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Describe yourself in 3 words: How to answer this interview question đź’¬

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We know from answering tell me about yourself in interviews that attempting to describe your personality in a graduate job interview can be tricky – and this is especially true when you are limited to just a few words.

It might seem simple, but the 3 words you choose to describe yourself can reveal a lot to a graduate employer about your personality, working style and priorities; so it is important to prepare your answer beforehand.

Read on to discover the reasons why employers ask this job interview question, and to brush up on your ‘describe yourself in 3 words’ best answers.

When you are fully up to scratch on how to answer this common graduate interview question, check out our full guide on interview questions to prepare for– or find out what UK grad jobs we have live on our site.

Scroll straight to the bottom of the page to see a quick, summary video of how to answer!

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Why do employers ask you to describe yourself in 3 words?

1. To find out how you think 

Potential employers will be interested to find out how your mind works, and therefore which 3 words you choose to describe yourself when put on the spot.

Unlike the question ‘tell me about yourself’ being asked to describe yourself using a limited number of words will require you to elaborate on your answer much less.

However, the 3 words you choose to describe yourself will help the employer gain a sense of what you think are the most important qualities (i.e. may indicate that you are business-minded, a people person, or a team player).

The 3 words you select to describe yourself will help the employer or hiring manager better understand the way that you think, and gain insight into what you see as the most important qualities in an employee.


2. To see whether you would be a good culture fit

Graduate employers will be keen to find out whether the characteristics you describe align with their team and general company culture.

The adjectives you choose to describe yourself will give them a good insight into your working style; helping them decide whether you would be the right fit for the role and the company.

Check out 10 things graduate employers find more impressive than your grades.


3. To find out your best qualities

Naturally, the 3 words you choose to describe yourself to a graduate employer will reflect what you believe to be your best attributes or characteristics.

The employer will want you to use this opportunity to show off your leading qualities, and those which will set you apart from other candidates.

When you are deciding how to describe yourself in an interview, the 3 words you choose will also indicate whether you understand the role; and should show that you have researched the employer, the team, the company, and what they are looking for.

Describe yourself in three words best answers

When you are preparing for a graduate job interview and deciding how to describe yourself in an interview, try to choose words that are positive, professional, and easy-to-understand.

You will want to select the words that describe your personality, working style and priorities in the very best light; and it can be tempting to choose out-of-the-box adjectives that will make you stand out from other candidates interviewing for the role.

It is usually better, though, to stick to words that are uncomplicated, unpretentious, and that will present you as a well-rounded professional who will add value to their company.

Here are some great examples that will help to boost your employability and improve your chances of job interview success:


List of words to describe yourself in an interview

When planning your answer to describe yourself in 3 words, it is a good idea to choose more than 3 words so that you can ensure you are fully prepared in the interview.

Try to choose 5 or 6 possible answers, so that then in the interview you can choose the 3 best answers and most relevant attributes for the job you’re applying for.


Analyst / Tech

– Organised
– Focused
– Analytical
– Problem-solver
– Methodical
– Thorough
– Observant
– Hard-Working
– High-achieving

Client Facing

– Outgoing
– Approachable
– Friendly
– Caring
– Thoughtful
– Sociable
– Down-to-Earth
– Trustworthy
– Positive

Sales / BDE

– Independent
– Ambitious
– Proactive
– Determined
– Committed
– Driven
– Motivated
– Respectful
– Upbeat

Marketing / Creative

– Entrepreneurial
– Inventive
– Creative
– Artistic
– Musical
– Imaginative
– Team player
– Innovative
– Collaborative

PR and Comms

– Open minded
– Laid back
– Reflective
– Enthusiastic
– Reliable
– Attentive
– Loyal
– Compassionate


– Professional
– Diplomatic
– Patient
– Mature
– Calm
– Conscientious
– Confident
– Adaptable

“Describe yourself in 3 words” – what to avoid!

  • Choosing words that are unprofessional or irrelevant

You may believe that your best quality is your ability to sleep for 12 hours a night, or your singing talents, or your sporting knowledge; but none of these will do much to impress a graduate employer.

When deciding how to describe yourself in an interview, stick to words you know are at least somewhat relevant to the role and the company, and as is the case with any interview question, remain professional at all times.


  • Picking skills only because you think they are desirable

Equally, it is tempting to choose words like ‘perfectionist’, ‘self-manager’ or ‘relentless’ just because that’s what you believe the employer will want to hear.

This isn’t true; if they can’t tell you’re lying in the interview, they certainly will if you do end up getting a job at their company.


  • Being too modest

You’re being asked to describe yourself in just three words; don’t be too humble!

A graduate job interview is your time to humblebrag – so leave adjectives like ‘nice’, ‘sensitive’ or ‘curious’ at the door.

When you’re preparing how to describe yourself in an interview, think about your best qualities, and remember to explain how they can add value to their company.


Variations of the interview question ‘describe yourself in three words’

  • How would your friends describe you?
  • How would your colleagues describe you?
  • How would your boss describe you?
  • Describe yourself in a few words
  • How would you describe yourself with just 3 words?
  • How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
  • What are 3 words to describe yourself?
  • Describe yourself in one word
  • Describe yourself in 5 words
  • Describe yourself in one sentence
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • Describe your personality in 3 words
  • Describe yourself in 3 words best answers
  • List 5 words that describe your personality


Summary video for “describe yourself in 3 words”

Tip: Change the playback speed in the settings at the bottom right corner, to suit your learning requirements! Please feel free to embed this video on your website (get in touch for more info), or for more great videos for graduates, subscribe to the Give A Grad A Go Recruitment YouTube Channel.



Read our complete guide to Interview Questions!


Find more career advice on our Careers Advice Blog – or search for graduate jobs via our jobs board!


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