Be the diamond in the rough they’re looking for.
Interviewers often speak to several candidates for a position before narrowing their selection and presenting an offer to the most desirable candidate. Through the process, the interviewer hopes to stumble upon that needle in the haystack. When this happens, it's a huge relief given that it can take months for an organization to fill a position. In a study from Bersin by Deloitte, it took an average of 52 days for companies to fill a position in 2015, and for some companies, it takes even longer.
In an ideal world, you're that "diamond in the rough," or maybe you're simply the candidate that stood out the most amongst other qualified candidates. Either way, when you were asked in your interview how you would describe yourself, you knew how to use strong words and vocabulary to answer the question. Sure, you told the interviewer what they wanted to hear, but you did it from a place of authenticity, integrity, and thoughtfulness. As a result, you landed the job.
If you want this story to define you, it's important to consider the language and vocabulary you use to answer the popular “How you would describe yourself?” during an interview.
Show you represent the top qualities they’re looking for
Below is an outline of some of the top qualities interviewers look for and the type of response that speaks to those qualities. Consider saying one of these things the next time you are asked how you would describe yourself.
"Once I'm clear on what the task or project is, I'm good at determining the best way to accomplish it."
A team player
"I believe there is value in collaboration. Often, two minds are better than one, and as such, working in a team with a collaborative spirit is important when the need arises."
"I like to evaluate current procedures and processes when possible to identify any foreseeable issues or concerns. I find that being proactive in a situation, when possible, is much better than being reactive. Also, when I'm proactive in planning for a project and the needs to react to a situation arises, it's much easier to move to a Plan B when there is a solid Plan A in place."
Of strong personal value
"Integrity and authenticity are important to me. I do what I can to continue to improve and be the best I can be at whatever I do."
"I look for growth opportunities for the group, as I find this presents with the best long-term results."
"I am confident in my ability to produce results. Of course, situations happen when the results aren't ideal, and when that does happen, I do my best to tip the hat in a positive direction."
"Long-term results require making decisions efficiently and decisively, even when it's difficult."
"By taking responsibility for my actions and results, I have the ability to make the choices necessary for a better outcome or results the next time around. Pointing fingers or playing the blame game is not productive and can even set the team back."
"Not only do I aim to meet expectations, but I am often one to exceed my employer's expectations."
"I don't let tough situations control me. Instead, I evaluate them and decide the best way to approach the situation for the best result at that moment."
"The only way to keep moving forward is to focus on results. I am committed to adding value and reaching goals with the best results possible."
"I am hardworking and set reasonable goals for myself. Once those goals are in place, I can then back out of them and create smaller goals or benchmarks to accomplish so I can continuously evaluate my performance."
"I strive to do the best I can for whatever task is presented to me. I appreciate working for a company that has clear goals and rewards employees for meeting those goals."
Customer- and service-oriented
"I've found that the best way to truly understand what the customer needs is to ask the right questions, and then follow up to confirm we are on the same page. Once I'm clear that we are on the same page, I can then develop a plan or set goals to meet the customer's or client's needs."
Dedicated to personal growth and development
"I believe it's important to continue to grow and learn. I'm always looking for opportunities, like webinars, seminars, and classes, that can help me learn and grow at work and in my everyday life."
A good communicator
"I've learned that we all have different communication styles, and I need to learn how others communicate for us to effectively work together and meet each other in the middle. I also like to ask questions and don't have a problem following up to confirm I've understood something correctly. We all see things through our own perspectives, and I try to understand what that perspective is for others so we can communicate well.
Come up with your own list of responses
The above are some guidelines to give you an idea of the type of language to use based on what many interviewers look for in top-notch candidates. It’s important to come up with your own responses though, so that you truly represent yourself as an individual. Grab a pen and paper (or your laptop) and begin brainstorming about your top-notch worthiness by taking these steps:
Create a list of the competencies and qualities provided above.
Write down what you do to represent each quality.
Craft your responses accordingly.
Practice answering questions that might prompt your responses.
As you craft your responses, it's also important to have some examples that speak to your claims. In other words, if you say you've often exceeded your employer's expectations, be prepared to give quantifiable examples to back it up. The more you can support your claims with measurable success, the better.
Practice describing yourself
Practice interviewing with a close friend or someone you trust. The more you're prompted with questions like “How would describe yourself?” and the more you speak your answers out loud, the more comfortable you will be once you're sitting across from your interviewer. It is possible to distinguish between interviewees who are have practiced interviewing and those who don't. You, of course, want to fall in the former group.
Finally, words can be powerful, so give your word choices some thought before you walk in for an interview. Doing so will make it easier for you to choose the best words that will help you stand out among the competition.
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