How Would You Describe Your Personality?

On the surface being asked to describe your personality appears to be a straightforward interview question, but if you answer too hastily, you may end up sounding like every other candidate. You must think about what makes you unique and how you can make yourself stand out and be remembered.

Interviewers ask this question for a couple of reasons: to hear where you place the emphasis in your description and to see how quickly and creatively you can think on the spot. Don't give the interviewer the same answers everybody else gives. Think about new ways to get your message across and sell yourself.

Spice Up Your Answers

Take a look at these typical answers and how you can make them more unique.

Typical: "I am a high-energy person." This answer needs more detail.

Unique: "I am energized by challenges and problems."

Typical: "I'm a hard worker." This is the most common phrase used. It shows no imagination.

Unique: "I do whatever it takes to get the job done, sometimes working 10-hour days."

Typical: "I am a quick learner." This is an overused phrase that has lost its effectiveness.

Unique: "I can hit the ground running and come up to speed faster than anyone I know."

Typical: "I'm analytical." This is a lackluster answer that doesn't reveal much.

Unique: "I'm a wiz at analyzing data and transforming it into useful information."

Typical: "I'm very organized." This answer is understated.

Unique: "I am a person who can bring order to chaos."

Typical: "I'm reliable." This answer needs more information to get the point across.

Unique: "I pride myself on my record of never missing deadlines."

Typical: "I'm good with customers." The answer needs clarification.

Unique: "I build great relationships with customers; they always ask for me."

Scripting Exercise

Describing your personality is like writing ads for a product. What makes you unique? Are you the type of person who would fit into this organization? Your job is to convince your interviewer that you have the perfect personality for the position.

Make a list of personality traits that describe you. Determine the qualities you would like the interviewer to remember after the interview. Incorporate some of the same words used in the job posting.

For example, if the job listing reads: "Must have five or more years' experience managing a diverse population of employees," you might say to the interviewer:

"I am a person who values other people's qualities and contributions. My employees would tell you that I am a fair manager who listens when they have something to say."

The more specific you are with your answer, the better your chances of leaving a lasting impression. Interviewers talk to several candidates in a single day. What will make you memorable?

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