Three words to describe yourself is a very common question nowadays. It can crop up in the most unexpected places. School, college, university and job interviews are common places where an interviewer can ask to describe yourself in 3 words.
Others include dating websites and apps, loan or credit applications, clubs and social organizations and lots more.
The question of asking for few words to describe yourself doesn’t really do justice to any human. Because each of us have different traits in various spheres of life. Believe me, nobody can describe oneself in just three words.
That brings us to the question, why would interviewers or online application as the question: “Three words to describe yourself.” Understandably, there’re strong reasons for this question. Therefore, let’s comprehend why people or websites ask this question.
Reasons to Ask “Three Words to Describe Yourself”
To understand why an interviewer asks this question, we have to first examine the structure of an interview.
- Time: Usually, most interviews are of 30 minutes to 45-minute duration.
- Pressure on Interviewer: An interviewer needs to know all relevant details of an applicant within the interview time and shortlist prospective employees for hiring.
- Personality: Interviewers try and gauge your personality traits within this time.
- Skills: Your skills are something an employer needs. Hence, you can definitely expect questions about your work experience.
- Academic qualifications: These aren’t that important, but sometimes you could be asked reasons for choosing a specific course.
- Body language: Your body language is something that interviewers will observe keenly to watch for your confidence, personality traits and any signs of nervousness, among others.
These aren’t the only parameters on which an interviewer will assess your capabilities for your job. They’ll also wish to find how sharp and witty you are during an interview.
The question “three words to describe yourself” serves all the above purposes. And that’s the reason you should be prepared to respond correctly.
Now mind the word I use: respond. Or response. I’m not using the word ‘answer’ for a specific reason.
Difference Between Response & Answer
“Most people listen do not listen with an intent to understand, they listen with an intent to reply,” says globally acclaimed American motivational speaker and bestselling author, Dr. Stephen R. Covey.
That’s because often we don’t comprehend the reasons for a question. Instead, we rush to answer or reply.
There’s a huge difference between a response and an answer.
A response is something that you give after carefully listening to the other person, comprehending fully what they’re saying and giving a measured reply. This means, you need to reply only to the point- precisely and accurately.
Of course, this depends upon your level of knowledge about any particular topic. In this case, we’re talking about three words to describe yourself.
Usually, people answer very quickly and only with a very superficial understanding of the question. They don’t allow the full extent or importance of a question or statement to sink in and understand why a person is saying or asking so.
Hence, an answer is given without much thought and based upon whatever is on the top of our minds or our own perceptions- however wrong they may be.
Again, in this question, three words to describe yourself, an answer can cost you that dream job you’re trying so desperately.
Therefore, let’s move forward and explore how to respond to the question, three words to describe yourself.
Response to Three Words to Describe Yourself
Honesty is the best policy while responding to this question of three words to describe yourself. Meaning, avoid words that show you as some superhuman or extreme. Instead, use milder language.
Use three words from the three different categories I mention below.
Actually, I would recommend you do some homework on three words that aptly describe you before appearing for any interview or applying online for anything.
Describe Necessary Qualities
Here’s an example. If you’re applying for a sales job, use a word such as ‘friendly,’ ‘outgoing,’ ‘extrovert’ and others. However, if you’re creating a profile on a dating website or app, these words are irrelevant.
Instead, you can use words such as ‘Homely’, ‘Caring’ or ‘Romantic’ among others. The quality you describe in a single word has to match the purpose of the interviewer or person who wishes to know you better.
Remember, you have only one word to describe your qualities. Therefore, think about what quality is necessary for the job and how much of this quality you possess.
Always highlight that quality which is dominant in you rather than faking one to merely pass the interview. For example, even if your dominant trait is stubbornness, it’s fine to say so. Because several jobs require people that never give up and persist.
How People View You
The second word to describe yourself in three words should ideally be about how people view you. It’s natural that your friends and family will view you in different lights.
Despite, there will be some common traits your friends and family find in you. And those traits will give you the second of the three words to describe yourself.
This isn’t really necessary, but if you find that your friends and relatives have some common perceptions about your personality, find one that would suit the job, role, position or purpose you’re applying for.
Words such as ‘trustworthy’, ‘reliable’ and ‘dependable’ among others suit your employer’s purpose. However, you need to be all that before using any of these words.
Your Own Perception
There’s a famous quote by Indian spiritual leader, Osho who says: “Discover yourself. Otherwise you have to depend upon other people’s opinion who don’t know themselves.”
You should have an independent opinion about who you are. While it’s good to know how people view you, there’re some qualities that only you would know.
For example, you could be a sensitive person that can’t bear to see others suffer. Or you may be a day-dreamer or even over-thinker.
Your own perception about yourself is extremely important for any interview or anyone asking three words to describe yourself. That’s because others perceptions can change and qualities you possess can differ from every job.
But what you think about yourself can never really change radically. Therefore, check our list of words to find which one best suits your own perception about yourself. And remember to leave out what others think about you.
The third word to answer ‘describe yourself in three words’ therefore should be about your image of yourself.
Variants of ‘Three Words to Describe Yourself’
Now that I’ve shown you how to answer the question three words to describe yourself, I’ll speak briefly about the variants of these questions. It’s fair enough to assume that every interviewer or website will use a blend of different words to ask these questions.
- Tell us about yourself in three words.
- Which three words describe you the best?
- What are your three main characteristics in three words?
- Name three words that define your personality.
- In three words tell us who are you?
On online forms, you will get a selection of various words. You would have to tick or check the ones that best suit you and describe yourself in three words.
Sometimes, a website may have three blanks and a drop menu will help you find the words.
Be extremely cautious while choosing words to fill an online application of form. You might not be able to edit it later.
The question, three words to describe yourself is fairly common at interviews. Sometimes, an interviewer genuinely wants to determine if you’re suitable for the job. And sometimes, they ask the question because they’re unsure about what to ask. In any case, you need to be prepared to answer this question. It helps you understand a lot more about yourself than you think you know.