How To Answer The Question “Describe Yourself In One Word”

The interviewer will ask you to describe yourself in a single word in order to determine your strengths and how they can benefit the organization.

It is similar to “Tell me about yourself,” but requires you to condense all of your skills, strengths, and abilities into a single word.

By posing this question, the interviewer puts you on the spot to identify the defining characteristic of your perspective.

It is a wonderful opportunity to discuss yourself and convince the recruiter that you are the ideal candidate for the position.

When describing yourself in a single word, emphasize the trait that is most relevant to your professional goals so that the recruiter can fully comprehend you.

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How to respond to the question “Describe yourself in one word”

There are no strict guidelines for responding to questions about your skills and abilities.

However, there are certain strategies you can employ to impress your interviewer.

Identify your key skills and strengths
When describing yourself in a single word, you should focus on identifying the defining trait that sets you apart from others.

Review your resume
Every interview begins with a resume that highlights the candidate’s accomplishments and skills.

To find a single word to describe yourself, carefully review your resume and select a quality it demonstrates.

Find the best skills that support the job description for your resume.

Make a list
Listing all the qualities you associate with yourself will help you narrow down to a select group of words and find the best word to describe you.

Create a list of the skills and traits that you identify as being the most prominent in your personality.

Accept assistance from those close to you.
Finding a single word to describe yourself can be challenging and leave you bewildered and confused.

Asking your family and friends to describe you is another way to find words to describe yourself.

Ask those close to you for a single word that they would use to describe you.

Find an appropriate word
The adjective you select for yourself should be tailored to the job for which you are interviewing and the skills required for that position.

After reading the job description carefully and compiling a list based on your characteristics and resume, select one word that describes you and fits the context of the job for which you are applying.

For example, if you’re looking for a job in a field that requires data analysis and number-crunching, use a word like “analytical” instead of vague adjectives.

STAR technique
Giving a single word to describe yourself will require a detailed explanation and supporting evidence.

STAR technique refers to describing the Situation or Task you encountered and the Action you took to achieve the desired Result.

Using the STAR technique to justify your response will help you make a strategic impression on the interviewer.

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Three warning signs when describing yourself in a single word

Finding a word that fits you well may appear simple, but it is actually one of the most difficult tasks.

Here are three things you should never do when using a single word to describe yourself.

Don’t give a trite response.
Through this question, the interviewers hope to evaluate your caliber and perspective.

Using a common and overused word may appear insincere and unnatural.

Answer with the single word that best demonstrates your employment potential and your sense of self.

Avoid expressions that suggest arrogance
The rookie error when attempting to describe oneself in a single word is to sound overconfident.

Do not try too hard to sound extremely cool.

Avoid using words that suggest arrogance, such as “amazing” and “awesome.”

Do not mince your words.
This is an ideal opportunity to tell the recruiter Why they should hire you.

Explain in detail your choice of word, the circumstances that justify the trait, and its relevance to the job for which you are interviewing.

Don’t mince words and provide a detailed response.

If you are uncertain about the company’s job security, you can evaluate it using these five indicators.

Sample one-word responses describing yourself

Here are 10 words that best describe you along with examples of answers


Recruiters seek to hire individuals who have a positive outlook on everything and are full of innovative ideas and energy.

Being dynamic implies that you are receptive to change and willing to effectively adapt.

Example response
I believe the word that best describes me is dynamic. In my five years of professional experience, I have frequently been caught off guard by sudden shifts in strategies and objectives.

I have performed effectively in environments where nothing was certain and plans changed as the task evolved.

I am confident that I can successfully adapt to any organizational or strategic changes.


A versatile employee is able to adapt to changing circumstances and circumstances.

Recruiters seek to hire candidates who can quickly adapt to the organization’s culture and thrive under pressure.

Example response
I am a versatile individual who can deliver results in a constantly shifting environment.

I am able to easily adapt to new plans, strategize, and execute tasks without flaw.

In my two years as a project manager, I have led teams in agile environments and achieved organizational objectives.


Analytical skills may sound technical, but they are integral to our everyday lives.

However, analytical is an appropriate term for those who work in ecosystems where analytical skills are required.

Such fields include business analyst, data analytics, programming, and coding, among others.

A person with strong analytic skills can compile and evaluate information to solve problems and make crucial decisions, contributing to the success of an organization.

Support your response with data and numbers, and explain the entire scenario in depth.

Example response
I am most accurately described as analytical. As a former senior business analyst for the XYZ company, I was responsible for the exponential growth of the new product.

In my three years with the company, I developed strategies and business plans based on market behavior and generated revenue, contributing to the company’s 11.3% overall growth.

I am confident in my ability to use my analytic skills to determine the steps necessary for the organization’s growth.


Innovation currently dominates all ecosystems, making it one of the most sought-after skills among recruiters.

It is ideal for those working in positions that focus on innovation.

These positions include product managers, strategists, marketing managers, etc.

Example response
I am very inventive and enjoy discovering new things that intrigue me.

Professionally, I enjoy experimenting with novel approaches to accomplishing goals within the allotted time frame.

In my previous position, I worked on the development of the ABC application, which was a market success due to its unique features.

Thanks to the innovative spirit I shared with my coworkers on the project, each app development was original and received a positive response from users.


Given that everyone is creative in their own way, creative is a controversial adjective to use to describe oneself, making it one of the generic responses.

If you wish to describe yourself as a creative individual, ensure that your response is supported by specific examples and pertinent data.

It would be ideal if your resume identified you as a creative person and briefly mentioned the projects you directed.

Example response
I consider myself a creative individual with a unique perspective on everything.

With five years of design experience and affiliations with more than 28 companies, I am confident in my ability to produce high-quality, creative designs.

This is evidenced by my resume, and in a company like yours, I look forward to achieving even greater success.


They are always looking for individuals who are accustomed to working with others.

If you are interviewing for a position that requires you to communicate with multiple people and are comfortable working in a team, you can describe yourself as a team player.

Example response
I consider myself to be a team player. I am very comfortable working with others and am familiar with group dynamics.

My previous position required me to work directly with ten coworkers and involved frequent interactions between teams.

I have always been capable of performing well and resolving any problems my team encounters.

I enjoy working in dynamic environments, and I believe we can accomplish the most when we collaborate.


Ambitious is a strong yet controversial adjective you can use to describe yourself.

Being ambitious is a positive trait, but excessive ambition can be unhealthy and lead to the failure of any professional.

If you identify with the term “ambitious,” explain why and how your desire to achieve great things does not interfere with your work.

Example response
To describe myself in a single word, I am a highly ambitious individual. I embrace all learning opportunities that enhance my skills and knowledge to deal with setbacks.

I enjoy the challenge of finding innovative solutions and resolving issues as quickly as possible.

Having worked in a fast-paced profile for three years, I am healthy ambition and can make logical decisions.

Smart worker

In today’s fast-paced work environment, intelligent workers are valued even more than diligent ones.

You are a smart worker if you are always looking for more efficient ways to overcome obstacles and if you perform your duties effectively.

Example response
I am an intelligent worker with a sensible understanding of how to rank the importance of tasks.

I have a history of accomplishing goals in less time than allotted by employing efficient, detail-oriented strategies.

In 2017, I volunteered to identify the target audience for a forthcoming project, for which I was allotted 20 days.

In 13 days, I was able to complete a data-driven study of 17 cities’ inhabitants using three resources.

If you contacted my superiors, I’m confident you would receive similar feedback about me.


Reliable workers are an asset to any organization, and recruiters seek this trait in prospective hires.

If you choose to describe yourself as trustworthy, you must provide specific examples to support your claim.

Example response
I am a dependable individual who takes my commitment to the job very seriously.

I have eight years of experience in which I consistently distinguished myself as a dependable resource for my employers.

As an example, while working as a project manager for the company ABC, we were short on manpower as the product launch approached.

Therefore, I took it upon myself to meet the deadline without taking significant shortcuts.

The product was introduced without any issues or complications.


This term is perfect for managers and team leaders.

You can describe yourself as a leader if you are interviewing for a position that requires team leadership.

Follow this with an explanation of why you believe you are a leader, as well as examples of how your leadership skills have helped you manage teams with ease.

Example response
I consider myself a leader who can oversee the work of multiple teams. I was a team leader for four years, managing a 23-person team by myself.

We worked on various aspects of design, and it was my responsibility to ensure that the graphics were delivered without delay.

I have a track record of increasing my team’s efficiency, and we all share a close relationship.

I am able to strike a balance between my personal and professional life, and I believe in leading a team rather than dominating it.

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Tips for personal interviews

Here are five tips to help you answer all personal interview questions like a pro.

Maintain a positive outlook and a smile

A positive attitude and a pleasant appearance can appeal to anyone. Recruiters are not an exception.

Maintain a relaxed and composed stance to make it simple for the interviewer to ask you questions.

Even if questions catch you off guard, maintain a cheerful demeanor while responding. This will not only help you hide your anxiety, but it will also leave a positive impression on the interviewer.

Also available is Effective Body Language Tips for Your Next Interview.

Create the initial impression

The maxim that the first impression is the lasting one is not just a cliche. Take the first opportunity to impress the interviewer seriously.

Walk with assurance, maintain good posture, and concentrate on being nonchalant in your behavior.

Dress for success

Dress formally for your interview to make an impression. Ensure that you do not wear anything that causes discomfort.

Choose formal footwear that is both comfortable and easy to walk in.

Prepare your hair and groom yourself well. Do not wear layered or draped clothing that could distract you during the interview.

Also see Interview Dress Standards for Men and Women.

Be punctual

The candidates’ ethical hygiene is of the utmost importance to the interviewers.

Arrive at the interview location early to demonstrate strong ethics and punctuality.

Arriving on time allows you to adjust to the new environment and demonstrates to the interviewer that you value their time.

Discuss answers in detail

Ensure that you provide specific responses to personal interview questions.

Instead of discussing vague information, describe every relevant experience and circumstance in detail.

This will help you break the ice and give the interviewer a better understanding of who you are as a candidate.

Athina Iliadis is a Human Resources Professional with over 25 years’ experience in corporate environments working for companies such as Pearson, LexisNexis, Hershey, and Reckitt. In her current role as a consultant working with clients around the world, she coaches managers and employees on HR issues, supports leaders in their business, produces content about careers, interviews, and job opportunities. She is fluent in English, French and Greek, and she holds a BBA with a major in HR from Université du Québec à Montréal. Find her on LinkedIn and at

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