The Correct Way to Answer: "Tell me about yourself"

The Correct Way to Answer: "Tell me about yourself"

The first question asked by interviewers is not just a coincidence: it allows interviewers to become familiar with the interview process. This question serves as a transition between the chit-chat and the main conversation. Both the interviewee and the interviewer may feel nervous, but the question helps the interviewer to orient themselves.

Moreover, this question provides a valuable starting point for shaping the interview. It sets the tone for a series of follow-up questions, facilitates a smooth conversation flow, and aids recruiters and hiring managers in achieving one of their main objectives: understanding the candidate.

Although interviewers may phrase it differently, such as "I have your resume, but tell me more about yourself," "Walk me through your resume," "I'd love to hear more about your journey," or "Tell me a little bit more about your background," these variations essentially ask the same thing.

To effectively answer the "Tell me about yourself" prompt, it is essential to understand what to include and how to structure your response.

Key elements to include in your response:

  • Demonstrate why you are the best candidate, showcasing both hard skills, experience, and soft skills.
  • Provide an overview of your professional history, current role, and future aspirations.
  • Show that you have conducted research and understand how the job and company align with your career goals.
  • Exhibit clear and effective communication skills, the ability to connect with others, and professional presentation.

A simple method to organize your answer can be outlined as:

  • Now: Provide a brief overview of your current position, its extent, and emphasize a recent notable accomplishment.
  • History: Elaborate on the path that led you to your present role and discuss pertinent past experiences relevant to the desired job and company.
  • Upcoming: Shift towards your future objectives, expressing your aspirations for the next steps and detailing why you are interested in the particular position and how it matches your skills.

While this formula provides a useful framework, feel free to modify it to suit your specific situation. For instance, if you have a compelling story about your entry into the field, you may choose to begin with that before discussing your present endeavors.

Regardless of the order you choose, it is crucial to connect your response to the job and company. concluding your answer with a clear transition that explains why you are interested in the role will leave a lasting impression and demonstrate that your candidacy is relevant.

Here are simplified bullet points to excel in answering this question:

  • Make a positive first impression by showing preparedness and confidence.
  • Tailor your answer to highlight relevant qualifications for the position and company.
  • Adapt your response based on the audience and stage of the interview.
  • Maintain a professional tone and avoid discussing personal details unrelated to the company.
  • Convey enthusiasm without delving into overly personal territory.
  • Deliver a concise answer that captures the interviewer's interest and avoid rambling.
  • Practice your answer beforehand for clarity and confidence.
  • Seek feedback from others to improve your response.
  • Keep the tone positive and avoid discussing negative aspects.

You have probably heard this advice countless times before, but it is worth repeating: Avoid talking negatively about your former employer, and that applies to this situation as well. Especially in this context, starting an interview by criticizing your boss and expressing your desire to escape his or her micromanagement can be off-putting.