Whether this is your first job interview or your hundredth, I can guarantee there’s one question you’ll want to prepare to answer. And that’s the standard “Tell me about yourself” interview question. The good news is, you’re the expert on you! But it’s always a good idea to have a plan for how to answer any question related to “Tell me about yourself.” We’re going to walk through why hiring managers ask you to do this and how you can respond with confidence and clarity…and set yourself up for interview success.
Why Do Interviewers Say, “Tell Me About Yourself”?
“Tell me about yourself” is one of the most common job interview questions. But interviewers aren’t listening to your personal elevator pitch because they want to know where you were born, what you do in your free time, and what your Enneagram or Myers-Briggs results are. What they really want to learn is how you present yourself under pressure, if you’ll mesh with the company culture, and a little bit about your background and why you’re interested in this opportunity. Think of this as a chance to practice your sales pitch before the rest of the interview questions start rolling in. Answering “Tell me about yourself” well is your opportunity to make a lasting first impression and get the interview off to a good start.
Other Versions of the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question
When you’re preparing for an interview, keep in mind that interviewers might ask this question in different ways. But even if the question changes, they’re looking for the same information: Are you well spoken? How do your skills match up? Do you have a good understanding of the job? Here are a few ways an interviewer might ask you to share who you are and what you’re all about:
“Walk me through your resumé.”
“Why do you want to work here?”
“Tell me about your previous experience.”
“What’s your story?”
“What brings you here today?”
How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in an Interview
Okay, so you’re interviewing for a great job opportunity—or a role that’s one step closer to the career you’d like to have. Now, how do you prepare to answer this question? There are a few things I want you to keep in mind so you’re ready with the best possible answer. Not only will this impress the hiring manager, but it’ll ease any feelings of anxiety and set you up for confidence in the rest of the interview.
1. Keep your answer related to the job.
I know you’re proud of them, but now is not the time to gush over your pets or your son’s recent baseball tournament grand slam! You’ll have time to share your personal interests later in the interview. For now, keep your answer focused on your professional interests and what you appreciate about the company.