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How To Respond To The Interview Question – Tell Me About Yourself?

The first rule of thumb when answering a “Tell Me About Yourself” question is to talk about something that interests the interviewer. This crucial interview question has a way of forcing candidates to ramble on about their life stories.    

This question, often the interview opener, has a crucial objective: to see how you handle yourself in unstructured situations. The recruiter wants to see how articulate you are, how confident you are, and generally what type of impression you would make on the people with whom you come into contact on the job. The recruiter also wants to learn about the trajectory of your career and to get a sense of what you think is important and what has caused you to perform well.

This is a perfect chance to tailor your answers for the company and the job you are interviewing for. By formulating a response to your answer unique to the question, and answering it well, you are showing you are confident, you are capable of recognizing what an employer is looking for in a candidate, and you will find that you will receive a better answer from the interviewer. In order to do this, you need to ask the interviewer what they are interested in and what they want to know. This will help in formulating your response to the answer.  

You need to develop a good answer to this question, practice it, and be able to deliver it with poise and confidence. The right response is twofold: focus on what interests the interviewer and highlight your most important accomplishments.

Remember, one purpose of the question is to learn something about you outside your professional background and your attitude and on-the-job experience. Your response to tell me something about yourself should describe your current situation, past work experience, why you are the right candidate for the role, and how you fit in with company values.   

As a job candidate, knowing how to answer the tell me about myself question gives you an excellent opportunity to highlight your skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for the role. Instead of falling back on personal information that is irrelevant, you will practice responding to questions, in a way that emphasizes your skills and experience, and shows the interviewer why you are the best fit for the role and company. The best way to learn to answer, is to ensure you are concisely and clearly explaining how you are well-suited to that specific job, and – equally importantly – why you want that job.  

Your previous job might play an outsized role in who you are as a professional and why you are going down this particular path (the past and present parts of your answer), but specific details are irrelevant for telling the hiring manager about you. You can usually mention where your career started, a few jobs along the way, and your current role, but this is not the time to go through each of those individually, nor should you discuss each of the duties you had in each of those jobs. Tell the interviewer where you are right now–your current job, or something you are intentionally spending time on.    

When that interview question was first asked in his interview, he stammered his way through an incoherent response, without really focusing on what he might be able to contribute to the workplace. She started off with personal information, giving the interviewer reasons to question whether or not she was a hire that was going to stick around very long.  

By answering that question well, you are setting a tone for the interview, showing that you are someone confident, who works well under pressure, and is careful about qualifications for a job. By practicing, using the simple formulas outlined above, and using examples shown, you can provide your best interview answers to this question and improve your chances of getting hired. 

If you need help with perfecting your interview skills, check out our Interview Preparation session for overcoming your obstacles. Contact us for a customized approach to your needs. 

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