Answer This Job Interview Question: Tell Me About Yourself

By | April 25, 2016

This question may come disguised as, “What should I know about you?” or they might say, “What would you like me to know about you.”

Like the “Why should we hire you? question, this is an opportunity to market yourself, presenting yourself as the solution (right candidate) for their problem (a job to fill).

Then, in the intervew, you tell them the things that emphasize how your accomplishments and experience make you an ideal candidate for the job you are seeking.


Answering the Real Question

You probably find yourself wondering, “What is it they really want to know?” Excellent thought!

That thought is, luckily, your ticket to understanding the question — putting yourself in the shoes of the interviewer to imagine what they would want to (need to) know about you.

What you don’t tell them.

I call this question a “spider web” because if you simply tell someone about yourself without planning or context to the target job you are there to interview for, you could blow the opportunity.

Prepare in advance with your answer to this question. Without answering carefully, you could share all kinds of information that leaves them with the impression that you are:

  • Over-qualified or under-qualified
  • Ditzy or disorganized
  • Inarticulate and a bad communicator
  • Someone who doesn’t understand the opportunity or the employer
  • Or simply a risk for the company

Most people talk about what they know, ramble even, about where they live, kids, likes/dislikes, but, remember, THIS IS A JOB INTERVIEW, not a chat.

[Related: 30 pathetic answers to job interview questions ]

For the employer, the sole purpose of this interview is to see if you are a fit for them and a fit for this job!

Therefore, your goal is to avoid answers that give away personal information about yourself. An employer isn’t going to select you to hire because you have such cute children, a wonderful husband or wife, or interesting hobbies.

Perhaps, ask for clarification.

To ensure that you provide the information they want, you might wish to start your response with a question of your own, like this —

“I would be glad to. Could you give me an idea of the type of information you would like to know?”

By starting this way, you can direct your answer better and be more conversational.

Or, you could share the information you have prepared and then ask —

“Is there anything else you would like to know?”

What else should you do to prepare?

Before you ever go to an interview, you need to KNOW YOURSELF in terms of qualifications for the job and match for the company.

To know this you should:

  1. Research the company;
  2. Identify, catalog, list, and review your expertise, strengths, and unique value; and
  3. Practice, practice, practice so you sound natural and confident.

Then, you will be ready to put yourself in the employer’s shoes and emphasize what will make you stand out for the company and for the job.

For example, someone seeking a management position with a local branch of a transportation company might say:

“I was born and raised in this county and have an excellent knowledge of the area as well as Central and XYZ counties. During the last 9 years with the ABC Freight Company, I have progressed through positions of Package Loader, Courier, Dispatcher, and Team Lead.

“In my most recent position, I have had the opportunity to complete numerous management training programs, provide supervision and leadership to all positions within the station, and participate in special projects in conjunction with Senior and District Managers. I enjoy being a Lead and the opportunity to empower and motivate my team. Last year I was awarded ‘Lead I’ for greatest team gains in productivity.

“I believe this experience and training has prepared me to take the next step and pursue a management position with you.”

As you can see from this sample answer, this individual emphasizes the tangibles that qualify him for the job. He describes his knowledge of the local area, long-term tenure with the employer, and recognition for management results within the industry.

He does not focus on fluffy stuff or personal information, but paints a picture of why he is a perfect candidate for this employer and this job.

Yes, this person prepared and practiced his response in advance. Smart move!

Bottom Line

With advanced planning and practice, you can know your target employer and how to sell yourself for the job. “Tell me about yourself” then becomes a positive and fun exercise in demonstrating your value and getting one step closer to winning that great new job!

[Related: 30 pathetic answers to job interview questions ]

  • Good.

  • gondai

    its helpful thanx

  • Lyonga Fritz Elio

    As a present job seeker I find the interview questions and sample answers very inspiring and it has given me a different thinking, perspective towards answering interview questions and I think I will do much better in my next. Thanks

  • Najim

    Very Interesting