How to Answer the "How would your friends describe you" Interview Question?

6 min

For those job seekers who have ever had experience with job interviews, it shouldn't be surprising that interviewers use every chance to screen you not only as a specialist but as a unique person. They keep asking questions that may seem, at first glance, barely related to professional matters. However, such questions are strong indicators of the level of self-understanding, communicability, and soft skills, so being able to formulate the answers that serve you can define the interview result.

Keep reading to discover why the question makes the difference and what to respond on "how would others describe you."

4 reasons why interviewers keep asking this question

Even if the question sounds somewhat basic and vague to average job seekers, there are a couple of reasons why the answer tells more about a candidate than everyone thinks.

  • Discovering your individuality. First of all, the question aims at showing the interviewer some sides of your personality. Therefore, the answer provides material to make a quick analysis of whether the company's values, culture, and working environment fit you properly.
  • Reflection skills. Reflecting on how people regard you is a key tool to quality self-development. So, the interviewer's goal is to check whether you know your core strengths while being ready to improve them even more.
  • System of priorities. As a subconscious priority, most people tend to outline the traits that matter to them personally. By asking the "how would people describe you" question, a vast majority of HR specialists seek the possibility to look at your understanding of other people and the surrounding world.
  • Fact-checking. A skilled interviewer will find the confirmation for your words in the way how you behave during the interview because many personality attributes are easy to indicate. A noticeable inconsistency may detect undesirable red flags. On the other hand, an honest answer can guarantee you additional points.

Best ways to answer "how would a friend describe you" 

Balance personal and professional

The interviewer asks this question not to make friends or take you for a date, so abstain from telling them that you are a heartbreaker or a party animal even if your friends normally talk about you this way. However, a blunt CV-like answer is likely to make you look less likeable, so try to think of neutral features of character that are applicable both ways — formal and informal.

Do research

Looking through job requirements and the company page will give you a clearer understanding of whom the company is looking for and may spark some ideas for the answer. This approach does not mean that you have to pretend and come up with something to meet the expectations on purpose, but you will be more confident about what to highlight.

Include storytelling

Would you consider answering, "According to their opinions, I am honest, persistent, competent, and competitive. Next question, please"? It sounds off and doesn't demonstrate your personality at all. We recommend elaborating on your response and supporting it with relevant life stories, which will make the whole answer vivid and exhaustive. 

"How would your friends describe you": examples & sample answers

For the purpose of presenting more interview-like examples, let the question be two adjectives your friends would use to describe you.

  • Responsible & organized. My best friend always tells everyone that I am a walking planner! I can't imagine my life being unorganized and chaotic, so I always take notes and plan things ahead. Even if it annoys my friend, who is absolutely spontaneous, people always rely on me because I never break promises, especially at work. Not gonna lie, I feel uncomfortable when something unexpected happens, but at the same time, planning has developed my management skills that help me deal with stressful situations.
  • Introvertive & nerdy. Since childhood, I have never needed to be surrounded by lots of friends because I would spend hours reading about space, robots, technologies, and similar stuff. I find it truly fascinating, but my two closest friends are not as deeply into my hobbies as I am, so they keep wondering how I understand all of that so well. At the same time, they are happy that I've chosen IT as my job because it's a perfect fit for my personality. I agree because I can focus on what I know and love without having to act like an extrovert.
  • Communicable & friendly. Once I've been told that I look like a definition of an outgoing person. My secret is that I simply love people so much that I'm always open to events, conversations, and new friends! I feel very comfortable in big groups of people, so my leisure and work are all about social interactions. However, some of my friends are rather introverted, so they don't understand my lifestyle, but it still isn't much of a problem for our relationships.

The DON’Ts: what mistakes you should avoid

Don't lie!

Neither not receiving a job because of not telling obvious lies nor getting the position for the traits which do not belong to you sounds desirable or favourable, especially when the interview is decisive for you personally. However, you are not expected to be straightforward, so it's okay to polish a story a bit. At least, the interviewer will not directly ask your friends to confirm what you have just said.

Don't stick to sample answers!

Sounds very obvious, but sometimes job seekers prefer to google samples and learn them by heart, hoping to impress the interviewers. Do we need to explain that this strategy never works?

Don't criticize yourself!

Consider the interview as a perfect opportunity to sell yourself as a specialist. Showing yourself in a bad light has proved to affect the way how the interviewer perceives you. On the other hand, a part of the winning strategy is to slightly show some of your insecurities — please look again at the examples above, this hack can be seen clearly there.

We hope that this article was helpful for our readers to remember key information and working hacks for the "how would a friend describe you" question and the ways to answer it flawlessly. However, if you have not been invited to interviews yet and you are an active job seeker, we highly recommend visiting to find a new perfect job!

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