How To Answer ‘Tell Me About Yourself’

'‘Tell me about yourself’ is a common question employers use to start job interviews. Answered well, this is a prime opportunity to impress them, set the tone for the entire interview, and sell yourself for the job. Answered badly and you’ve wasted the opportunity and possibly even caused them to doubt that you are the person they’re looking for. RELATED: Tackling The ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Interview Question


How NOT To Answer ‘Tell Me About Yourself’

Don’t answer this with a personal or social answer. This isn’t an icebreaker to get you comfortable before you talk to them about the job. You are being evaluated by everyone who sees you from the second you walk in and greet the receptionist. So, don’t say anything about your hobbies, your kids, or even how much you want this job.

The Best Way To Answer ‘Tell Me About Yourself’

Every job interview question is an opportunity to give them another reason to hire you. This question is your chance to prime the pump and set yourself apart as a great candidate. What you say here will influence the way they think about you as a candidate and will cement their mental image of you that will last through the rest of your conversation and long after you leave. What this question really means is, ‘Tell me something that will matter to me as I consider you for this job.' You should have an answer to this question ready to go before you set foot in the interview. Think about the job, the job description, and the company (good research is key here) and put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes: If you were hiring someone for this role, what would catch your attention? What would be important for you to hear in order to make the decision to hire? Be careful when answering this question not to rattle off a laundry list of your accomplishments. They have seen your resume, read your cover letter and now they want to hear you connect the dots. It is up to you to bring up the points you find to be most significant and relevant to them and sell them to the interviewer.

Start With Your Education

Mention your degree, or the classes you’ve taken that give you the credentials for this job. If you are a recent graduate, mention your GPA if it was high (otherwise, don’t mention it at all).

Talk About Your Work Background

Briefly hit the most impressive highlights from your career...promotions, awards, recognitions, or key accomplishments. Remember to keep this interviewer’s perspective in mind. What are they likely to be interested in or impressed by? What would be on their list of reasons to hire you?

Keep It Brief

Your answer doesn’t need to be longer than a minute or so. Think of it like an elevator pitch, but a little longer, more in-depth, and completely tailored for this job. Your biggest goal is to deliver a very targeted message that says to that hiring manager: “I am skilled, I have accomplished some great things, and I can bring that to work here for you.” This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

How To Manage Without Being Mean (Is It Possible To Not Be Pushy?) 5 Things To Consider Before You Take That Management Job #1 Key To Becoming An Effective Leader

About the author

Career Coach - Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

When most people think of Nike, they think of shoes, retail stores, and, of course, athletes. That's all true, but there's more. Behind Nike's walls, you'll find the doers and thinkers who design, create, and innovate every day. There are also data scientists who discover and leverage athlete insights to create the future of sport.

You might be surprised to learn about the impact you can have in Data & Analytics at Nike versus at a major tech giant. Nike employees get to work on a wide array of challenges, so if you're obsessed with math, science, computers, and/or data, and you love sport, these stories may inspire you to work at Nike.

SHOW MORE Show less

Employee loyalty is something every company longs for. It's estimated employee turnover costs as much as 130-200% of an employee's salary. When a talented, knowledgeable, trained employee leaves, it's bad for business. And, when lots of them leave, it can be the kiss of death.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less

All work and no play can create a tense and unwelcoming environment. Studies have shown that employers that offer additional perks have employees that are happier and more loyal to their place of employment. If you are looking for an employer that acknowledges how important it is to give its employees a place to de-stress and bond with their co-workers, check out these companies!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if you worked for an owner who micro-manages you my watching you work on camera and reading through your company emails.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less