How should you answer the “tell me about yourself” question?

How should you answer the “tell me about yourself” question?

Choose your future, wisely

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Do you have a job interview coming up? The best way to get ready for an interview is to take the time to review the most common interview questions, and be prepared for anything. An unavoidable moment of a job interview is when they ask you: “so, tell us more about yourself” always comes. It is a critical moment, but inevitable.
When a recruiter asks you this question, he or she is not wondering how are you in your personal life, but how are you in your professional life. It’s a way to break the ice, make you feel more comfortable during the interview process and get insight into your personality to help determine if you’re the candidate they are looking for.
And every answer may sound ordinary and common in your head, and may look trivial when it comes out of your mouth. It is understandable, because you want to be unforgettable, make an impression, wow people and make them say:”this is the talent we were looking for”. So, how should you behave? What is the smartest way to reply to this kind of questions? What, exactly, should you share with your potential new boss?

Here we gathered some ideas to keep in mind before your job interview:

When they ask you: tell us more about yourself:

  • Remember this is not a request for you entire biography, the story of your life, or an occasion to quote your cv. Sharing too much (or, on the other side, too little) information isn’t a good idea. The interviewer doesn’t want to know everything about you (and disclosing too little can make him or her wonder why you aren’t more open).
  • Do not ask: “well, what do you want to know?”. Terrible mistake. You may show you are not prepared for  unstructured questions, and that you are too stiff and rigid to go off the path.
  • Start with the Present-Past-Future formula. Say first where are you right now and your present state. Then, mention your former experiences and the things you learned from them. And, finally, say how you see yourself in the future and why are you so excited about this career opportunity. It’s not enough to talk about yourself and your own interest in the position, you’ll want to make sure your pitch explains why you want to work for this company.
  • You answer must be an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short summary (concise enough to be delivered during a short elevator ride) that answers the question: “Why should I invest in you?”. And your answer you must be no longer than 60-90 seconds. What must come out is why you are qualified and why you applied.
  • Be prepared. Do not be surprised when they ask you to tell more about yourself. Give your pitch the thought and time it deserves. Think ahead about your greatest professional achievements, and tailor your accomplishments to the needs of the company.
  • Practice with your mental script until you feel confident about what you want to emphasize in your pitch, it should help you stay on track, but you shouldn’t memorize it:you don’t want to sound stiff and rehearsed. It should sound natural and conversational.
  • Be yourself, be genuine, say stories that are not on your cv, and anecdotes about your working life.
  • Notice also the keywords written in the job description and use them back again.
  • Avoid controversial topics like politics or religion.

And, last but not least, remember the most important thing: it is not about you, it is about them. You need to customize a bit your response to the needs of the company.
Show that you understood the company values, and if you focus on them, well.. you did it right. The question “tell us more about yourself” is an opportunity for you to shine, and to prove your best self. Use it properly, use it wisely.


2 Replies to “How should you answer the “tell me about yourself” question?”

  1. Great Post!
    I think starting with the present and tell why you are well qualified for the position. So, before you answer this or any question it’s imperative that you try to uncover your interviewer’s greatest need, want, problem or goal. You have shared here great advice and the way to answer this question perfectly, thanks a lot for sharing!

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