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.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

Take the fear out of your interview and never be stuck for the right answer to even the toughest questions with The Interview Question & Answer Book.

The job market is fierce, competition has never been greater and it's important that you can grab every opportunity for competitive advantage and stay one step ahead. Written by one of the world's leading careers experts and bestselling author of The Interview Book, this definitive guide to questions and answers encourages every job-hunter to think on your feet and express your individuality while supplying ideal responses to interview questions so that you’re seen as the ideal candidate for the job.


Order The Interview Question & Answer Book from Amazon

Have your career documents written by the professionals!
Order Now

How About a Free Resume Review?

Get started by having a professional Resume writer score your existing Resume against a critical set of points.

Enter your email address and attach your CV below and we'll have it reviewed within 24-48 hours.