Once you understand why hiring managers ask this question, you can start preparing for your interview. Here are some tips that will help you provide a desirable answer to this question:
1. Be honest
When asked to describe yourself (especially to people you want to impress), it’s easy to create a gleaming façade that makes you seem perfect.
In an interview, you may focus too much on impressing the hiring managers, which ends up with you offering an exaggerated or false perception of yourself. Interviewers will often sense this, or worse, realise it after they’ve hired you.
It’s therefore essential that you describe yourself with honesty and candour, so you can prove yourself to be a trustworthy and reliable candidate.
2. Maintain a positive attitude
You may feel compelled to mention your negative traits, such as being shy, bossy or fussy when describing yourself. This a quite a common interview mistake.
However, unless you are asked specifically about your weaknesses, it’s important to avoid mentioning traits that could count against you. Your aim here is to impress hiring managers and present the qualities they’re looking for in a candidate.
Therefore, focus on your most positive traits; think of qualities that best describe you. You are quite literally selling yourself, so use positive vocabulary that proves why you’re a strong candidate.
Here is a list of adjectives that may apply to you:
Come up with a list beforehand, so you’re ready to answer this question breezily. You can even ask friends and family for help if you’re unsure of what to say.
3. Show confidence
Almost everyone has the jitters before an interview. Nervousness can cause you to stutter or give rushed answers, so you must shake off the nerves before the big day. When you answer the question ‘How would you describe yourself?’ try to stay relaxed – the interviewers will pick up on your confidence right away.
When you give a prepared, well-rounded and authentic response, you show hiring managers that you are confident about your skills.
However, be careful – being confident is one thing, being cocky is another. Avoid boasting or exaggerating your best qualities as you could come off as arrogant, which could cost you the role.
4. Relate your answer to the role
When asked to describe yourself in an interview, make sure to choose qualities that match the job role. While ‘energetic’ is a positive trait for most job positions, it won’t fit right for the role of an accountant, for instance. Align your qualities with the skills required for the role.
Research the company beforehand and get a clear idea of what they want from an employee. This interview question aims to uncover how your character can bring value to the organisation. Having a good understanding of the company culture can help you describe yourself in a way that appeals to the interviewers.
From reading through their website and scrolling through their social media, knowing about the company’s mission, values, and culture will help you formulate a successful answer.
5. Support your answer
Make sure to support your answer with examples. It’s great to call yourself a natural leader, but it’s even better when you provide evidence to back up your claims.
To support your answer by referring to past work experiences and personal stories that highlight your personality and prove the value you will bring to the company. This way, you’ll give the interviewers more reasons to hire you.
For example, if you apply for a graphic designer role, describe yourself as a creative person and mention a project you partook in that received accolades and positive reviews.