When preparing for an interview, it is of crucial importance to be prepared for a variety of questions ranging from general to job-specific. Every job seeker, at some point of their job search, was or will be faced with the question “Tell me about yourself” during an interview. Interviewers tend to pose this question at the beginning of an interview, and the answer of the interviewee to this question can set the tone for the rest of the interview.
Seemingly harmless, the interview question “Tell me about yourself” is everything but. Does the interviewer expect you to talk about your childhood, your life, your career, or about something else? The “Tell me about yourself” interview answer should be carefully thought through before showing up for the actual interview.
So if you are wondering how to answer the question “Tell me about yourself” next time you get face to face with an interviewer who asks you this question, you should bear in mind some things which your answer should contain. The following interview tips tell me about yourself question can help you prepare for your next interview.
1. Be Prepared in Advance
First of all, if the interviewer asks you to talk about yourself during an interview, and you have not prepared an answer in advance, you may find yourself in an unpleasant situation. You may say the first thing which comes to mind, such as your current living situation, or you may talk about your childhood, or perhaps outline your resume and where you are now in your career.
This can be tricky because you do not know what the interviewer wants you to answer. You cannot be sure if the interviewer had read your resume; or if they had not read your resume and want to hear it from you.
In almost all of the cases, the aim of the interviewer when asking the question “Tell me about yourself” is to find out enough information about you in order to decide whether to hire you or not. What the interviewer is aiming to find out when asking this question is how your experience and your strengths are relevant for the position you are applying for. This is your opportunity to make yourself appear likeable, as well as a good fit for the job you are interviewing for.
Being prepared in advance for this question can put you above the other job applicants. Since usually the question “Tell me about yourself’’ is asked at the beginning of an interview, this is your chance to outshine the other candidates for the potential job, and dictate the tone of the whole interview.
Your answer to the question “Tell me about yourself” will help your interviewer form a first impression of you, and you want to make sure that the impression will be a good one. You want to emphasize your strongest selling points by delivering an answer which is concise and relevant.
Think of your answer as a sales pitch – a short summary where you describe the most relevant characteristics of a product and its value. Bear in mind that your answer should not be very long – ideally it should not exceed two minutes. Your answer should be concise and at the same time relevant enough in order to get the interviewer interested into “buying your product”.
Perhaps you will not succeed in describing all of your qualities in under two minutes, so you should focus on presenting the ones which are the most important for the specific job you are applying for. This is why it is very important to prepare in advance for every job interview, since every job will have different requirements. You should adjust your answer to this question in order to suit the specific needs of the job you are applying for. That way you will present yourself in a great light.
2. Include Your Primary Strengths and Interests in Your Answer
When the interviewer asks you to talk about yourself, you should know how to present your primary strengths connected to the job you are applying for, as well as the main reason or reasons why you are interested in the respective job.
- When talking about your primary strengths, you should focus on the specific requirements of the job you are applying for, and tailor the presentation of your strengths according to those requirements. For instance, if the job is a senior level position, you should highlight the years of experience you have in the respective area or industry.
- Another thing you can highlight is your technical skills, as well as any special training you have had in the past, which, again, should be directly connected to the requirements of the job you are applying for. All in all, the main thing to focus on is the respective job description, for this will help you tailor the presentation of your strengths.
After having highlighted your strengths, you can talk about the reasons why you are interested in the respective job. You can always answer that the main reason you are interested in the respective position is that you are looking for a new challenge in your career.
In this way, you are giving out the impression that the position you are applying for is a great one, and you would be a good fit for it. This answer also gives the impression that you are a constant learner, a trait which is highly valued by recruiters.
3. Script and Practice
Another thing which you can do in order to prepare for your interview, especially for the interview question “Tell me about yourself”, is to write a script beforehand, where you will highlight all the important information about yourself which are relevant to the job you are interviewing for.
Your script can contain information about your overall experience, your career success, your most recent experience which is relevant for the position you are applying for, as well as challenges you have overcome successfully. Writing a script will come in handy for your “sales pitch”, for you will know exactly which strengths and abilities to highlight for the particular job position you are interviewing for at the actual interview. You can conclude your script by describing the reasons you are applying for that job.
After writing the script, a smart thing to do is practice in front of a mirror. This will help you to gain more self-confidence, as well as to minimize the stage fright when you go to the actual interview. Bear in mind not to recite from the script while practicing – you need to sound natural in front of your interviewer. Practice makes perfect, so practice and revise your script until you are confident enough that you will nail the interview.
The interview tips listed above should help you be prepared in case this question is asked, which happens more often than not. Do not wing your ‘tell me about yourself’ interview answer, for the repercussions could be catastrophic. Keep your answer brief and to the point, containing only relevant information which match the requirements of the job you are interviewing for.
This way you will pique the interest of your interviewer, and increase your chances of getting the job.