Every interview begins with the same question:
On paper, the question appears simple. After all, we are always talking about ourselves.
But, when you think about it, it’s a really broad question.
Do you begin with your history? Do you read everything on your resume?
Or do you introduce yourself as a person rather than as a professional?
Concerned and unsure of how to respond?
Relax, you are not alone!
Most people are stumped by this question.
But there is some good news: there is a really simple method to answer the dreaded interview question.
Do you want to know how?
Let us take things one step at a time.
Article Road Map
- How to Respond to the Interview Question “Tell Me About Yourself”
- 1. Tailored
- 2. Based on Experience and Achievements
- 3. Structured
- “Tell Me About Yourself” – Correct Answers
- Here’s how it’s done correctly:
- Crucial Points to Consider When Answering the Question “Tell Me About Yourself”
- 1. Maintain a professional and concise tone.
- Tell Me About Yourself” – InCorrect Answers
- 2) Rehearse but do not memorize
- 3) Know Your Audience (or, better yet, know thy interviewer).
- 4) Keep W.A.P. in mind (Work, Academic, Personal)
- Examples of Tell Me About Yourself Responses
- Example of an Experienced Professional’s Response
- Example of a response for recent graduates
- Example of a university admissions response:
How to Respond to the Interview Question “Tell Me About Yourself”
To respond to the question more effectively, you must first understand why they asked it in the first place.
The interviewer isn’t interested in your life story or what you ate for supper last night.
Rather, the question is a means for them to ease into the interview and get a basic sense of who you are.
It serves as an introduction, and how you respond will assist the interviewer to determine what to ask next.
This is your chance to make a good first impression.
If you give a decent answer, the interviewer will assault you with more questions.
If you answer incorrectly, you will be branded as the “OK Candidate.”
So, what exactly is a “good answer?”
Actually, it’s not that complicated. A suitable response should be;
Are you looking for a career in accounting? The recruiter is unconcerned with your real estate agent job experience. Your response should be customized to the position for which you are seeking.
2. Based on Experience and Achievements
Your response should be quite precise. Don’t just say, “Hi, my name is Cleo, and I’m a sales manager.”
Background (what did you study? ), top achievements (how do you stand out from the other candidates? ), and interests (why are you seeking this job?) should all be included in your response.
Your response should be written in a clear, easy-to-follow style. We’d stay with the tried-and-true “Past-Present-Future” approach. That is, organize your response.
We’d stay with the tried-and-true “Past-Present-Future” approach. In other words, frame your response as follows:
what is your educational background, as well as relevant job experience? How did you come to this point?
At the moment, what is your current position? What do you do, and what are your greatest achievements?
What do you want to do in the future? What piques your interest in the position?
Keeping these suggestions in mind, below is an example of an excellent response to “tell me about yourself”:
“Tell Me About Yourself” – Correct Answers
So, my name is Mandi, and I’m 26 years old.
I’ve been a business analyst at Company X and Y for the past 5 years.
With a degree from University XY, I have some experience with data analysis. But it was my internship at Company Z that truly drew me into the profession.
I’ve observed that I’ve always been strong with statistics and data throughout my career.
For example, while working at Company X, I oversaw a project to migrate all operations data to a new data warehousing system in order to save expenses.
The new solution was a much better match for our company, resulting in yearly savings of up to 300,000 dollars.
In the future, I aim to broaden my experience across several sectors. I’m really interested in fintech, which is why I’m interested in your company.”
Here’s how it’s done correctly:
The response is personalized. Joe does not get off subject; instead, he discusses his expertise as a business analyst and his previous accomplishments in dealing with data.
The response is based on previous experiences and accomplishments. Joe discusses his job experience as a business analyst, as well as some of his most notable accomplishments.
The response is properly constructed – past, present, and future.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?
Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of how to respond to “tell me about yourself,” we’ll go over a few important ideas that will help you stand out even more.
So, let’s get started.
Crucial Points to Consider When Answering the Question “Tell Me About Yourself”
1. Maintain a professional and concise tone.
When responding, try to keep it to no more than 1-2 minutes.
No, the HR manager isn’t interested in your complete life narrative.
They don’t care where you went to kindergarten, how your first internship went, or what you studied in high school.
You should limit your key selling points to those that are relevant to the position.
Pro tip: If you notice the interviewer becoming preoccupied, it’s a good indication that it’s time to finish up.
This is how you WOULD NOT respond to this interview question.
Tell Me About Yourself” – InCorrect Answers
I’ve always been interested in technology.
But it all started when I was a youngster when I received my first computer at the age of nine.
I’ve always enjoyed tinkering with programming and learning new things. But it wasn’t until high school, when I took my first class on the topic, that I truly fell in love with it.
Since then, I’ve been studying more about it and have opted to major in IT at University X, where I discovered how to do so.
2) Rehearse but do not memorize
Almost every interview will include the phrase “tell me about yourself.”
So all you have to do now is rehearse your response!
Make a fake interview with a friend.
However, keep in mind that you should not remember your response. Sure, it may appear to be the safer option, but if you forget something during the interview, you may muddle your entire response.
Instead, prepare a basic outline of what you’ll say, remember the framework, then wing the remainder of the interview.
3) Know Your Audience (or, better yet, know thy interviewer).
It’s critical to remember who you’re speaking with.
Is it the human resources department? Are you a business manager? Who is the hiring manager? What about the CTO? CMO? CEO?
You may be asking why this is important.
The problem is that each of these folks is expecting a different response.
Assume you’re a software engineer being interviewed by a human resources manager. You’ve almost lost them if you start droning on and on about how much you enjoy coding in Assembly.
As you can see, the HR manager knows nothing about coding or assembly.
They are anticipating a more general response about you, your career, and your motivation for applying to the firm.
If you’re being interviewed by the CTO or the recruiting manager, on the other hand, you may nerd out all you want.
4) Keep W.A.P. in mind (Work, Academic, Personal)
Every effective response to “tell me about yourself” should include:
Work – This should account for around 80% of your total response. Here, emphasize your experience and accomplishments.
Academic – 10-15% of your response should be about your academic background (university, academic achievements, etc.).
Personal – The final 5-10% should be about you as a person while being relevant to the organization.
But keep in mind that the W.A.P. regulation isn’t set in stone.
If you’re a student, your whole response may be on your academic career and personal hobbies.
Read Also: Interview Questions About Work Pace
Examples of Tell Me About Yourself Responses
Do you need some motivation? Here are three examples of responses:
Professionals with extensive experience
College students and recent grads
Admissions to universities
Ready? To begin, consider the following:
Example of an Experienced Professional’s Response
Sure, I’d be delighted. I’ve been a tech-focused project manager for up to 8 years.
I graduated from University X with a degree in business administration and a minor in computer science, and I made the Dean’s List.
Following that, I began my career as an administrative assistant at Company X.
I worked there as a clerical assistant, assisting with interdepartmental communication, organizing schedules, and maintaining the digital file system.
After that, I spent around 6 years as a project manager for Company Y, which supplied cloud computing solutions.
There, I directly supervised 5+ software project teams and ensured that everything ran well in terms of business goals, deadlines, budget, and so on.
In my spare time, I like to read about artificial intelligence, technology, and robots. I figured I’d apply because you guys do all three.
Example of a response for recent graduates
My name is Jane Doe, I’m 22 years old, and I recently graduated with a B.A. in international business from University X.
During my time there, I studied a lot of theories in areas such as corporate communication, international economics, corporate governance, and others.
I was also a member of the student government and had a GPA of 3.6.
I’ve worked hard throughout my studies, and now I’m ready to put what I’ve learned into action.
While I have no real-world employment experience, I have had a lot of exposure to the corporate world.
Many of my classes required students to collaborate with real-world businesses to tackle real-world challenges.
Now, I’m hoping to use what I’ve learned in university and gain some practical job experience.
Example of a university admissions response:
I’m John, and I’m a senior at School XYZ.
This year, I was able to maintain a 3.7 GPA while working on a variety of academic assignments.
I created an ‘Ernest Hemingway Book Club,’ which currently has up to 15 active members. In addition.
I initiated a recycling program for the campus, through which we increased awareness and invited a guest lecturer from outside the university to talk on the issue.
I am a team player who is dependable since I have never missed a deadline. I’m also pleased with my capacity to maintain and conquer any obstacles that arise.
For example, I was struggling with trigonometry last year.
I recognized I needed to devote more time to the topic, so I met with an instructor outside of class and agreed to set up two more hours every day for it. I eventually received an A in the subject.
I intend to major in either English or Journalism at University X.
Because I enjoy reading and writing, I believe both programs will be fascinating and relevant to my interests.
Read Also: How To Design A Resume In Ms Word
To summarize, here are the most significant recommendations for responding to the question “tell me about yourself…”
Structure your response in a logical manner. Stick to the past-present-future structure, and you’ll be OK!
Keep it brief and relevant (1-2 minutes max). Nobody wants to hear about your entire life.
Mention any of your most notable accomplishments and relevant job experiences.
Given that this is merely the beginning of the interview, anticipate them to follow up and ask a slew of more questions.
So, if you want to be sure you’re well prepared for the interview, consult our comprehensive list of typical interview questions and answers.
Looking for additional help with your job search? More industry-leading career posts may be found on our blog!