You’ve got a big interview coming up. How do you prepare? You have to make research about the company, polish answers to common questions and hone in on the ways your skills and experience will help you achieve results in that particular job. But you can do all that and still flounder in the interview. Many candidates stumble at the first hurdle because it doesn’t seem like it requires a lot of effort to clear.

What is it? The typical opener that invites you to tell the interviewer a little more about yourself. This hardly seems like the toughest question you’re likely to encounter.

You know your own biography, after all. But according to career coaches, this prompt is a common stumbling block for inexperienced candidates who go wrong by taking the question at face value.

Many candidates, unprepared for the question, skewer themselves by rambling, recapping their life story, delving into ancient work history or personal matters.

Here are 15 ways to describe yourself for your next interview:

“I would say I’m…”

  1. “Someone who has high expectations for my results. I am confident in my ability to produce, and while I prepare for the worst, I do the work necessary to tilt the odds so that the best will happen.”
  2. “Someone who wants to be judged by individual performance and rewarded for my efforts based on my ability to execute.”
  3. “Someone who wants to work for a successful company with strong leadership and vision, one that recognizes and rewards performers.”
  4. “Someone who is consistently growing and takes the time to continue learning even though it’s not a direct requirement of the job. I find that many times, my professional growth is based on what I study, both directly and indirectly related to work.” 5. “Someone who is modest, hard-working and consistently sets firm goals for myself. Then, once I’ve defined my benchmarks, I take the necessary steps to achieve those milestones.”
  5. “Someone who aims to keep lines of communication open and is concerned with clients’ needs—consistently asking questions to uncover the what the client truly wants and then making sure I’m able to meet those requirements.”
  6. “Someone who thinks positively and can execute difficult tasks. I’m not an individual who needs to be micromanaged. Rather, when given a specific task, I can figure out the best ways to solve the problem in an autonomous manner.”
  7. “Someone who is able to control a situation rather than allow a situation to control me.”
  8. “Someone who has an unwavering resolve. I am determined to do well in my job and have a successful career, as well as to make the company I work for more competitive.”
  9. “Someone with a need to produce results. I am the type of person who meets challenges head-on rather than sweeping them under the rug and hoping they go away. While I’m an optimistic person, I am also realistic about the current situation and how satisfactory or unsatisfactory it is.” 11. “Someone who has been able to not only meet my employers’ expectations, but has consistently exceeded those markers.”
  10. “Someone who takes responsibility for their actions when things go wrong. I don’t look for outside forces to blame; rather, I’m someone who looks at what I can improve upon the next time around. Pointing fingers solves nothing.”
  11. “Someone who demonstrates an unwavering resolve to do whatever must be done to produce the best long-term results, no matter how difficult.”
  12. “Someone who is committed to building something larger and puts aside personal gain for the well-being of the group.”
  13. “Someone who is mature, candid and believes in integrity. Every day I work to improve myself and my skills—that’s part of becoming better at what I do.”

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