Career Advice Interview Tips

How To Answer: How Would Your Friends and Family Describe You?

Emily Totura
By: Emily Totura
Jul 13, 2020 • 3 min read

How To Answer: How Would Your Friends and Family Describe You?

Depending on which friend or family member you ask, you could get a lot of different answers. Interviewers ask this question because they want to learn about who you are outside of work, understand your level of self-awareness, and to see how you work with others. If you answer this question effectively, it will demonstrate to the interviewer that you are prepared and have strong communication skills—these are both important for an interview! In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how you can answer this question, so, how do your friends and family describe you?

Step 1: Think About How Friends and Family Describe You

Before brainstorming, it’s important to understand that the interviewer is asking about your personality, not about how you work. So, you should avoid saying anything like being organized or having strong computer skills. Think about it, if you asked your friends or family about how they would describe you, they probably wouldn’t say these things. They could also ask for some examples, and if your story aligns too well with the job, they might think that you aren’t being honest with them. What should you say instead? They want you to be genuine and know what your values are.

For example, you can say: I believe my family and friends would describe me as adaptable, a leader, and good at problem-solving. Typically in my personal life, I am the leader of the group. I have been known to plan most group events that we do, and I am always the one to check-in on my friends. 

Why this is a good response:

  • All of these traits are important for a job
  • This shares a personal story to help the employer better get to know you
  • You have shared 3 different ways in which your friends would describe you, variety is good!

Step 2: Be Relevant 

You might be great at eating an entire pizza, but this isn’t what your interviewer wants to hear. Instead of thinking about how your friends and family would describe you in general, think about how they would describe you to the interviewer. It’s easy to go on a tangent, so remember to keep it simple—pick about 2 ways to describe yourself. Let’s say you are applying for a job as a retail salesperson. Since you would be helping people shop, you could say that you are helpful, patient, or empathetic. How would you answer this part of the question?

You can say something like: My closest friend, Jane, would describe me as helpful. She knows that I always try to give advice and help others, so Jane comes to me when she need help solving an issue. She would also say that I’m very patient because I don’t get upset easily, even when I am frustrated.

Why this is a good response:

  • You have shared that you are willing to help others
  • This communicates that you are a team-player
  • You have shared that you are patient when times get tough

friends and family

Step 3: Give a (Short) Story 

The best way to back up your answer and sound credible is to give an example. Which experiences with your friends or family demonstrate what you mentioned in the first part of your answer? Be focused when giving an example, and once again, it should be relevant to the job. Make sure that you maintain professionalism when telling them this story. And remember, your interviewer doesn’t need to go down memory lane with you.

For example, you can say:  Jane is a single mom, so she’s really busy. I try to help out by running errands for her and watching her kids in my free time.

Why this is a good response:

  • You share a personal story that the employer might relate to
  • This shows that you are selfless and willing to help others
  • Communicates that you are able to build strong relationships

friends and family

Final Tips!

Try not to get caught up when answering the question—stick to the point. So, instead of rambling, just tell the interviewer what he or she needs to hear, and then move on. It’s also crucial that you are aware of your demeanor. How can you be professional? With your language, gestures, and attitude. Keep in mind, you can only make a first impression once, and you can’t take back what you say. With every interview question, be honest and genuine! If you take the time to prepare and give a thoughtful answer, you’ll make a great impression. 

More to explore: 

  • How to Answer: Has a colleague impacted your life? – here 
  • How to Answer: What attracted you to our company? – here 
  • How to Answer: Who is your biggest role model? – here 

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