How to Answer Interview Question "Tell Me About Yourself"

Tell me about yourself. It's often the opening question during a job interview and can be surprisingly difficult to answer. While it might seem like an ice breaker or a sign the interviewer didn't even read your resume, the way you answer can tell your interviewer a lot about you and why you're the best candidate for the position. By learning what interviewers are looking for and some important tips about answering this tricky question, you can get your interview off on the right foot.

Why Interviewers Ask the Question

Every business and interviewer is different, so the answers they seek when prompting you to share information about yourself can vary. One thing you can be sure of when you've reached the interview stage is that the interviewer knows what’s on your resume. The way you respond to this question should add other important details that add context to your resume.

Here are a few reasons interviewers want you to "Tell me about yourself."

  • To showcase your public speaking and communication skills.
  • Your response can include relevant details about why you want to work for the company and in the specific role.
  • It can offer a starting point that determines the direction of the interview.
  • It can help your interviewer get to know the person behind the resume.

5 Tips to Ace the Tricky Interview Question: "Tell Me About Yourself"

You've dressed professionally for your interview and tailored your resume to the company. Now is the time for you to make your first impression. Whether the question is directly phrased as "Tell me about yourself," or something a little different, like "Walk me through your resume," or "Tell me about your background," be prepared for a short professional monologue. These tips can help you relax and provide the right details to share your qualifications and enthusiasm for the role.

1. Keep it Professional

Your interviewer doesn't need to know about your hometown or the name of your primary school. A good way to look at the question is to consider the way your answer will line up with your interest in the role and company. In other words, tell the interviewer about yourself in a way that's related to the position you're interviewing for. By keeping this in mind, you can highlight past experiences that prepared you for this role, specific accomplishments, or even personal reasons why you're interested in the industry. You can further personalize your response by citing a reason you're excited about becoming part of their team or how your ideals align with the company culture.

2. Customize Your Answer to the Specific Role and Company

It's common for job seekers to apply for multiple positions at once. While company leaders understand this, you shouldn't be applying for a position you're not truly interested in. Your interest in the company can help clarify why you're the best candidate for the role. Before your interview, do your research. Consider how your career goals align with the company's objectives. While you're learning about the company, learn as much as possible about the company culture and why you'll be a good fit. Share how your history, goals, and work ethic make you a perfect match.

3. Show Personality

Your interviewer wants to get to know you. Your personality, soft skills, and passion will make you stand out from the crowd. What inspired you to work in this industry? Did something from your childhood spark an interest? Are you making a big career change? This information gives your interviewer important details about you as a person.

4. Organize Your Response

Open-ended questions make it easy to ramble, which can make it difficult to get to the point. Practice your answer to this question to ensure it has a flow that makes sense. Many people choose to start with their present situation, then touch on some past accomplishments to give a rounded story that encompasses a full journey. Some applicants find it easier to start with education and offer details in chronological order. No matter what starting point makes the most sense for you, make sure your response evolves from a beginning point to why you're sitting across from your interviewer.

5.  Be Concise

Your interviewer has your resume and knows the important details of your career. They also have specific questions that will allow you to share important details. Don't offer a ten-minute discourse that could lull your interviewer into a daze before the interview even gets started. Talking with little or no interruption can be harder than you'd imagine. It's a great idea to practice before your interview. When you compose your answer to this all-important question, aim to speak for around two minutes. If you fall a little short or go a little over, it will be fine. Don't memorize a staged speech. Instead, imagine a conversation in which you're giving a riveting answer. It's also a good idea to be prepared for interruptions in case your interviewer interjects a question or comment for clarity.

Your opportunity to tell your interviewer about yourself shouldn't be one you take for granted. It's your opportunity to make a strong first impression and create a connection. With the right preparation and a positive attitude, you'll be able to provide a confident answer that could improve your chances of getting the position you want. For leading companies recruiting top talent and qualified candidates seeking the perfect role, the journey to reach the interview stage can be challenging. Working with a top recruitment and advisory firm can help. Whether you're a job seeker hoping to find work or an organization ready to hire talent, the recruiters at Career Group Companies can help you reach your goals. Contact us to learn more about our more personalized approach to recruiting.

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Founded in 1981 by Susan Levine, Career Group Companies was created to set a higher standard for recruiting. For over four decades, we’ve partnered with our valued candidates and clients to cultivate perfect career matches for administrative, creative, fashion, events, and executive professionals at top companies nationwide.

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