Open-ended questions such as “Tell me about yourself” are often asked at the beginning of a job interview. A question like this is likely to crop up at every stage of the interview process, from the first phone meeting through to the final rounds, and it’s natural to be confused by these types of questions: they are ambiguous, and it can be difficult to figure out what the interviewer wants. really know.
But there is an opportunity for you in this ambiguity: Your interviewer is allowing you to choose how to respond!
In this article, you’ll find various tips on what to avoid in your response and how to structure it. Furthermore, at the end of the article, you will find a detailed example of the answer to the question “Tell me about yourself”.
Why Do Employers Ask “Tell Me About Yourself”?
“Tell me about yourself” and similar questions are common at the beginning of interviews because they facilitate both us and the interviewer.
They allow our interlocutor to hear a short summary of our background and skills, as well as give them an idea of which experiences and qualifications are most relevant to the job position we are applying for, all the more reasons to hire us.
Employers are well aware that, although it is a trivial question, it still has a tendency to unsettle or block candidates altogether: by answering this question correctly, you will demonstrate that you are confident, that you work well under pressure and that you are clear on what are the qualifications needed to do this job.
Some may approach this question as an ice breaker, using your answer to spark a casual conversation to get to know you better, while others may skip straight to other more common questions after you’ve answered them.
How to prepare a presentation of yourself:
Even for the most common interview questions, it can be difficult to figure out how to best answer them. To keep you on track, here are some questions to ask yourself as you think about how to respond and how to structure your response:
Why should they choose you?
Think about what sets you apart as a candidate for this role. Maybe it’s your years of experience or some specialization, training or technical skill that the market is in short supply of? Carefully review the job description and note how you meet these requirements.
Why are you interested in the role?
Try to understand why this position excites you, how it fits into your broader career goals, and why you feel it’s the best next step. It is no coincidence that a recruiter will often ask you why you want to work with them.
After spending some time researching the company and the market niche, you should have a better understanding of the company’s mission, goals and trends impacting the target industry. Are they in line with the professional goals you have set for yourself?
What do you like and respect about the company as a whole? What excites you about the future of the industry? As you begin to build your story, draw together the similarities between your professional goals, the future vision of the company, and the industry trends that are particularly important to you.
Why are you interested in the company or sector?
What are the positive traits or characteristics you possess that will serve you well in this role? Have friends or colleagues ever described you as particularly organised?
Curious? Ambitious? Generous? Think about how you see yourself and how you think others see you. Then think about recent examples in your life where you’ve embodied that trait and study the best way to describe your strengths.
Is there anything unique about your background that sets you apart from other candidates?
As we said, this is one of the most common questions, so rest assured recruiters have heard this question answered time and time again and so it won’t be easy to impress them.
Try to think of something that resonates with the interviewer, something like, “I’ve been building computers since the age of 8,” which when applying for a developer role, will likely make the interviewer prick up his ears.
Obviously, not everyone has incredible talents to show off, but it’s far from difficult to find what makes you unique if you think about it.
How to answer the question “Tell me about yourself”
How you respond to a “Tell me about yourself” can set the tempo for the rest of the interview. In general, when you practice answering, you want to tell a great story about yourself that you can share in no more than two minutes. In your response, do the following:
Mention past experiences and achievements related to the position. Start by rereading the job description.
Take note of the required skills you have and identify recent stories that demonstrate them (review the STAR method to practice telling great stories in your interviews).
Mainly from recent professional experience, but volunteer work can also support your storytelling by demonstrating a commitment to your community.
Focus on strengths and skills that you can support with examples.
As you begin scripting each example, focus on details and results that you can quantify, if possible. For example, saying you have “better customer service” is less impressive than “increasing customer service response rates by 10-15% each quarter.” If you do not have exact information, estimate the actual value (round up… ).
Highlight Your Personality
Since the “Tell me about yourself” question is about describing yourself and getting to know yourself better, it’s a good idea to share your personality with your interviewer, but not any personal details.
You may want to briefly mention hobbies that demonstrate intellectual growth and/or community involvement (for example, reading, playing music, league, or volunteering) or those that demonstrate personal discipline and accomplishments.
(For example, learning a new skill, training for one to walk half the distance). Discussing personal interests is a good way to expand your self-description while maintaining a professional tone.
Format Your Answer
In order for your response to be clear and concise, you need to make sure that you organize your response in a clear format. There are two common formulas you can consider:
present, past, future past present future Both of these formulas will work for your answer, but you may choose one over the other depending on which points are more relevant to the position you’re interviewing for.
For example, if your most recent role highlighted a number of skills and abilities that are essential to the role you’re interviewing for, you may want to start with the present tense.
However, if you are changing careers and your past experience is more closely related to the role than your current position, you may want to start with the past.
Example of How to Answer an Interview Sometimes it can be helpful to look at an example, even though the way people talk about themselves varies from person to person. Below are some short scripts that show how this question can highlight one’s strengths backed by real results in just under two minutes.
I’ve always been good at bringing people together and working towards common goals.
Successfully leading teams and managing stores My experience doing this led me to consider administration and over the past four years, I have pursued a career as a healthcare administrator.”
“In my current role at XYZ, office efficiency has been a personal goal, especially when it comes to patient outcomes. Set and oversee department budget and patient volume goals.
Then I spent the last year working with our IT department to implement a communication system for scheduling processes and protocols to ensure all departments are properly involved at all times.
With our new online scheduling portal, we have increased communication efficiency by 20%. To stay informed about ongoing issues, I hold regular meetings with doctors, nurses and other health workers.
In my role, I am also responsible for managing marketing and promotional efforts on behalf of the Centre.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this part of my job and I am particularly interested in passing on the experience I have gained and my commitment to excellence to your hospital team.
Outside of work, I am an avid reader and enjoy hiking. On the weekend, you can find me at the local bookstore or exploring the trails in the area.
“I have been passionate about design since childhood. When I was in high school my parents remodeled their home and allowed me to take an active role in interior design.
I knew even then that I wanted to pursue interior designing as a career. I studied at the University of Pisa and I graduated 4 years ago.
“After college, I worked at an interior design firm in Georgia and during my time there I was able to dedicate myself to designing my portfolio.
Residential and commercial real estate. My experience at the company built my skills in billing and cutting edge technologies, and also enabled me to develop strong relationships with local suppliers.
The most rewarding part of my job was working in historical buildings in Tbilisi. This experience also allowed me to become familiar with the best building conservation techniques.”
“I look forward to working in a design office like yours that specializes in the design and conservation of historic buildings. I am confident that my experience and passion for preserving architectural heritage will allow me to be an asset to your design team.
“I am currently working as a hostess at XYZ Restaurant. I’ve been at it for a little over two years. My responsibilities include greeting and seating customers, estimating wait times, processing takeout orders, and answering phone calls.
This includes answering calls. I love the lively and somewhat chaotic atmosphere of casino restaurants… on Fridays and Saturdays we often have wait times of an hour or more!”
“Before I worked at Restaurant XYZ, I worked in retail for a year as a floor cleaner. This role really developed my customer service skills as I was constantly assisting customers in the shop. It also taught me to work in a team-based environment.”
I am particularly interested in your restaurant because of your ability to provide superior customer service to your customers and provide a vibrant and dynamic environment.” It has an excellent reputation for doing so.
In other words, when describing yourself to a recruiter, the first thing you should ask yourself is what you want the interviewer to remember about you.
Effectively answering the opening question, “Tell me about yourself,” gives you the opportunity to make a good first impression and shape the rest of the conversation to your advantage.
RELATED: List of Character Traits to Use During the Interview
What to say and what not to say when asked about yourself To recap, here is a list of great ways to answer this common interview question and things to avoid.
How nice to answer.
Connect strengths with examples to support them.
Focus on details and results you can quantify.
Avoid Summarizing Your Resume word for word.
Talk about what makes you different from other candidates.
Mention past experiences and proven successes with the STAR Method
Align your current job responsibilities with the role.
highlight your personality.
Link your skills to the job description.
Briefly mention hobbies, intellectual development and involvement in your community.
Write and practice sample answers.
What not to do:
Mentioning overly personal information such as marital status, children, political or religious affiliation, etc. These can be sensitive issues that may discredit you as a candidate, not to mention that such details do not factor into the employer’s assessment of your suitability for the job.
Give too many vague powers without supporting examples. Instead, you may want to select two or three qualities that you can back up with short, well-told stories that support your work experience.
Remember your answer. While it is good to practice and remember key points, you should not memorize your answer verbatim as this can sound robotic and unnatural.
Summarize your resume word for word. Instead, discuss the main points related to the situation.
Engage in conversation about the position you’re looking for or what benefits you’d like from the company. Save these arguments for the final stages of the interview, once they’ve identified you as a good candidate.