself in three words?

How would you describe yourself in three words? This is an incredibly common interview question, often dreaded by interviewees. Not only is it hard to describe yourself in only three words, it is hard to describe yourself in a way that is both humble and impressive. It may seem like a question that you can just breeze through. However, answering this question well can significantly enhance your interview. It will leave the interviewer with a first impression of you and show them how you think about yourself. Here are some tips on how to nail this question and land your dream job! 

Emphasize Your Achievements 

When asked to describe yourself, use your past achievements to prove why you are “XYZ.” This will leave your interviewer not only aware of your positive qualities but your accomplishments. For example, say you have a lot of leadership experience. You can say that you are a leader because you ran two teams in the past, were the manager of a company, lead a group of mathletes to a victory, whatever it is that proves this. Utilizing your achievements not only demonstrates your point but shows the employer how you bring even more value. Use every opportunity you get to highlight your accomplishments, and this question is a great way to do so.

Example: I would describe myself as really creative. I have won multiple art shows in the past and grew a social media account from scratch. I really enjoy being creative. 

Example: I would describe myself as very inclusive. I enjoy working in teams and collaborating with my fellow coworkers. In my past job, I was elected the team leader for my department.

Example: I would describe myself as very personable. I have vast customer service and retail experience, where I had the opportunity to assist customers daily. I loved building relationships with customers and getting to know them, and help them feel welcome in the store. 

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Show Off Your Range

Try to avoid using words that are synonyms. Use words that highlight all the different aspects of your skills. For example, if your first word was creative, do not say artistic for your second word. Those two words have the same message, and your interviewer may think that you only have a few skills or qualities. A good rule is to use two words that describe your different skillsets and then use the third word for how people describe you. Make sure to add this to the first tip to really make an impact.

Example: I would describe myself as really creative. Winning multiple art shows in the past and growing a social media account from scratch has let me expand my creativity. I would also say that I am a leader when given the right tools – in my last job, I led a team of three people to complete a project. Also, I have been told in the past that I’m a very generous person. 

Example: I would describe myself as very creative, inclusive, and personable. I love finding innovative ways to always include everyone on the team and highlight their strengths. I mainly focus on ensuring that my team builds positive relationships with all of our customers and makes my personable energy contagious. 

Job Description

As with every interview question, go back to the job description. The interviewer already has an ideal candidate in mind. It is always a good idea to know what kind of person the company wants to hire. For example, if you are interviewing for a management position, describe yourself in a way that highlights your ability to lead. If you are interviewing for an art position, demonstrate your creativity. This is a great way to show that you are a good fit. 

Example: I have a lot of experience working in customer service. My strong retail background has prepared me to handle customer complaints while keeping a professional and calm manner. 

Example: I have strong problem-solving skills. I have worked on a variety of teams with people who possess different strengths and weaknesses. In my past position working in a department store, we would get slammed around the holiday season. I used my problem-solving skills to stay efficient and effective while providing the best shopping experience possible. 

 

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Be Honest When You Describe Yourself

This question is an excellent way for you to showcase yourself. However, it is never a good idea to lie or exaggerate the truth. Be confident in your answer; there are many reasons you are a good fit for this job. There is no need to lie. Exaggerating the truth can set you up for future failure. The company may think you are more experienced than you are and assign you challenging tasks. Use words and answers that describe the honest and great person that you are! 

Example: I believe I am a good fit for this company because of my love for technology and helping others. My weakness is that I do not have a lot of experience working on a team, but I am open to collaboration and was a member of many clubs in college.

Example: I believe I am a good fit for this position because I have strong communication skills, I am very reliable, and I am skilled at problem-solving. I am a determined individual with a passion for people, and I believe I could provide excellent customer service while always being a reliable team member others can count on. 

Good luck with your next interview! Check out how to answer the most common questions, and let us know how your interview goes.

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