The Best Words to Describe Yourself in an Interview

best words to describe yourself
Your job interview places you in quite a dilemma. You can’t be overly modest and put yourself down, but you also can’t brag like crazy, or you’ll end up looking egotistical. You’ll be asked a lot of questions about yourself. Which words should you use?

Recruiters do like to see a touch of modesty. There’s something about a know-it-all that sets anyone’s teeth on edge. The company will also want to know how you’ll fit in with bosses and colleagues. They’ll be looking for qualitative information that isn’t to be found in your resume. Here are some statements that recruiters love:

  • “I am eager to learn.”
  • “I am determined.”
  • “I never give up until I get something right.”
  • “I get on well with all kinds of people.”
  • “I like to keep a positive attitude.”
  • “Hard work doesn’t bother me. I actually like it.”
  • “I enjoy facing challenges.”
  • “I like everything I do to be well-organized.”

Of course, if any of these statements don’t apply, you shouldn’t use them. If you get the job, people will soon see you weren’t being truthful. The above statements apply to any job and they indicate you’ll be a cheerful, hardworking employee. But there are a few extras you can mention in specific types of jobs.

Best Words for Customer-Service, Sales or Marketing Interviews

Let’s be frank, not everyone is suited for customer service. No matter what company is interviewing you, they will want to know you’ll be good for their image. That means looking neat, but not overdressed, having good posture, being pleasant, and being well-spoken. Try these lines to describe yourself if questions arise where you can utilize them.

  • “I can keep my cool under pressure.”
  • “I don’t easily lose my temper.”
  • “I’m good at multi-tasking.”
  • “I enjoy meeting new people every day.”
  • “I love making people’s day.”
  • “I believe customers are the most important part of any business.”
  • “If necessary, I can be assertive without being rude.”

Do you get where this is going? Recruiters want to know you can handle having two people waiting for you while the phone is ringing, and another customer is being unreasonable and rude, while still being unruffled.

They also want to know you’re an organizer. Can you keep track of several tasks for specific customers in a disciplined way? For example, a sales rep may get a call, have to get information, call back, record the order, get the order dispatched, correctly invoiced, and call the customer again to follow up. They must do this for several customers at once, so things can get pretty chaotic unless they’re smart organizers.

In marketing, they also want to know you’re people-oriented and organized, but they’ll want to know more about the creative aspects too. Try these options for describing yourself:

  • “I love turning great ideas into reality.”
  • “I’ve done a few freelance projects, and I’ve brought my portfolio.”
  • “I find people and their opinions fascinating.”
  • “I really enjoy reading about and learning from marketing success stories.”

Best Words for Accounting or Administrative Interviews

Apart from the things we looked at in the generic statements, there are some extra statements recruiters like.

  • “I’m a perfectionist.”
  • “Organizing data so that it makes sense is rewarding for me.”
  • “I’m a methodical person.”
  • “I like working systematically.”

As you can see, you’re demonstrating a different set of qualities. You like getting things done in a calm and organized way. You crunch away at your work according to a specific system, and you like being part of that system because it results in useful, condensed information of some sort.

Best Words for Management Interviews

I’m going to be brutally honest here. Most of us do not walk out of college into highly-paid managerial jobs, and if you don’t know what to say at the interview, you’re not ready. Besides, there are more kinds of managers than you can shake a stick at, and each of them requires different personal qualities.

I’ve interviewed a lot of people for minor managerial posts, and all I can say is it depends on your skill, experience, expectations (salary, etc.) and whether you’ll fit into the organization’s management style. How you dress for your interview matters a lot. Play safe and stick to understated, yet smart clothing. Ladies, not too much makeup or perfume please; my apologies if this offends you, but this is the real world.

Be true to Yourself

If you don’t feel you can honestly say any of these things, don’t. You must be able to back your statements up with evidence from your life. “I’m very determined. For example, I….”

You should also ask yourself whether you’ll be happy in a job where you have to pretend to be someone other than who you really are and whether you’ll even be able to do it. You probably won’t. What do you get? Short service and a bad reputation are the two things no future employer is going to like. Look to a field you’ll enjoy and excel at instead.

  • I find that recruiters and interviewers like the word “ambitious” when it comes to work ethic. If you can show them you’re ambitious, you have a good shot at getting the job.

  • It’s worth taking the time to get comfortable describing yourself with these words before you go in for an interview. It makes a huge impression if you can use appropriate descriptors for the job your interviewing for. It will make you stand out and increase your chances of getting the job.

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