An interview is part of the process hiring managers use to remove red flags. If you don’t answer their questions eloquently and confidently, your candidacy will be decreased. One of the questions that is frequently asked today in executive interviews is, “What is one word would describes you best?” This is one of those questions that may come out of the blue to some and cause confusion and panic. But not for my clients! Because they have already decided on their “it” word.
This question is not as simple as you think. If you say tenacious, you will be asked for an example in your career where you demonstrated tenacity. So, don’t pick something out of the dictionary or thesaurus that sounds good if you can’t defend it. This one word should be strong and resonate with the audience. I am not interested in the words passionate, driven, or successful. To me, they are weak and have little meaning. The one word should reflect you, your personality, and your career.
Here are a few suggestions used by my recent clients in their resumes:
Unstoppable, sagacious, tenacious, pioneer, courageous, fearless, resilient, efficacious, robust, unflappable, intrepid, ingenious, indomitable, inquisitive, audacious.
Thinking about this one word that describes you can actually be a soul-searching exercise. This is an opportunity to share your career ambitions, in confidence, with your peers, acquaintances and family, and ask them what one word they would use to describe you. You may have to bite your tongue at some of the words they suggest, but hopefully they will share in joviality. Behavioral assessment surveys are also a good resource. If you have recently worked with a coach, they can probably share their perception of you wrapped up in one word.
Be authentic. Be sensitive to your personal brand. Don’t choose a word that will place you in a negative spotlight.
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