Powerful Words To Describe Yourself In A Job Interview (+ Examples)


Top 15 Words to describe yourself in an interview

Out of 250+ resumes sent to a company, a hiring manager only selects 4 to 6 candidates for an interview. And the employers usually run 2-3 rounds of interview before they choose a candidate. During both in-person and virtual interviews you will be asked to describe yourself, and many candidates stumble upon this seemingly simple question.

While giving your answer, you'll need to lead through case studies, maintain positive body language and choose positive words to describe yourself. In today's article, the consultants of will offer a list of words to describe yourself. In addition, we will offer persuasive words you can use in job application documents and social media so that you could make a consistent positive impression.

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15 positive words to describe yourself during job interview

This question may be asked in different forms. Say, an interviewer might ask you to use 3 words to describe yourself. Or, they can clarify where and how you demonstrated a certain personality trait. Since 75% of recruiters use behavioral questions, you will be asked to provide examples for sure!

But let's start with words. If you're not sure which words to use to describe yourself, check the examples from the list below:

  1. ambitious
  2. assertive
  3. bilingual
  4. dependable
  5. ethical
  6. flexible
  7. innovative
  8. inspirational
  9. loyal
  10. motivated
  11. personable
  12. resourceful
  13. respectful
  14. responsible
  15. versatile

Why these adjectives? The secret is, they relate to the traits and qualifications that most employers expect to see in an ideal candidate. At the same time, they don't sound too cliche or overused. Now, let's look at some bad examples that won't help your career during the interview.

8 interview words to avoid

  1. extensively experienced
  2. go-getter
  3. guru
  4. open-minded person
  5. perfectionist
  6. successful
  7. talented
  8. team player

Why not to use them? These adjectives aren't much helpful. Some of them are widely overused, and the recruiters see them on nearly every resume. Some are describing qualities subjectively or in an excessively self-promotional way.

At any rate, the interviewer's goal is not to hear sophisticated words. Think of how you will use these words to describe real work situations and successful case studies.

Examples of how to describe your personality on the interview

•‌ I am an innovative person who is driven to create value. I see a breadth of opportunities where other people don't, turning ideas into professional-related projects that bring consecutive successes.

•‌ I am a passionate individual with a creative mindset. I have a unique view on addressing new challenges that I developed through versatile interests and hobbies. I believe that creativity is what distinguishes me and lets me offer my employers a competitive advantage.

•‌ I have high personal motivation for working with you. I've learned its history online while in college and evaluated your business strategies. Since I'm a long-time customer of the company, I took the opportunity to draft this report with some suggestions for improving your services.

Sales Manager: interview description example

•‌ I have worked as a Sales Manager for over 5 years. I started as a sales assistant in a doors and furniture store, and was promoted to a manager after one year. I consulted clients on the purchase of furniture in an honest and supportive way, calculated the cost of accessories, cooperated with construction organizations, and interacted with design, warehouse and delivery departments. I resolved complaints in a polite and diplomatic way and controlled the shipment of goods ensuring that the clients are satisfied.

Self-description of a designer

•‌ I am a results oriented designer with 3 years of experience. In the previous role, I worked with print design includng brochures, billboards, magazines, and development of corporate identity and logos. Moreover, I'm a highly creative web designer with experience in social media ads and website design. I have a personable nature and eager to work in a diverse team.

You need to go beyond simply listing the adjectives to impress the hiring manager. Prepare brief description of your personal and professional traits, and use powerful words just to amplify the positive impression.

How to answer interview questions effectively?

Picking the right words to describe yourself is only one of the challenges you have as a candidate. To make sure your interview is a success, follow these rules:

Prepare thoroughly

To give a strong answer to each interview question, do your homework. Consider bringing a portfolio to make the story of your accomplishments even more descriptive. It is a great indicator of your success. If you can show articles, pictures or case studies, you'll find it much easier to start a conversation. You won't have to prove anything, as all your skills have been documented. Tell the interviewer about how you have achieved such results, how your working day is organized and what it takes for you to succeed. Such a responsible approach, even at the interview stage, will help persuade the employer to choose you.

Learn to present yourself

To make the right impression during the interview, the candidate must have well-developed self-presentation skills. Presentation is the ability to present your abilities and talents in a way that entices the recruiter to choose you over other applicants. Keep in mind that self-presentation is not just about showing up and telling about your past jobs. Its purpose is to "sell" your credentials and influence the person doing the interview. Therefore, the the responsibility for the success of the presentation always rests with the speaker, so you might want to practice answering questions in front of the mirror and selecting the words to describe yourself at home.

Be concise

Stating yourself briefly in a job interview is often the best approach. All the employer needs is to make an impression of the candidate. Long narratives make little sense. The answer should take no more than 2-3 minutes. This time is enough to present a couple of interesting facts that can characterize the applicant as a productive professional and a responsible person. Keep in mind that you shouldn't simply reiterate facts included in a resume. Think of original words and examples that describe you positively. As you talk to the employer, make sure to demonstrate not only the bare facts, but also your mindset, the ability to communicate confidently, and your business ethics.

Mind the non-verbal cues

Figures show that recruiters need about 90 seconds to determine if they like a candidate. Since little things can be told this fast, remember about body language. A smile, a strong handshake and a straight posture subconsciously show confidence and professionalism. Remember to sit without legs or arms crossed and speak calmly. Such tiny things are essential for building an overall positive imporession about the candidate.

Showcase your strengths - but stay sensible

Remember that you are expected to brag during the job interview. However, restrain yourself from non-grounded claims or white lies. Say, when applying for a regional sales manager position to a cosmetics company, don't just say that you're the best sales manager in Illionis. Well, if that was the case, you would be overwhelmed with job offers! Speaking about stretching the truth, in most cases, career facts are easy to check. The best strategy is to tell the truth and let facts and past successes speak for themselves.

Speaking to the interviewer: Tips

•‌ As you sit in a chair, take take a comfortable position but keep a straight posture;

•‌ Refrain yourself from slang and internet abbreviations - keep your speech professional;

•‌ Don't share facts that might question your professionalism;

•‌ Focus on experiences and skills that meet the requirements set for the candidate;

•‌ Avoid both excessive modesty and stretching the truth.

Verbs & adjectives to describe yourself in a cover letter

45% of hiring managers reject applications without cover letter, so it's better to always use it. In cover letters, you can use pretty much the same words to describe yourself as listed above. Yet, don't aim to use many different words as it won't get you noticed. Describe specific situations from your work history, and only rely on adjectives to strengthen your impact. You will also like our list of verbs and adverbs for your resume. Remember not to copy and paste job descriptions from the resume. Here are some more ideas of words for cover letter specifically:

  1. accountable
  2. conscientous
  3. diplomatic
  4. direct
  5. traditional
  6. trustworthy
  7. unconventional

Telling about yourself in social media

On professional social media platforms like LinkedIn, it's acceptable to sound a bit more conversational and direct comparing to a resume or an interview. You are also expected to show more of your personality and tell what drives you. When choosing words that best describe you, avoid too formal phrases and adjectives. Your goal here is to sound natural, as if you were talking to a colleague you've known for a while. Here are some good ideas of words to describe yourself:

  1. empowering
  2. open-minded
  3. passionalte
  4. self-aware
  5. strong-willed

Key Takeaways

  1. Select the right words for the self-description in advance, ideally at home. Think of words that aren't widely overused and don't sound cliche.
  2. Remember that powerful adjectives are just a tool, not the goal themselves. Use them in sentences naturally as you describe past accomplishments, case studies and your personal traits.
  3. Be ready to present the proof. If you call yourself 'a knowledgeable leader', prepare to explain where you demonstrated your knowledge and what you managed to achieve for the company with your leadership.
  4. Don't use the same words everywhere! Vary your language in different documents to sound more versatile. Similarly, use other words (less formal) when filling out your LinkedIn profile.

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