“Tell me about yourself” is one of the most frequently asked open-ended question at the beginning of an in-person or video interviews to start the conversation. Other alternatives include “Walk me through your resume,” “How would you describe yourself?” and “Tell me something about yourself that’s not on your resume”.
These questions are most likely to be put forward at every stage of the interview process—from video interview to face-to-face rounds. As these questions can be answered in multiple ways, it can be hard to understand what the interviewer really wants to know. But this ambiguity gives you an opportunity to choose how you respond to an interviewer.
In this article, you’ll find tips on how to structure your answer and respond confidently.
It can be hard to begin formulating your answer even for the most common interview questions. Hence, we have listed a few questions to ask yourself while you are trying to construct a response:
• What makes you a great fit for this position/role?
• Why does this particular role interest you?
• What makes you interested in the company/industry?
• What are the traits or qualities you possess that will aid you in this role?
• Is there something distinctive about your background that makes you stand out from the competition?
Once you are done answering the above, you can plan your response to the “Tell me about yourself” question.
As a job seeker, having the knowledge to answer, “Tell me about yourself”, gives you a great opportunity to showcase your skills and experiences that show why you are the ideal candidate for the job. And since it’s a question that many hiring managers begin the interview with, it’s also your way to start off on the right foot. Consider formulating the answer using the guidelines below.
1. Mention abilities and experiences that relate to the position.
Begin by going over the job description. That way you’ll have a better understanding of what the hiring manager is searching for in terms of skills and experiences. Prepare an answer that highlights your relevant abilities, strengths, and areas of expertise with the help of recent stories that demonstrate them.
2. Examine how your current job corelates to the job you’re applying for.
If you are taking on a more senior role, explain how you have been taking on more responsibilities in your current position. If you are making a switch to a role with different skills or in a different industry, show how your current skills can relate to the new position.
3. Focus on skills and expertise that you can support with examples.
When you start formulating the script with each example, focus on details and outcomes that can quantify your work if possible. For example, stating that you “increased sales” is less effective than saying you “increased sales each quarter by 18–20%.” If you don’t have the exact information, estimate a realistic value.
4. Highlight your personality to break the ice.
Primarily the “Tell me about yourself” interview question is about getting to understand more about you, therefore it’s also a good idea to share your personality with your interviewer—but not personal details. You may want to briefly mention hobbies that demonstrate intellectual development or those that showcase your achievements and personal discipline.
5. Format your response.
Remember that it’s not just what you say in an interview but also how you say it. You should be able to say exactly what you want, in the way you want to. Remember that how you deliver your answer will demonstrate to the recruiter your interpersonal skills and communication skills.
Answering the “Tell me about yourself” question effectively gives you an opportunity to make a good first impression and shape the rest of the interview to your advantage.