Career Resource Center

How to Describe Your Qualities in an Interview

Demonstrate why they NEED an employee like you.

Most interviewers speak to dozens of candidates for a position before making a decision about the most desirable candidate.  During the interview process, the interviewer is hoping to find the perfect candidate that they can be confident in.  When this happens, it’s a big relief for the interviewer, given that companies often spend months and thousands of dollars attempting to fill an open position.  HireVue says it can take an average of 42 days for companies to fill a position.  Unfortunately, for many companies, it can take even longer.

Interviewers report that candidates who stood out as the most desirable in interviews described their skills the most effectively.  These candidates had a strong vocabulary of descriptive words that helped interviewers feel confident they could succeed at the new job.  Furthermore, these candidates were authentic and demonstrated integrity.  That’s why they got the job.

If you want to be like these successful candidates, it’s critical to consider your vocabulary during an interview.  Then, you can successfully answer the always pervasive question: “How would you describe yourself?”


Related: Take Your Interviewing to the Next Level


Show you represent the top qualities a hiring manager is looking for

Our team has put together an outline of some of the most important factors interviewers examine during an interview.  Additionally, this outline explains some of the tools you can add to your vocabulary that demonstrate you’re the best candidate for the position.

I am…

A go-getter

“I complete projects on time because of my exceptional organization, time management, and work ethic.”

A collaborator

“Brainstorming with team members is valuable to me, that’s why I collaborate with others to find the best solutions to complex problems.”


“To me, being effective means overcoming challenges before they turn into problems.  Furthermore, I find that proactivity results in a more efficient work environment that enables me to consistently surpass expectations.  For example, when I’m working on a key project, I identify potential roadblocks and begin working on ways to eliminate those blocks before I come to them.”

Dedication & Integrity

“Beyond generating results, my integrity and dedication as an employee are essential to building successful relationships during my career.”

Forward Thinking

“I strive to identify growth opportunities for the entire group and determine ways we can capture those opportunities.”


“Throughout my career, I’ve worked to produce measurable results.  This means innovating with new ideas, stepping in when additional effort is required, and changing course to find a better direction if the current strategy isn’t working.”


“Gathering data to make informed decisions is essential to decisively driving growth.”


“Taking responsibility for actions and results helps build trust and fosters better results in the long term.”


“Surpassing expectations is more important to me than doing the minimum of what’s generally expected.”


“I overcome challenges by monitoring results and helping team members find the best approach for resolving each individual problem within the challenge.  This type of segmentation keeps tough situations from controlling my teams.”


“I focus on generating results through a steadfast commitment to adding value and establishing benchmarks to measure myself by.”

Customer- and service-oriented

“Providing exceptional service means being friendly and professional through stellar communication and a focus on quality.  I build relationships with my customers by following through on my promises, offering solutions to their problems, and responding attentively to their concerns.”

Dedicated to personal growth and development

“Self-improvement is critical to my success, and I work hard to learn new skills and improve my own qualities through webinars, seminars, and classes.”

A good communicator

“Interpersonal communication is something I take very seriously.  That’s why I strive to be concise and accurate with my language, which has helped me improve efficiency with my colleagues and ensure tasks are completed correctly.”

Come up with your own list of words to describe yourself

The outline from the team at Resume Writing Group is a great starting point to help you win interviews.  However, it’s still important to come up with your own responses that match your unique situation.  To truly represent yourself, grab a pen and paper and start the brainstorming process to determine why you’re a great candidate.  Here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Develop a detailed list of the competencies, skills, and qualities you’ve shown throughout your career.
  2. Write down what you do to represent each quality – for example, where was that particular quality most important?
  3. Write your sample responses that indicate each quality.
  4. Practice using your responses in mock interviews with friends and family.

Pro Tip: Once you’ve got a list of great responses.  Further expand on that list by providing detailed examples that demonstrate the qualities you’ve outlined.  For example, if you’re telling an interviewer you exceeded your previous employer’s expectations, be sure to have an example of when you did actually exceed expectations.

Your resume helped you land the interview — congrats! But are you ready to finish the job? Get help from The Resume Writing Experts. 

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