Tell me about yourself

‘Tell me about yourself’ is a question that’s probably the oldest but also perhaps the most recurring job interview question. It’s a question that’s not bound by the applicant’s age, experience or even job title. People often tend to repeat what the employer already knows from their resume. This is okay, but our tips will aim to turn a boring, cold answer to a more insightful and personal one. An answer that goes a notch deeper than your resume, and one that makes you unique!

Welcome to this piece on the Ideal answer to the question ‘Tell me about yourself’. Share your thoughts in the comment below and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more startup insights, advice, and tips.

The first thing you should know is that your answer must be brief (approximately 45 seconds long) and contextual. What you tell them about yourself must relate to your job or work ethic, because the employer is not really interested in your personal life.

You may begin answering the question with what sparked your interest in this profession. And then flow into telling them what you’ve enjoyed and where you see yourself headed.

Do mention what you have learned in your professional journey so far – and how it has strengthened you and/or your qualities. Sharing a personal experience will enhance your answer by allowing the interviewer to establish a connection with you.

Here is an example of how you could do this. Let’s suppose you’re applying for the job of an online pet accessories store. You could start by telling them how as a child you were always an animal lover and grew up with 2-3 family dogs that you developed a strong connection with. You could go further to How this love for animals fueled your professional journey and any insights that are unique to your approach to the task at hand.

  • Explore what they are looking for in their candidate before you apply. Look into what their expectations are from this role – experience, qualifications, technical skills, management qualities that may be required to fulfil the job role. Weave this in the fabric of your answer. Remember that the question needs you to tell them about yourself, and not why you are qualified for the job. The question suggests the answer to have a personal touch, so you must fulfil that requirement. You must also make the most of the short time you have to answer this question.
  • A common thing that people do is that they add a follow-up question to this – many think it makes you look smarter. It doesn’t. Please don’t add a follow-up question unless it comes naturally to you. This question is for you, so the answer has to also be entirely about you.
  • Body language is another essential mode of communication and that’s something you have to be aware of. You can notice and prepare your body language by delivering your answer in front of the mirror or by recording yourself. We recommend that you record yourself so you can identify the things you do subconsciously as well. People often tend to touch their face, fidget with a pen, shake their knee etc. Doing this will reflect nervousness and which will imply a lack of confidence in yourself – Especially if you do it while answering a question that just needs you to talk about yourself. If you are nervous, it’s okay. Don’t worry. Take a sip of water, use the restroom before the interview, and remember that this is not the end of the world! Every interview is a learning experience, and this question IS slightly tricky for all.
  • Keeping your arms uncrossed, relaxed on your armrest or the table will reflect that you are comfortable with answering this question, and are being honest about yourself.
  • This leads us to the next very important point. Try to maintain eye contact; but please don’t stare at the interviewer, or directly into space. You don’t want to creep the interviewer out and nor do you want to seem aloof.
  • If you want to share an accomplishment, add a number/statistic to be more convincing. You could elaborate your skillset in a list format as well.
  • End your answer by telling them why you are fit for this specific Reading the job description can help you with this part. If the job you’re applying for expects you to do night shifts, then address that and speak about how you work very well at night, and also have a personal vehicle so commuting will not be a problem at all.
  • It’s important for your answer to flow naturally and not seem memorized or artificial. Your tone of delivery can definitely help with this. Sound enthusiastic and real. It’s okay to be emotive and use hand gestures. Avoid adopting a drone and unenthused tone, it makes you sound boring. Avoid looking at the ceiling while you are trying to remember your points – according to body language experts, this indicates fabrication of facts. Definitely something you don’t want to convey to your interviewer.

We hope you feel more confident after reading this article! After you have carved out an answer to the question, Tell me about yourself, try and have some family members or friends listen to you. This will further enhance your confidence and give you more scope to polish your delivery style. Remember, facts tell but stories sell.

Good luck with the interview!

We hope you enjoyed this piece on Tell me about yourself | The most frequently asked question in job interviews, and look forward to you dropping a comment with your experience or thoughts as well.
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