Interview questions like “tell me about yourself” help determine whether you are the right fit for the position. Interviewers are looking to establish if you are qualified for the job and if you will fit in with the company culture.
By answering this question right, you can persuade the interviewer that you are the best fit for the job. Take this opportunity to highlight your skills and present yourself in the best way. Show the interviewer that you are an excellent communicator and can interact with others.
As one of the first interview questions, this is your chance to make a lasting first impression. To be able to answer it right and stand out from the competition, follow these 5 tips.
How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in an Interview
There are two common ways of answering this question. The first approach is primarily chronological, while the second focuses more on skills and abilities. In other words, the first answer lists your work experience from the beginning towards current information. On the other hand, the second answer format only touched briefly on work history and focuses mainly on current strengths, skills, and future career goals.
Each of these approaches may be more or less effective for you depending on your situation. However, both answer formats are great as long as you focus on the strengths you possess in the key competency areas of the position you’re applying for.
When crafting your answer, keep it logical, concise, and organized. Limit your response to two minutes and focus strictly on your work history. That is, keep your private life and personal issues out of your answer. Also, remember that the interviewer may be evaluating your communication skills and professionalism, so practice ahead of time.
5 Tips for Answering “Tell Me About Yourself”
1. Tailor your answer to the role and company
Do thorough research on the company as well as the role beforehand. When answering the interview questions, relate your answers to the job. In essence, focus on what valuable skills you can bring to the table. Apart from that, speak about why you applied for this particular role in the company. A great way to show understanding of the role is to focus on the keywords and values mentioned in the job listing. Then, use the same rhetoric in your answers. This will show that you have done your research and understand what is important for the company.
2. Be honest and be yourself
Being yourself is crucial in a job interview. After all, you want to find a job that you will enjoy and be passionate about. If you answer the interview questions dishonestly to impress the interviewer, you will most likely pay for it later. The job interview is a chance to find out whether you are the right fit for the team and the company culture. Thus, not being truthful can lead to clashes and disagreements later on.
3. Practice ahead of time
Practicing your answers beforehand is an easy way to get rid of stress before your interview. Practice your answers out loud or take down notes on what you want to share with and point out to the interviewer. By doing this, you will end up feeling more confident and at ease during the interview. However, avoid memorizing answers word by word, as this will sound staged and not genuine.
4. Stay positive
You want to give the best first impression possible. Thus, avoid mentioning things like why you were fired or unemployed. “Tell me about yourself” is one of the first interview questions – use it to highlight your best qualities. Eventually, the interview will progress, and the interviewer will have a solid idea of who you are. Then, you can address the gap in your resume or the reason you are leaving your job. Apart from that, remember to never badmouth your past employers. This will only make you seem unprofessional and rude and put the interviewer off.
5. Prepare additional answers
It doesn’t matter if you’re preparing for your first interview or a seasoned professional. Job interviews are stressful each time – but they don’t have to be! By preparing answers in advance, you can enter the interview feeling more relaxed and at ease. Think of answers to common interview questions that may come up. Most important, focus on those questions that are uncomfortable or hard to answer. For example, find out how to answer “Why are you leaving your current job?” here.
“Tell Me About Yourself” Example Answers:
Now that you understand the theory, it is time to apply it. Here are two examples of how great answers to “tell me about yourself” would look like.
I have always enjoyed design, and pursued my passion throughout my life, starting with designing high school posters and later college websites and information pamphlets. In my most recent position at [Current Company], I specialized in UX and website design. For the past 5 years, I have been working with some of the most influential companies in the tech and gaming industry and helped them create a design that attracts new customers. I applied for this job upon seeing UX and UI design as the key competency. I believe that thanks to my extensive experience, I could help you improve the conversion of your products and help you tap into new markets. One of my major achievements in [Previous Company] was optimizing products for 5 foreign markets successfully, and I believe I could help your company get similar results.
I’ve been working in sales positions for over ten years, primarily as an account executive for major clients. Currently, I work at an agency handling three international technology brands. While I love the work that I do, I am looking for an opportunity to advance my career in a more challenging position. This is why I was thrilled to hear about this job opening at [Company Name]. I have been following their breakthroughs in technology development for many years.
Do’s and don’ts for answering “tell me about yourself”
- Share your expertise – Think of three or four of your best qualities and the times you presented these in your work. First, focus on your most prominent and unique valuable skills. Then, highlight your other strengths throughout the interview.
- Mention past experiences and proven successes – When speaking about your strengths and skills, relate them to your past achievements. Think of quantifiable successes as well as experiences that gave you valuable insights. Moreover, have a story ready to back up any statements about your success or skills.
- Connect your skills to the job description – Read the job listing and focus on the keywords used in the text. Then, include these in your answer. Focus on the skills needed for the role as well as job responsibilities. Moreover, if the company mentions their values, make sure to explain how you connect with these.
- Share too much or too little information – In other words, give the right kind of information. The interviewer doesn’t need to know the details of your life. However, holding back on giving details about your work might make it seem like you are hiding something. Find a balance between the two and avoid sharing unnecessary or personal information.
- Repeat your resume word for word – Most likely, the hiring manager has already read your resume before the interview. Thus, avoid repeating everything that is on your resume. Rather, take this opportunity to spike interest in the interviewer. Make your answer short and concise. Also, share a good combination of professional and personal successes. Think of your answer as a teaser that should make the interviewer want to know more about you.
- Give too many personal details – You will not impress the interviewer with your children’s achievements or political views. Avoid discussing family matters and controversial topics like religion or politics. Apart from that, don’t make it seem your hobbies mean more to you than your work, as this may make you look unreliable.
Usually, “tell me about yourself” is one of the first interview questions you will be asked. It is your opportunity to make a great first impression and stand out. Remember that practicing and researching will give you a competitive advantage and increase your chances of success.