In the beginning of an in-person or video interview, it is common practice to give open-ended interview questions or to provide a prompt such as "Tell me about yourself." This is done in order to kickstart the discussion. 'Walk me through your resume', 'Tell me something about yourself that isn't on your resume', and 'Describe yourself' are some further instances of these kind of questions.
It is possible that you will be asked one or more of these questions at any point throughout the interview process, from the first phone screen to the final rounds. It is normal to be confused by their vagueness, and it might be difficult to determine what it is that the interviewer wants to know in the first place. However, this is an opportunity for you in that the interviewer is giving you the freedom to pick how you want to react to the question.
In this article, we provide advice on what not to say in your response to the "tell me about yourself" interview prompt, how to structure your response, and how you can get started, in addition to providing thorough examples of responses to the "tell me about yourself" interview question.
Why employers ask "tell me about yourself”
Questions such as "Tell me about yourself" and others like them are often asked at the beginning of interviews since they help both you and the interviewer become comfortable with the setting of the interview. The interviewer will get the opportunity to hear a brief description of your history and talents, which will provide them with some insight into the experiences and credentials that you consider to be the most relevant to the job for which you are interviewing.
Employers are aware of the fact that in spite of the fact that it is a regular interview question, it still has the potential to confuse or stump applicants for the position. You are able to establish the tone for the rest of the interview as someone who is confident, adept at working under pressure, and attentive to the qualities that are required for the job by providing a good response to this question.
Some interviewers may use this question as an icebreaker by utilizing your answer to begin informal discussion in order to get to know you better, but other interviewers may proceed right onto other interview questions once you have responded to this question.
Making preparations for your reply
Even with typical interview questions, it might be difficult to begin formulating an answer to what you should say. As you consider several ways to react and organize your response, you may find it helpful to ask yourself the following questions to keep you on track:
What are some of the reasons why you might be a good candidate for this job? Consider the aspects of your background that set you apart from other candidates for this position. Maybe it's the many years of experience you have under your belt, or maybe it's a highly sought-after speciality, training, or technical skill set. Carefully go through the job description, and make a note of the areas in which your qualifications surpass the criteria.
What aspects of the position most appeal to you? Think about the reasons why you are interested in this job, how it fits into your bigger career ambitions, and the reasons why you believe it is the ideal next step.
What about the firm or the field really piques your interest? After devoting some of your time to doing research on the firm and the sector, you should have a better understanding of the purpose, objectives, and trends that are influencing the sector. Are you able to see how they relate to the professional objectives you've established for yourself? What aspects of the firm as a whole do you like and appreciate, and why? What aspects of the industry's foreseeable future most excite you? While you are in the process of putting up your CV, you should look for commonalities between your professional ambitions, the long-term vision of the organization, and the trends in the sector that you consider to be the most significant.
What are some of the admirable qualities or qualities you possess that will serve you well in this position that you now hold? For instance, have any of your acquaintances or coworkers ever commented on how organized you are? Curious? Entrepreneurial? Generous? Think about how you've always seen yourself or how others have viewed you throughout your life. Consider recent instances in your life in which you exemplified that quality and then go on to the next step.
Is there a facet of your history that sets you apart from the other candidates in a way that's particularly noteworthy? This is one of the most typical questions asked during job interviews, as we've already explained. As a result, the interviewers have probably heard every possible response to this question. Make an effort to consider anything that will pique the interviewer's interest. When applying for a position as a developer, for instance, it is probable that if you state anything along the lines of "I've been developing computers since I was 8 years old," the interviewer would pay more attention to what you have to say.
How to respond when someone asks you, "Tell me about yourself."
How you answer the "tell me about yourself" question at the beginning of the interview might set the stage for the remainder of the conversation. When practicing your response, your overall goal should be to come up with a fantastic tale about yourself that you can relay to the interviewer in under two minutes. The following should be done in your response:
1. Describe your previous experiences and accomplishments, particularly those that are relevant to the role. Start out by looking through the job description once again. Make a note of the necessary capabilities that you possess and think about recent acts that illustrate those capabilities (review the STAR method to practice telling great stories in your interviews). In an ideal world, you should draw mostly on your most recent professional experience; nevertheless, volunteer activity may also complement your story while displaying a commitment to the community on your part.
2. Think about the ways in which the work you're looking for is similar to the one you're already doing. Is this a more senior position than usual? If such is the case, please describe the ways in which you are increasing the duties of your existing role. If you are moving laterally into a job that requires different talents, you should illustrate how the skills you have now transfer into the new role.
3. Direct your attention to the qualities and capabilities that you can illustrate with specific instances. When you first begin to construct the script for each example, put your attention on specifics and results that you can, if at all possible, quantify. For instance, it is less significant to state that you "enhanced customer service" than it is to state that you "raised customer service response rates each quarter by 10 percent to 15 percent." If you do not know the specific facts, you should estimate a figure that is reasonable.
4. To ease the tension in the room, emphasize your unique characteristics. Because the purpose of the interview question "tell me about yourself" is to learn more about you, it is a good idea to reveal some aspects of your personality with the interviewer, but avoid disclosing any private information. You may wish to quickly discuss hobbies that indicate intellectual growth and/or community participation (for example, reading, music, participating in a sports league, or volunteering), as well as activities that reflect personal discipline and success (e.g., learning a new skill, training for a half marathon). Your answer may be brought to a close in a manner that is professional while yet touching on topics related to your own interests.
5. Format your answer. To ensure that your response is understandable while still being succinct, you need make sure that it is organized according to a certain pattern or formula. There are two standard equations that you may think about using:
Present, Past and Future
Past, Present and Future
Both of these approaches may work for your answer, but you can decide to use one of them rather than the other depending on the responsibilities you've had in the past that are most applicable to the job for which you're being interviewed. For instance, if your most recent work emphasizes many of the talents and qualities that are necessary for the post you're applying for, you may choose to start with the present while answering questions about yourself during the interview. On the other hand, if you are switching careers and your previous experience is more directly connected to the job than your present one, you may want to start with that experience rather than your current one.
Some responses to the question "Tell me about yourself."
Even though everyone's response to the "tell me about yourself" question will be unique, there are occasions when viewing an example might be instructive. In less than two minutes, the following are a few short scripts illustrating how this question may showcase someone's qualities that are backed by good results:
"I started off in retail management, but after a few years, I found myself more interested in the health care industry. Since childhood, I've had a natural talent for bringing people together and getting them to collaborate on a project. My expertise in effectively leading teams and managing shops inspired me to explore a career in administration, and for the last four years I have been establishing a career as an ambitious health administrator.
"In my present work at XYZ Medical Center, I have made the efficacy of the office a particular goal, especially in relation to the results for patients. I am in charge of setting targets for the department's budget and the number of patients we visit. The year before, I collaborated with our information technology department to build a communication system for scheduling processes and protocols. The goal of this system was to guarantee that all departments had sufficient staffing levels at all times. We were able to boost the effectiveness of our communication by twenty percent after implementing a brand-new online scheduling site.
"In order to be apprised of their continuing issues, I maintain routine meetings with the medical staff, including doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals. As part of my responsibilities, I am also responsible for managing the center's marketing and promotional initiatives. I've been having a lot of fun with that aspect of my job, and I'm particularly excited about the prospect of contributing the knowledge and skills I've learned as well as my dedication to making the most efficient use of resources to the team at ABC Health.
"When I'm not at work, two of my favorite things to do are read books and go hiking. You could find me in the bookshop in town on the weekends, or I might be out exploring the hiking trails in the region.
"Ever since I was a little boy, design has been one of my greatest passions. When I was a senior in high school, my parents decided to refurbish our home, and they invited me to actively participate in the planning of the interior design. When I was younger, I always knew that I wanted to work in the field of interior design. I attended Savannah College of Art and Design for my training in interior design and received my degree there four years ago.
"Ever since I graduated college, I've been working for a company that specializes in interior design in Savannah, Georgia. In the course of my employment there, I was given the opportunity to grow my portfolio by designing both residential and commercial environments. My time spent working at the company has not only helped me become more skilled in construction and cutting-edge technology, but it has also given me the opportunity to cultivate solid ties with regional vendors. Working in Savannah's historic structures has been the aspect of my employment that has provided me with the greatest satisfaction. Because of this experience, I am more knowledgeable about best practices for the preservation of buildings.
"As we go ahead, I would love the opportunity to work with a design company like yours that specializes in the design and preservation of historical structures. Thank you for your consideration." I am certain that my previous work experience, together with my enthusiasm for historic preservation, will make me an invaluable member of your design team.
At the moment, I'm employed as a hostess at the XYZ Restaurant. I've been living there for little more than two years now. In addition to answering the phone and greeting and seating guests, my duties also involve processing orders for takeout and determining how long the wait will be. I really like how vibrant and hectic the atmosphere is at XYZ Restaurant, where the wait times on Friday and Saturday are sometimes at least an hour long.
"Before I started working at XYZ Restaurant, I spent a year working as a floor associate at a retail establishment. Since of this position, I significantly improved my ability to provide excellent customer service because I was always aiding clients in the shop. In addition to that, it taught me how to collaborate effectively inside a group setting.
As a hostess at a restaurant, I am interested in further developing my abilities in providing excellent customer service as well as my ability to solve problems. I am interested in your restaurant in particular since it has a fantastic reputation for providing world-class customer service to its clients while still maintaining a vibrant and exciting atmosphere.
When it comes down to it, the question "tell me about yourself" may be rephrased as "what do you want the interviewer to remember about you?" If you offer a thoughtful response to this first inquiry, you'll have the ability to create a favorable first impression and direct the remainder of the interview in a way that works to your advantage.
The correct and incorrect ways to respond to the interview question "Tell me about yourself."
As a quick review, below you will find a list of potential responses to the frequent interview question that was asked, as well as issues that you might think about avoiding.
Create a connection between your own qualities and the examples that support them.
Please limit your answer to no more than two minutes.
Focus on details and consequences you can measure.
Discuss the aspects of your candidacy that set you apart from the other contenders.
Mention prior experiences and demonstrated accomplishments.
Adjust the tasks of your existing employment so that they fit the position.
It is best not to discuss private matters such as your marital status, the number of children you have, your political or religious beliefs.
Bring forth your own individuality.
Try not to go too quickly into more in-depth talks about the position and the organization.
Establish how your experience aligns with the requirements of the position.
Mention in passing your interests, your intellectual growth, and your participation in the community.
Make a note of a model response, then practice giving it.
Mention very personal details such as your marital status, the number of children you have, your political or religious leanings, and so on. These are potentially touchy subjects that might work against you as a candidate, not to mention the fact that such specifics should not be considered by the employer when considering your capacity to fulfill the duties of the position you are applying for.
List a variety of generalized qualities without providing any supporting instances. Instead, it would be helpful if you choose two or three characteristics that best describe you. Each should include a couple of succinct, well-polished anecdotes that are substantiated by your previous job experience.
Memorize your answer. Even while it's a good idea to rehearse and remember your major points, you don't want to memorize your response word for word since it has the potential to seem robotic and artificial. Practice and memorization are both useful ideas.
Create a sentence-by-sentence summary of your resume. Instead, focus on the most important aspects that are associated with the role.
Do not jump too quickly into chats about what you are looking for in a career or how the firm may benefit you; instead, keep such issues for the latter stages of the interview process, when they are already sold on you as a candidate and you have more power.