How to Prepare for “Tell me about Yourself” Interview Question

by Guest Author, Jane Harper

“Tell me about yourself?” is traditionally one of the most unnerving questions a candidate faces at a job interview. It’s also the first thing you’ll be asked when you sit down. While it should be one of the easiest questions to answer, it’s not because the candidate’s mind is preoccupied with thoughts of making the best first impression.

There’s a lot to consider when answering, “Tell me about yourself” in a job interview. It’s an important question that can open doors to opportunities, so you want to make sure you’re making you’re introducing yourself in a professional manner.

Tell me about Yourself: What kind of Answer Wins

When you’re going through interview prep, it can be hard to know how to answer questions like “Tell me about yourself” or “What are your strengths?” But these are all natural questions that almost every job candidate has to answer at some point in their interviews, so there’s no need to feel intimidated. You can create a list of things about yourself, such as:

  • Work experience
  • Skills
  • Strengths
  • Qualities
  • Credentials
  • Achievements

If you’re still worried about answering this question, let us help you out. We have provided some tips for answering the question in a way that shows off your best qualities and makes you sound like the perfect fit for the job. These tips include:

Tip #1 Don’t Make it Lengthy

One tip on how to answer “tell me about yourself” is to keep it short and sweet but don’t leave anything important out. Make sure each sentence has one or two points in it so there aren’t any awkward silences that waste time or make people feel uncomfortable. You want them to know who you are and why they should hire you, but don’t give away your entire life story in one answer. Focus on one or two key points about why this job is right for you, then move on from there.

Tip #2 Focus on your Interests

This will show them what kind of person they’ll be working with and make them excited to have you on board. Don’t ramble; instead, use examples from real life or specific examples from your past experiences.

Tip #3 Be Honest and Respectful

Another tip on how to answer “tell me about yourself” is to stay completely honest with your interviewer. Do not lie about your experiences and skills. Instead, try to be as transparent as possible.

The Two-Step Formula

When you’re asked, “Tell me about yourself,” in an interview, there are some useful things to keep in mind.

  • First, remind yourself that the interviewer is not trying to get an intimate look at your life. They probably want to know more about your experience and skills so they can determine whether or not you’d be a good fit for their team.
  • Second, remember that any information you give your interviewer will help them to know more about you. That’s why you have to try to sell yourself with your answer.

“Tell me about Yourself” [Sample Interview Answer]

Here are some steps for answering this question, “tell me about yourself” in an interview with confidence, which we have infused in our sample response below.

  1. Start by describing the position in terms of what it involves and how it relates to your skills and experience. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a marketing manager for a food company, you might mention that you’ve worked in that area before and have already done some marketing-related projects.
  2. Tell them why they should hire you — don’t just talk about yourself. Think about what makes you unique and why they should hire you over other candidates with similar backgrounds. This will show them that they can trust you with their business.
  3. End on a positive note by highlighting something else that makes you stand out from other candidates — whether it’s an accomplishment, interest or talent, or anything else that shows off your uniqueness (but don’t go overboard).

Response Sample

“Sure, my name is Tracy. I’m a sales representative and I have been working in this role for up to 4 years now.

I graduated from the [University name], where I majored in marketing and I got my bachelor’s degree. After that, I first got into a supermarket as a salesperson. There I attended to customers, helped in managing the products, and made sales for the company.

After that, I got a job as a sales representative for [company name] and worked there for about 2 years. There, I managed the sales of goods and made sure everything went smoothly in terms of business goals, budget, and more.

I enjoy representing companies to make sales and associating with customers to select the best products for them.”

There’s no denying that the question, “tell me about yourself” in an interview won’t come up. It is asked in every interview and figuring out how to go about it will help you scale your interview.

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About the author: Jane Harper is a Writer, Human Resources Expert and Consultant, and Copy Editor for The HR Digest Magazine. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter.

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