Common Interview Question – Describe Yourself in 5 Words

JULY 19, 2010 | BY MICAH

Many interview questions and answers are designed for the sole purpose of surprising you. Your answers are not nearly as important as your ability to answer the question with ease. Working professionals that do not expect these questions may roll their eyes or laugh at the question being asked. Those are the behaviors that the interview does not want to see. The interviewer wants to see that you take each question seriously, and that your answer is thoughtful and interesting.

One of the prime examples of these types of questions is “Describe Yourself in 5 Words” or “What are 5 Words to Describe Yourself.”

Wrong Responses

  • “Hahahaha, okay… um… sure, why not.”
  • “Really? Are you serious?”
  • “Um… Yeah… Okay…”

Right Responses

You should react to the question as you would react to any interview question. You should not smile or laugh or think that the question is hilarious, because it isn’t. Your employer wants to see that you take each question seriously.

That said, it is okay to insert a little joke here and there. Your “5 words” do not need to all be of the utmost professionalism. Consider an answer like the following:

  • Adaptive
  • Energetic
  • Intelligent
  • Responsive
  • Caffeinated

The first four are attractive qualities, while the fifth is a humorous twist that still represents who you are as a person. This question gives you a very small opportunity to showcase a little personality while still providing a solid answer. It doesn’t completely matter what words you choose, provided they are intelligent words that reflect well on your character (stay away from anything negative, such as “stubborn” and avoid any words that are too simplistic, like “Good”). What matters is how you deliver it. Deliver the answer with confidence and without arrogance and you will have answered this question correctly.

Take Away Interview Tips

  • Never act as though a question is stupid or funny.
  • Feel free and add a little humor but take this question seriously.

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