You're in the middle of an interview and so far have been crushing it. Then the interviewer continues with a self-reflecting question about you and your...friends? The interviewer asks: "What three character traits would your friends use to describe you?"

You think, "What do my friends have to do with any of this?" A person in an interview looking confused.

It seems like a personal question, but the interviewer can discover more about you, and your answer can be the difference between you and other candidates.

What Are They Looking For?

Interviewers ask this question because they're checking for how self-aware you are.

Have you even bothered to ask your friends what they think of you? Having an idea of how others view you shows you have higher levels of self-awareness.

Interviewers also want to see what soft skills you can contribute to their team. It also gives them an idea of how you work with others.

Are you difficult, impatient, and a slacker? Or are you responsible, a good listener, and passionate?

A person in a dark room asks,

How to Answer the Question

It's important to be honest and concise with your answer. Think about moments with your friends and even past evaluations from previous managers.

Align 1-2 of your traits with the job description. That means you researched the role and skills they're looking for. Pick desirable strengths and provide short examples to support your traits. Remain personable and positive when giving those examples.

An office worker says,


Here are 2 example responses you can give when asked: "What three character traits would your friends use to describe you?"

Example 1

I'd say that my friends would describe me as optimistic, organized, and patient.

One time, I was traveling with my friends in Greece. I volunteered to create a spreadsheet where we can add attractions we wanted to visit, important hotel and transportation information, and different food spots!

Throughout the trip, some unexpected events occurred and I remained positive in those situations and patient when thinking of other things we can do.

A person scanning a travel map with a pen.

Example 2

I believe my friends would describe me as passionate, receptive, and outgoing.

I recently rediscovered my passion for reading books and wanted to share that passion. So I created a book club with my friends so we could discuss the books together in a really fun way.

I'd never started one before and was really open to any suggestions from my friends to make the experience better for everyone.

A person's hands opening a book.

What to Avoid Saying

  1. Bragging: It's perfectly fine to share positive traits about yourself. Bragging, however, isn't what they're looking for, so it's better to be humble.

  2. Long examples: Keep it brief enough to get your point across. You don't want to lose the interviewer in your long-winded story.

  3. Flat out lies: No matter how good of an actor you may think you are, it's a lot easier to tell a story that has truth to it.

Zach Galifianakis asking someone in an interview,


You're interviewing for a customer service job. Which traits would be the best answer to the question, "What three words would your friends use to describe you?"

Take Action

Remember, interviewers aren't going to actually call your friends to check your words against theirs. Make a list and keep practicing to sound as natural and genuine as possible so that the person interviewing you have zero doubts about you!

A person on a film set using a clapper board.


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