Interview Question: “Tell Me About Yourself”

Interview as a phenomenon has existed in our world for a long time. Even in ancient China, events were held to assess whether a candidate was suitable for the position or not. The work of the official was very prestigious, and, accordingly, there were a lot of applicants for it. Therefore, a tool was needed to help find the right specialist.

The job interview becomes stressful for many people. However, a personal meeting and conversation with a potential employee in today’s world is a common situation. Interviewing with the employer is one of the forms of communication and the main method of evaluation and selection of candidates for employment. Your success or failure depends on both your professional qualities and how you prove yourself in the interview. It also depends not so much on the ability to find the right answers but on the ability to be an interesting interlocutor.

What Information Is Valuable For An Employer

The job interview consists of questions and answers. The employer asks those questions to which it is really important to get an answer. The following questions are most often asked, so are the most interesting for the interviewer:

  • Can you tell me about yourself?
  • Why do you want to join our team?
  • What advantages do you have over other applicants?
  • Can you list your basic weaknesses and strengths?
  • Will you be able to combine work with personal life?
  • What do you expect from your career in a few years?
  • What salary do you want to receive?

How to Get an Answer to the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question

Any interview begins with the employer’s acquaintance with the applicant. Therefore, the first question at the interview is a request to tell about yourself. It does not necessary to retell your whole life. Try to focus on your accomplishments and strengths. Speak briefly and enthusiastically. Smile and try not to use parasitic words.

How to Construct a Response

To construct a successful response to the question “Could you tell me about yourself?”, you can describe your positive features, in particular:

  • Sociability, openness in communication. The employer will appreciate your experience with speeches, the ability to participate in presentations, competently and effectively compile documents. It is important for him that you can communicate with customers and the staff of the organization, as well as be able to present the company to customers and partners, if necessary;
  • Initiative. The employer is looking for people who could bring fresh ideas to the company;
  • Responsibility. Have you personally held any events? What were you responsible for in your previous work (study)? It is important to talk about this during the interview;
  • Organizational skills;
  • Self-confidence;
  • Energetic nature. Will you be active at work, or will it be a passive task for you? Do you agree to work overtime, if necessary? Answer these questions when talking to your employer;
  • Flexibility. Indicate the ability to self-study, quickly navigate in the information environment, adapt to technological, informational, legal changes;
  • Overcoming conflict situations.

You should be careful when pointing out your strengths. After all, the same personal qualities of a person in one situation may be positive, in another – a disadvantage. Also, try not to list those qualities that are opposite or psychologically incompatible. 

Examples of the Best Answers

Consider below examples of the best responses to the question “What can you tell me about yourself?” You can take these as the basis for your answer.

Sample 1

Consider the below sample:

I am 29 years old, and I speak Finnish at the level of everyday communication. English is my native language. I graduated from the Faculty of Philology (French). I am attracted by the prospect of a career in the tourism business, an acquaintance with some aspects of which I arose through working as a translator during my student years.

Why it works: The person clearly indicates her knowledge of Finnish and English. The education received is also mentioned. The desire to work in the tourism sector is expressed. Such an answer is very valuable to the employer.

Sample 2

Here is one more sample:

I have worked as a customer service manager for 5 years. My responsibilities included a wide range of issues related to customer engagement, negotiation, and the further development of business relationships with clients. Thus, I have good experience and skills in communicating with clients. I am creative in solving all issues, easily finding contacts with people, quickly learning new technologies, and using them in practice.

Why it works: The person focuses the employer’s attention on his work experience, the ability to quickly find contact with people. Such employees are highly regarded today.

Recommendations for Creating the Best Response

If you want to give the most complete response, check out several useful expert tips below.

Transition to professional from personal

You don’t need to talk about your personal characteristics when answering questions about yourself. It is important to move from personal to professional. That is, it is necessary to present the information that is really interesting for the employer.

Share your expertise

There are no identical candidates for this or that position. That’s why everyone needs to show their own personality. Use all your strengths during the interview. If you have extensive experience, tell in detail about your professional skills and achievements. If you are a sociable person, bet on self-presentation. If you are a student of yesterday, focus on enthusiasm and a great desire to work and develop professionally.

Remember, your experience is unique. In your rich experience, there will probably be more than a dozen situations from which you came out with brilliance. That’s what you tell at the interview. Do not set a goal – to interest, to represent yourself more profitably. Just communicate to the employer about your achievements calmly, with dignity. Find bright episodes in your career when you managed to achieve good results. Tell about them without unnecessary details, highlighting the main thing, emphasizing your role in solving problems. The main thing is to really believe in your own significance and uniqueness. Then your words and gestures will gain the necessary weight.

Don’t overwhelm the interviewer with unnecessary information

Speaking off-topic, interrupting the interlocutor, and answering a simple question for 15 minutes – all this annoys the interviewer. Try to answer in essence, briefly, and with examples.

You should have a few questions about the company and positions. 3-4 reasonable questions that specify the range of responsibilities, tasks, plans, subordination, etc. This is enough for the first time. An interview is a dialogue, not an interrogation. Thus, do not bother the recruiter with questions about details.

Be honest

Lying and embellishing your skills is very tempting. But it doesn’t work. First, everything secret will become clear. Secondly, the probationary period, in any case, will show your true qualities. Not all tools are good here. Honesty is often the best solution.

What Not to Say

Some points are better not to talk about. Pay special attention to this.

Too little and too much information may be inappropriate

You can’t be silent or, on the contrary, talk too much about yourself without allowing inserting a word. Such situations do not attract the interlocutor. They indicate that the applicant does not have the skills of self-presentation. This can be forgiven to programmers who deal mainly with writing code but is a disadvantage for those whose work involves regular communication with people.

Do not raise controversial issues, including religious and political topics

It is important to remember that there are closed topics that are not worth talking about at the interview. In no case do not talk about the desire to emigrate, your religious and political views, etc. Everyone has their own opinion on these topics, and there may be disputes, which in turn can lead to a negative decision about employment.

Don`t tell a lot about your hobby so that the employer does not think that it is more important to you than work

If you like swimming, playing football or painting, you can mention it. But you should not focus on this special attention if the hobby is not directly related to the chosen job position. Otherwise, the employer may think that your hobby is more important to you than work.

Keep personal information about your family safe

You shouldn’t tell about your family’s personal information or personal problems. The employer is not interested in such information.

Don’t talk bad about your previous employer

The worst mistake is to criticize previous employers. Even if you didn’t have a good relationship with the employer and the team, you weren’t paid your salary on time, etc. – it is better not to remember this. 

Key Takeaways

When preparing to talk to your employer, remember that there are no random wins! First of all, find out for yourself what you expect from this interview with your employer, even if you already have a lot of experience looking for a job. Try to prepare in advance for each new interview. Practice shows that the most qualified specialists treat the interview more responsibly.