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How to Answer, 'Tell Me About Yourself,' in a Job Interview

What you should not say

  • Starting with something personal like family or hobbies, or launching into your life story.
  • Sharing the problems with your current job.
  • Summarizing your resume, point-by-point. Assume that your interviewers read your resume before inviting you in for the interview.

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How to Answer, 'Tell Me About Yourself,' in a Job Interview

How to Answer, 'Tell Me About Yourself,' in a Job Interview

https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/job-interview-tips/tell-me-about-yourself-how-to-answer-this-tricky-interview-question

roberthalf.com

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Key Ideas

What you should not say

  • Starting with something personal like family or hobbies, or launching into your life story.
  • Sharing the problems with your current job.
  • Summarizing your resume, point-by-point. Assume that your interviewers read your resume before inviting you in for the interview.

Craft an elevator pitch

  • Spend some time reviewing the job description in the recruitment ad for the position and research the company.
  • Prepare a short script that highlights the skills, strengths and expertise you have that make you especially qualified for this particular position. 
  • Explain the reasons you’re applying for this particular job. Focus on career-related motivations.

Your purpose to the question

Your purpose to the question "tell me about yourself" is to give just enough details of yourself to spark the interest of the interviewer.

Answering this question gives you a great opportunity to spotlight the skills and experience that make you the ideal candidate for the job.

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“Tell me about yourself”

... is one of the interview questions that most intimidates job seekers and one that most interviewers assume will be easy. It sounds straightforward — but as every job seeker knows, it...

What your interviewer is looking for

"Tell me about yourself" doesn’t mean “give me your complete history from birth until today.”  It doesn’t even mean “walk me through your work history.” It means “give me a brief overview of who you are as a professional.”

Interviewers who ask this question are generally looking to get a broad overview of how you see yourself, as a sort of introduction or an icebreaker before starting to dive into the specifics. 

"Tell me about yourself" - recommended answer
  • Summarize where you are in your career, note anything distinctive about how you approach your work and end with a bit about what you’re looking for next.
  • Your answer only needs to be about 1 minute long.
  • Don’t drag yourself. This isn’t the time to explain you were fired from your last job or to confess your difficulties finding the right career path.
  • Keep your focus professional, not personal.
The reason for the question

Interviewers ask questions like "tell me about yourself "  to determine if you're qualified to do the work and if you will fit in with the team.

How to Answer the Question

It might be a good idea to share something about yourself that is doesn't relate directly to your career. 

For example, interests like running might represent that you are healthy and energetic. Pursuits like being an avid reader might showcase your intellectual leaning. Volunteer work will demonstrate your commitment to the welfare of your community.

The “present-past-future” formula

This is a simple formula to construct your response.

  • Start with a short overview of where you are now (which could include your current job along with a reference to a personal hobby or passion).
  • Reference how you got to where you are (you could mention education, or an important experience, internship or volunteer experience).
  • Finish by describing a probable goal for the future.

2 more ideas

'So, Tell me about Yourself'

... or some version of that is one of the most fundamental and common questions asked in any first round of a Job Interview.

Hiring managers usually like to ask this question, because it ...

Short vs long answers

The conventional expert opinion is to provide a crisp, 30 second to 1-minute answer to the question "Tell me about yourself", but one minute isn’t enough time to deliver a meaningful response that benefits you as a candidate.

Experts prefer a short answer, as it has less chance of leading the candidate to drift or ramble.

Benefits of a long answer
  • A longer answer to "Tell me about yourself" allows you to provide a useful narrative beyond the résumé.
  • It lets you reveal key motivations that drove your career path.
  • You can shape the interview in your direction.
  • It's an opportunity to stand out from the other candidates.