How To Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in a Job Interview
March 3, 2023
15 minutes to read
It's likely that practically every interview you attend will ask you to tell them a little bit about yourself. In this scenario, most people are dreading how to answer the infamous "Tell me about yourself” question. However, know that this is a common request during job interviews and has the potential to be whatever you make of it. You can answer this question confidently and make the right impression with prior planning.
You have come to the right place if you are looking to ace your next interview. This blog will help you prepare to deal with all possible scenarios during a job interview by examining the essential components of a powerful response and provide samples to make your next interview stand out. Additionally, if you're seeking advice on how to ace The Job Interview, Mina Wasfi and Mehrad Yaghmai will be hosting a FREE interactive workshop on February 23 at 7:30 pm (GST) that will cover their top interviewing strategies. Don’t miss it!
So, how do you tackle the “Tell me about yourself” question? Do you talk to the interviewer about your struggles in life? Or do you emphasize your credentials? Do you do both? Or neither? The truth is, answering job interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself” requires dealing with various elements. In essence, the interviewer is attempting to learn more about you, they are comprehending your abilities and experiences, and determine how well you match their brand voice, the specific job, as well as the culture of the organization. Keeping this in mind, let’s delve into some job interview tips about how to handle this question.
How can you answer “Tell me about Yourself”?
1. Don't Leave Your Job Interview to Chance: Do Your Research.
Let's use a hypothetical situation to try to understand this. Imagine yourself attending a black-tie event. You wouldn't want to show up wearing a t-shirt by your favorite band, would you? Your job interview is no different. By doing your research about the company you are applying for, you can ensure that you're in line with the company's goals, brand voice, and the particular job description you applied for. You can personalize your responses to highlight your compatibility with the company and show that you have a genuine interest in and passion for the position. Not to mention, it's always impressive if you can share some insider company knowledge during the interview. It reflects your sincerity, commitment, and desire to join the team.
So once again, don't be hesitant to explore the company's website in-depth, read through their mission statement, and keep an eye out for any recent news or updates. The secret to a good "Tell me about yourself" response is research, and it just might give you the edge you need to stand out from the competition.
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2. Break the mold: Avoid resume repetition.
When answering "tell us about yourself", it's important to avoid simply repeating information from your resume. Because the interviewer has most likely already seen your resume and is familiar with your job history and qualifications, reiterating those facts will not add value to the interview. Instead, concentrate on providing more personal information that will allow the interviewer to get to know you better. You could, for example, discuss your passions and hobbies outside of work, your devotion to a specific field, or a unique accomplishment or experience you're proud of. Additionally, don’t ramble on and exceed two to three minutes, and make sure that your response is jam-packed with details that indirectly demonstrate why you're the ideal candidate for the position.
Keep in mind that the "Tell me about yourself" question is your time to highlight your abilities, accomplishments, and how you can contribute to the business. Make the most of it!
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3. Practice makes perfect, but don’t memorize.
This may sound cliche, but it's true. If we could give you one magical piece of advice to help you answer the question "Tell me about yourself," it would be to practice, practice, and practice some more. However, while practicing your response is important, it is also important not to memorize it completely because you do not want to sound robotic or uninterested in the job. The goal is to understand what you want to say, not to memorize it word for word. We recommend practicing in front of a mirror or with an experienced friend or family member.
Keep in mind that even if you've practiced your response multiple times, the goal is to make it appear smooth and natural.
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Sample answers to “Tell Me About Yourself”
Here are some good examples of responses to the infamous question that you can use as inspiration:
How to answer “Tell me about yourself” if you are unemployed.
“Since I'm in the middle of a career shift, I'm eager to explore new possibilities and identify organizations where I can have a significant impact. I have experience in [the sector or field] and have developed [certain abilities or accomplishments]. I'm passionate about [related pursuits] and am certain that my qualifications may make me a significant contribution to any company.
Despite the fact that I'm now unemployed, I've been working hard on [related projects or skill development], and I'm excited to put my knowledge to use in a new position. I take on new projects with enthusiasm and work diligently. I also pick things up quickly. I firmly feel that my optimistic outlook, versatility, and eagerness to learn make me a top contender for any profession, and I'm eager to explore my options.”
Keep in mind to customize your response to the particular position and business you are interviewing for. Making an effort to demonstrate how your qualifications might be advantageous to the company will go a long way.
How to answer “Tell me about yourself” if you are inexperienced.
“I recently graduated with a degree in [your field of study] from college. Despite the fact that I may lack relevant employment experience, internships and volunteer work have helped me develop important abilities. For instance, I had the chance to work on a number of projects while an intern at [business name] that allowed me to get expertise with [related skill or programme]. I've also been volunteering at [organization name] for the past year, where I've had the opportunity to hone my collaboration and communication abilities.
I'm an enthusiastic [hobby or interest] and I also like [another hobby or interest] outside of work and school. I firmly feel that having a strong work ethic and being eager to take on new tasks came about as a result of my passion for learning and experimenting. I'm thrilled about the chance to put my abilities and enthusiasm to use in this position while also advancing my professional development.”
Never forget to personalize your response to the precise position and business you're looking for and to draw attention to any transferable talents or relevant experiences.
How to answer “Tell me about yourself” if you are experienced.
“I have [number] years of professional experience in the field. My work with [prior employers or projects] has helped me improve my experience in [certain skills or subject areas]. I'm passionate about [competing interests or objectives], and I feel that my background in [certain experiences or accomplishments] has well-prepared me for this position.
I was in charge of [certain duties or achievements] at my most recent position at [prior employer]. I [explain how you contributed value, enhanced procedures, or produced results]. Before that, I worked on [prior job or project] and was able to [particular achievements or abilities acquired]. Generally speaking, I think that my experience has given me a strong foundation for success in this industry, and I'm enthusiastic about the prospect of applying my knowledge and experience to this new opportunity.”
This response highlights the candidate’s expertise, abilities, and accomplishments, which also demonstrates enthusiasm for the available opportunity. This response can leave a lasting impression on a prospective employer by focusing on specific accomplishments and how they can benefit the new employment.
With this, you now have the resources and advice you require to confidently respond to the dreaded "Tell me about yourself" question. We hope that these pointers have instilled in you the self-assurance you require to answer the "Tell me about yourself" question and impress the interviewer. Best of Luck!