How would you describe yourself?

  | James Innes


Classic Interview Questions and Answers

How would you describe yourself? / How would your boss/colleagues/team/family/friends describe you?

Alternative and related questions:

What do you think your references will say about you?
What kind of person are you to work with?

The meaning behind the question:

The interviewer wants to assess how you perceive yourself. Whether they ask how you would describe yourself or how others would describe you, their question is all about your perception of yourself – seeing yourself as others see you.

Your answer:

This is a very popular question and could conceivably have made my top 10. It’s vital to be prepared for it.

You will want to make sure you have a few well-chosen adjectives up your sleeve ready to answer this question, e.g. loyal, dedicated, ambitious, determined, independent, highly motivated, understanding, etc. Tell the interviewer what they want to hear! But don’t be too bigheaded; a little modesty can go a long way.

It’s a difficult balance to strike but I hope the following example will show you how to achieve this.


I would describe myself as a very determined and highly motivated person. I do take my job seriously but I’m able to see things in perspective and believe I’m quite easy-going to work with. I’m an optimist rather than a pessimist – but I’m also a realist and I cope well when the going gets tough; I’m very good at finding solutions to problems. Above all, I would say I’m a positive and enthusiastic person – and I relish a challenge.

Word of warning:

There’s no need to back up this answer with examples – such as outlining a time when you were particularly understanding with a colleague. It would be going too far.

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