Our friends. What do they really know about us? Do they know who we really are, how we feel, and what we expect from life? Or are they familiar only with some image, some idea about us which they created in their minds and hearts, following the superficial experiences they have with us?
We could spend hours philosophizing about the subject, but that’s not the reason why you visited this website. You came here to learn how to answer a tricky interview question, and I will now show you 7 sample answers. Do not forget to read also the notes and suggestions below the answers. They will help you choose the right one for you, and for the interview you go to.
7 sample answers to “What three words would your friends use to describe you?” interview question
- Responsible, empathetic, indecisive. My friends know me well and we experienced both highs and lows together. Perhaps what they like about me the most is that they can count on me in difficult times, share their problems with me, and I will always be there to listen, and to share both their joys and sorrows. But just like any other woman I sometimes struggle to decide about my actions. That’s likely something they’d mention when describing me.
- Outgoing, friendly, creative. Actually I have quite a lot of friends and do not struggle making new friends. I can come to a bar and just start talking to strangers. It is one of the reasons why I try to get a job in hospitality sector. Instead of trying to change something about my personality–which isn’t easy for an adult anyway, I try to find a job in which I can be myself, and in which both my employer and me can benefit from my outgoing personality.
- I do not really have any close friends. Hence it is hard to say how would they describe me, what three words they will use. Maybe each of them will have a different opinion, since we have not really shared any tough moments together. Without experiencing difficulties and leaving our comfort zone, it’s hard to see how people really are… I can only say how I would define myself, to my best knowledge. Responsible, ambitious, and calm. Having said that, I want to stress that I do not have problem with relationship building. Just it happened in a way that I haven’t found close friends yet. Maybe I will find one within my new colleagues.
- Patient, receptive, positive. I always try to see the good in each person and situation, and I think that my friends are well aware of this characteristic. Is it a weakness, or a strength? I cannot really say, and certainly I paid a price for my naivety more than once. At the same time life’s great when you do not suspect people immediately, and consider them good, at least in the depth of their heart, regardless of their actions.
- Contemplative, smart, moody. Real friends love us not only for our strengths, but also for our weaknesses. And while I can certainly solve almost any problem and help them repair anything related to technology, I have days when I just do not feel good and it is pain talking to me, and I am known among my friends for this. But when someone is a real friend they will understand. Just like I respect them as they are, and do not try to choose only the good things and good days, they do the same for me. I am very happy about my friendships. One more thing I want to add at this point that I can get over my bad mood at work. When I am working I focus on the task at hand and do not think about things outside of the office. I am moody sometimes, but it doesn’t have a negative impact on my results at work.
- To be honest, I am not sure if they would find the right words. Because I am rather introvertive, and do not share my emotions with people. So sometimes I may look all right, and it is fun to be around me, or at least it seems that everything is okay, while deep inside I suffer, or at least do not agree with what’s going on around me. This is one of the reasons why I apply for a job of a mechanic. Here I can focus on the machines, trying to repair stuff, and do not have to deal much with people.
- Best friend ever. That’s how I hope they would describe me. I try to be attentive to the needs of my friends, to be there when they need me most, and to accept them as they really are. I am also in for any sort of activity. enjoy trying new things, and they can count on me in both easy and difficult times. Having said that, only they know how they perceive my behavior, and what they really think about me and my actions.
Combine praise and criticism in an ideal answer
At the end of the day, it’s impossible to say how someone would describe us. Hiring managers know that you are mostly saying what you think about yourself, how you perceive your strengths and weaknesses as a human being, and as a friend.
Show them that you see yourself in your completeness, being aware of both your strengths and weaknesses. Mixing two positive characteristics and one negative (or slightly negative) is perhaps the best possible way of answering this question. Of course, you shouldn’t pick something that would be an obvious showstopper in the interview.
* Special Tip: This isn’t the only difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with conflicts, dealing with ambiguity, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will help you streamline your interview preparation, outclass your competitors, and get the job. Thank you for checking it out!
Try to always elaborate on your answer, refer to your work
Three words is not much, and interviewers may easily misunderstand the meaning of your answer. For example, being attentive can mean a lot of things to many people. But once you explain that you are attentive to the needs of your friends, always try to understand them and help, the meaning of the expression is crystal clear.
What’s more, elaborating on the three words is your opportunity to show the interviewers how your characteristics will help you in your new job. To work with the same example, being attentive to the needs and feelings of others is a huge plus in sales, customer service, or in social work for example.
Most interviewers will understand the connection, but making it easier for them can only help you in the interviews.
* Do not forget to check: How would your colleagues describe your personality?
They are not going to call your friends
You do not have to worry about what your friends would really say about you. In 99% of cases the hiring managers won’t call your friends to compare your interview answer with the reality. It’s just not how recruitment works.
They may call your former colleague, or former boss, however, to get some feedback on your skills and attitude to work. But this is more about reference check and has nothing to do with this particular interview question.
Alternative question: If we were to ask your family and friends, what would they say you do well?
Both job and school admission interview evolve all the time. Since everyone is pretty much prepared for the “What are your strengths?” question, hiring managers and interviewers try to mix it up a bit. However, with this particular question, they are asking about the same thing. Telling them what your family and friends think you do well, you are in fact telling them what your strengths are–from your point of view. And that’s exactly how you should approach this question.
Think about your strengths, and how they relate to the job you are trying to get. Then you can say that your family members, friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, or whoever, think that you do well A, B, C. It can be communication, presentation, Math, leading a team, or some activity–teaching, drawing, singing, designing, creating… just pick something at least slightly relevant for the job. And if you want to make the interviewers laugh, you can always say that your friends think you make a good coffee–at least something :).
Interviewers observe more than just your words
What you say in an interview should at least somehow correspond with what they see. Let me give you an example. If you said that your friends would characterize you as a great listener, and then struggled to remember the questions of the interviewers or interrupted them often, or failed to talk to the point, they would not believe you. They would not consider you trustworthy anymore. And that would mark an end to your chances in any job interview.
Please keep it on your mind. It is always better to be humble, to avoid boasting about your strengths and how great you are. Say less, and then surprise them positively with your behavior and reactions in the interview. That’s the way to succeed.
Have your answer ready? Do not forget to check also sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- Have you ever worked on a project that was a failure?
- Describe your friends and why you like them.
- Describe yourself in one word.