Interview Preparation Tell Me About Yourself

Interview Preparation: “Tell Me About Yourself”


Tell me about yourself” is most often the first interview question asked by the interviewer. Primarily an icebreaker, this important question may make some candidates to blurt out the history of their lives. However, is this what prospective employers want to listen to? Read on.


“Tell me about yourself” is the most commonly asked interview question. Your answer to this question will effectively set the tone for the remainder of the interview. For some candidates, this question poses a significant challenge while they wonder the interviewer’s motive behind asking such a question and how to frame an excellent answer.


The question “tell me about yourself” can also be re-worded as “take me through your background.” Most job seekers hate this question. They hate it as they fail to decipher the true purpose of the question. However, there is no need to panic if you prepare well for this question. In fact, this question is an excellent opportunity to emphasize points that you want your prospective employer to hear.


Do not waste this opportunity by repeating points already mentioned in the CV. In addition, do not elaborate on your hobbies like dancing and travelling. Instead, come up with a concise, enthusiastic answer that efficiently summarises why you are apt for this job. What’s more, you can elaborate on your goals and accomplishments while answering the question “tell me about yourself.


Why is this Question asked and What is your Prospective Employer Trying to Judge?

To come up with an effective answer, you need to know the logic behind the question, “tell me about yourself.” For starters, it is an easy way for interviewers to begin the interview. The primary objective of this question is to gain a brief overview about you. This question is generally asked after some brief talk about the weather, traffic, and the level of difficulty in reaching the place of interview. Hence, the interviewer gets a first impression of you by asking, “tell me about yourself.” Besides, this question sets the right tone for the interview and lets you showcase your best selling points.


How to Nail It when it Comes to “Tell me about yourself”

An effective answer should address the following:


Different Answers to the Question “Tell Me About Yourself”

Your first sentence should serve as an introduction as to who you are at a professional level. It must be an overview that highlights your strengths and provides a brief insight into your personality. This is not easy; hence adequate practice is required to answer the question “tell me about yourself.” Do not make an assumption that the recruiter has perused your CV thoroughly and knows your expertise. Highlight some points that make you stand out from the rest. Conclude by telling the interview why you are so keen in taking up this job.


  1. “I am a professional HR Manager with eight years of work experience handling end-to-end HR functions from recruitment to training for Fortune 500 companies.”

Pro: The answer is a concise summary of your diverse background and is a perfect answer when you are asked the question “tell me about yourself.”


  1. “Well, I grew up in New Delhi. When I was a child, I wanted to be a cricketer; however, later developed a keen interest in chemistry, something that I excelled at. I achieved No. 1 spot in my 4th grade science fair. There is an intriguing story about that.”

Con: Too much info for a question such as “tell me about yourself.”


  1. “I have spent the past three years honing my skills as a customer service manager for “XYZ.” I was promoted twice and received numerous “best employee” awards. I excel at managing teams and solving customers’ problems.”

Pro: Proper emphasis is laid on work experience, performance, and levels of enthusiasm. Hence, include these details when asked the question “tell me about yourself.”


  1. “My first job was administrative assistant at XYZ in Mumbai, Maharashtra. I learned immensely during that role, which lasted for 12 years. At that point in time, I was unsure about my career path; therefore, I took up a position in the real estate industry. It only lasted for a brief stint of 6 months, but I enjoyed it.”

Con: No interviewer cares about your job that you had 12 years ago. You are beginning with the least-impressive part of your career, and the interviewer is going to lose interest before you get to the relevant stuff.


  1. “Although I thoroughly love my present role, I feel I am currently ready for more challenges, and this position truly excites me.”

Pro: Positive and concise answer to the question “tell me about yourself.”


  1. “Because my company was facing a financial crunch and my boss’s problems, I am concerned about job stability; therefore, I started to look for new opportunities.”

Con: Here, the candidate is too frank, leading to negative connotations. This answer also makes it appear that you are desperate for any job and not “this job” specifically.


Always remember that a good interview is a dialogue and not a monologue. Keep it brief, and give your interviewer the opportunity to throw challenging questions at you such as “tell me about yourself.” Moreover, you will have ample time later to walk through your CV in more detail. Do not try to squeeze in a lot of information, which will exhaust the attention span of your interviewer.


Therefore, now that you know how to approach interview questions, we can bet that you can breeze through when asked, “tell me about yourself.” Take some time off, sit down, and come up with an effective plan as to how to prepare for the next round of interview.


Besides good luck, we wish you all the best in cracking that challenging interview and securing that dream job that you have always desired.

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