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Tips to answer "Tell me about yourself" in the Job Interview

Updated: Dec 21, 2022


Tips to Answer "Tell Me About Yourself" in the Job Interview

In your job search, you finally get a chance to interview. "Tell me about yourself" is the most common of interview questions (and, you guessed it, the first question) in almost all job interviews.


The best way to answer this question is to briefly describe your work experience, especially your current position and duties, education, skills, and accomplishments.


If you have any awards or recognitions, be sure to mention them.


Be brief and to the point so that your interviewer can focus on what you are saying, get to know you better, and you can make the best first impression.


Remember that most hiring managers make their decision about an applicant within the first two minutes.


You should prepare a short and straightforward answer to this question so that you make a good impression on the interviewer, but do not sound too rehearsed.


The reason interviewers ask this question is not simply to "break the ice."


They are genuinely interested in what you can contribute to the company with your experience, education and skills.


It's best to phrase your answer in a way that makes clear your goals for the company and that you are the best fit for the job.


Many applicants do not answer this question in the way the interviewer expects.


It's important that you give a short, concise answer that gives the interviewer an overview of who you're and what you've to offer. You should study the job description and the company to tailor your answer to show that you've the exact skills, experience, and education that the recruiter is looking for.


However, there are also a few other things you should not say when answering this question.




Do not summarize your resume




You should not go through your resume line by line, detailing your past experience at each company you have worked for and your educational background.


The interviewer has already read your resume and likely has it in front of them.


It's important to show your skills and passion to impress the recruiter. Show your positive attitude and enthusiasm to create the impression that you're the best candidate for the job.


 

Further reading: How To Prepare Yourself for A Job Interview: Before Interview

 



Problems at your current company



You should not talk about the problems you are having with your current employer or supervisor, downgrade them, or even how leadership is treating you and other employees poorly.


Just focus on the future and what you can offer the company. Remember, "The future is bright" and believe in yourself that you're the best fit for the job.




Do not give too much information



The interviewer does not need your life story in addition to your hobbies or what you do in your spare time.


Limit yourself to relevant information that will help him get to know you better and understand why you are a good fit for the job.


As we mentioned earlier, it's important to study the job description in the posting. Tell your interviewer exactly what he/she wants to hear from an ideal candidate, as in the job description, not what you like to do in your spare time.




Do not sound rehearsed



It’s extremely important that you get prepared to answer this question according to the job description posted on the company website.


On the other hand, this is your chance to make a good first impression, so do not sound like you are reading off a script.


Take a deep breath and speak in a natural way, with a conversational tone and passion.




Do not mention any weaknesses



This is not the time to say anything negative about you.


Instead, focus on your

  • strengths,

  • accomplishments,

  • the numbers/data

  • your excellent performance reviews

  • your hard skills such as MS Office, softwares, technical skills, etc.

  • your soft skills such as collaboration, teamwork, etc.

  • you have created in your previous companies,

  • and, what you can do for the company.



Be specific




The interviewer wants to get to know you. So give him/her specific examples of your hard and soft skills, experience and what you have accomplished at the companies you have worked for so far.


Solid figures (data, numbers) such as "I was able to increase our sales by 30% annually for three years" are more likely to impress the interviewer.


 

Further reading: How to Write the Best Cover Letter That Will Get You the Job

 



Conclusion

It's the first question and you only have one chance to make a first impression.


The good thing is that this is the simplest, but perhaps the most important question you will be asked in an interview. Consider this question like an elevator pitch. Be as concise as possible.


The hiring manager is trying to understand what skills you have and what you can bring to the company.


Even if it is the easiest question, you should answer it correctly because if you do not, the interviewer may already classify you as uninteresting.


Even if you perform better in the rest of the interview, you would significantly reduce your chances.


Show enthusiasm and passion for the job and what you can bring to the company by explaining your educational background, experience, and most importantly, your accomplishments.


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