“Tell me about yourself” is one of the most common questions at an interview… but also one of the hardest to answer. It is so open-ended that knowing where to start may be difficult. Should you talk about your family? Your work? Your hobbies?
In this post, we break down how to answer this question and what a recruiter is looking for.
Why does an interviewer ask this question?
To get to know you! They want to know how articulate you are, what your personality is , and how you think about things. They are also looking for insights that will help them ask follow on questions about you...
And it’s a great icebreaker!
So how do I answer this question?
There are 3 main parts to this question. Your past, present, and your future aspirations.
1) Talk about your past and important decisions that brought you to where you are today.
2) Give them a high-level view of what you are currently working on and why you’re looking for a new job or looking to work with this company.
3) What are you expecting in the future? What are your aspirations and what would you like to achieve? Tell them about your love or passion for the company or role as well.
4) Bonus: Make it a bit fun for the interviewer – tell them something about your likes, hobbies, or interests... or a fun fact about yourself. They definitely enjoy speaking to candidates with some personality! PS: I talk about my love for gardening and hot sauces!
Remember that your end goal should be to explain how you have arrived at this point in your life looking for this job at this company. Your goal is not to convince them immediately that you are the right candidate for the job; that is what the rest of the interview is for!
How can I prepare to answer this question?
1) Write down bullet points
to help you respond to this question a few days prior to your interview. Doing this prior to an interview will help calm your nerves and give you points to refer to if you ever lose your train of thought.
2) Practice answering this question within 1-1.5 min.
Recruiters do not want to hear a 5 min monologue and would prefer a concise and clearly-explained summary. A strong introduction signals that you may be able to perform well in other aspects of the job, so make sure to start off on the right foot!
3) Practice answering this question with a peer or senior.
It can be helpful to get feedback on what you are doing well and what you could improve upon prior to your real interviews, and speaking to another person will help you build confidence as well.
Good luck with your applications and interviews! Stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts on interviews, and feel free to send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org in the meantime.