'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 allows them to assess your communication skills, hear your narrative about the highlights of your career, and lay the foundation for follow-up questions. 

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Communication

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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.

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If your goal in an interview is to stand out among the applicant pool and be memorable, tell your story from a passionate perspective, even if that touches on the personal territory.

You might incorporate a sentence like, “I’m really passionate about x and y and so I was really attracted to your company…”

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IDEAS

"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.

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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