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How to Answer "Tell me about Yourself"

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

“Tell me about yourself.”

This is one question you can be sure to find in most interviews. It is also quite unfortunate that many job seekers find it hard to answer. Most of us just treat it like an icebreaker but in real sense, it is not. How you answer this question will either show that you are qualified for the job or not. It is important that you get it right. This question is designed is to assess your fitness for the job and also to judge how articulate you are. This is your chance to make a good first impression.

As a job seeker, your answer will give you a great opportunity to spotlight the skills and experience that make you the ideal candidate for the job. In addition, because it is the question most hiring managers lead with, it can help you to get the job interview off on the right foot. Here are a few tips to help you nail your response:

What not to say

  1. Personal life details: Many job candidates make the mistake of answering this question with talk of something personal — their family, kids or hobbies. Some even launch into their life story, starting with their hometown and continuing through their college graduation.

  2. Problems in your current job. Others tend to explain the challenges and problems they are facing in their current roles, how annoying the boss is e.t.c. This is a major red flag - an indication that you’re not that serious about the position or simply trying to escape a bad situation at your current job.

  3. A summary of your resume: some job seekers simply summarize their resume, going point-by-point through their work experience and education history. This should not suffice. The interviewer read your resume before inviting you in for the interview, and they don’t need you to walk them through it. They’d rather hear you highlight what makes you an ideal fit for the job.

Construct an impressionable answer

Great answers sufficiently and clearly explain how qualified you are for the particular job and why you want the job in the first place. It, therefore, goes without saying that you need to spend some time reviewing the job description and researching the hiring company. That way you will have a good understanding of what the hiring manager is looking for as far as qualifications, experience and fit for the workplace culture.

Next, prepare a short script that highlights the skills, strengths, and expertise you have that make you especially qualified for the position. Follow that with the reasons you are applying for the job, focusing on career-related motivations such as the desire to build your experience and take on added responsibilities. Conclude with a short statement explaining why working for this specific company appeals to you.

A strong sample answer

Here is an example of an excellent response to “Tell me about yourself” for a job seeker applying for a senior administrative assistant position with a clean-energy company:

“I’ve been working as an administrative assistant for three years. At my current job in the finance department of a midsize company, I handle scheduling, meeting and travel planning for 4 executives and 20 staff members. I also help prepare correspondence, presentations, and reports.

“I’m known for being a detail-oriented, well-organized team player. I never miss deadlines, I am a good communicator and I can juggle multiple tasks at once. In my performance reviews, my supervisor always notes that he appreciates my professionalism and enthusiasm for the job.

“With this experience under my belt, I’m looking for an opportunity to take the next step in my career. I’m hoping to do so in an organization like yours that works to improve the environment, which is something I’m passionate about.”

Final take

No matter how you answer this question, do not take up too much time with your response. You do not have to tell the hiring manager everything that makes you a great fit for the position. Just give a few important details that will spark their interest in learning more and you will get the interview off to a great start.

Author: Ben-Bella Kambarage|Digital Marketing

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