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Interview Question: 'Describe Yourself in Three Words.'

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Guide Overview

Why employers ask you to 'Describe yourself in three words.'How to respond to 'Describe yourself in three words.'What to avoid when responding to 'Describe yourself in three words.'Words you can use to describe yourselfExample answers to 'Describe yourself in three words.'

Guide Overview

Replying to 'Describe yourself in three words.'

At the beginning of an interview, it's likely that an employer will ask you questions to learn more about your personality. For instance, they may say 'Describe yourself in three words,' to get a quick understanding of how you view yourself. When answering this interview question, it's wise to tie in a few attributes that would make you a good fit for the role. Learn more about why employers ask you to describe yourself and how to successfully answer this question.

Why employers ask you to 'Describe yourself in three words.'

Employers ask you to ‘Describe yourself in three words.’ to get a quick idea of how you see yourself. When asking this question, it’s likely that they are looking for adjectives that can align with the role they are filling. These three words are essentially your personal brand and should be a way to define your personality along with your professional side.

How to respond to 'Describe yourself in three words.'

Follow these steps to prepare for when employers say ‘Describe yourself in three words’:

1. Create a list of words

Prior to preparing your response, start writing down any word that comes to mind when you think of yourself. Don’t think too deeply at first, and just see what you initially think of. As you write your list, you may think of more nuanced adjectives that describe who you are. If you’re feeling stuck, ask family or friends to think of a few words.

2. Choose three that embody your brand

Take a look at your list and begin to cross out words that seem shallow or pretentious. Instead, highlight words that represent your personal, authentic brand. Then, look at the job description again and think of which words best relate to it. This can help you guide your answer to one that is relevant to the job while still being true to yourself.

3. Explain why you chose them

After listing the three words, give a brief explanation as to why you chose each one. Find ways you can relate them to how you’ll use them in this position. This is also supposed to be a lighthearted question, so use it as an opportunity to let your personality shine.

What to avoid when responding to 'Describe yourself in three words.'

Avoid these things when describing yourself in an interview:

  • Showing too much ego: Although you should show some confidence when answering this question, you should also be a bit humble. Words like amazing, or awesome don’t really mean anything and may come off wrong.
  • Being too timid: Likewise, you should show that you do have self-confidence when answering this question. Instead of saying I’ve never thought about it, or I’m unsure try to come up with responses that show why you’re a great person to hire.
  • Choosing irrelevant words: Although certain words may perfectly describe your personality outside of work, they may not offer much value to the interview. Pick words that both embody your personality and describe your professional self.

Words you can use to describe yourself

  • Adventurous
  • Ambitious
  • Analytical
  • Attentive
  • Balanced
  • Communicative
  • Creative
  • Curious
  • Dedicated
  • Driven
  • Dynamic
  • Empathetic
  • Engaged
  • Energetic
  • Flexible
  • Helpful
  • Insightful
  • Inquisitive
  • Organized
  • Passionate
  • Patient
  • Reliable
  • Responsible
  • Thoughtful
  • Witty

Example answers to 'Describe yourself in three words.'

Use these examples as inspiration when replying to ‘Describe yourself in three words.’:

Example 1

I would describe myself as driven, helpful, and reliable. I chose driven because I am always working toward a new goal and trying to achieve more. Even though I set out to accomplish my own goals, I make sure to stop and help others, which is why I chose that word too. I think that in order for a company to succeed, we need to lend a hand to one another. Finally, I chose reliable because I stick to my promises. If I say I’ll do it, you don’t have to remind me. I’ll get it done promptly.

Example 2

First, I am thoughtful. I have a habit of always thinking of others and finding ways to make their days better or to lighten their load. Second, I am organized. I thrive off planners and sticky notes to ensure I am getting all of my work done on time. Finally, I am empathetic. I can easily understand other’s perspectives and find ways to find common ground.

Example 3

I am curious, insightful, and passionate. By always exploring the world around me and researching new things, I find that I often have a lot to contribute to a conversation or brainstorming session. When I am interested in something, I become truly passionate about digging into it as much as possible. These three words are why I have so much research experience and am looking for more.

Example 4

Creative, flexible, and adventurous are three words I’d use to describe myself. My creativity helps me think of new things to make along with finding out-of-the-ordinary solutions to complex problems. I often go with the flow when a situation is out of my control, making me a rather flexible person. In a fast-paced work environment, it’s important to adapt rather than dwell on the situation. Finally, my adventurousness always leads me to accept new challenges. That’s why I am hoping to move onto a senior-level position.

Example 5

The first word I’d use to describe myself is witty. That’s why I enjoy writing so much. Finding a fun pun or reference is what I do best. I am also quite patient. If an idea isn’t coming to me, I don’t give up. Instead, I keep chewing on it until something great arises. Lastly, I am dynamic, meaning that I have a lot of skills to offer to this position.

Example 6

I am communicative, meaning that I always want there to be a clear line of communication. It’s better to clarify than to be confused. I am also engaged. I love throwing myself into a project and making it an important part of my life. Finally, I am inquisitive. I am always asking questions to learn more.

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