How To “Tell Me About Yourself”

NextJobPro February 05, 2022

How To “Tell Me About Yourself”

This article discusses how to “Tell me About Yourself” question. This question requires a great deal of mastery. This article explains how to talk about you in a way that works every time.

How to Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” Question in your 2022 Interview?

Congratulations! You made it to the next milestone: The interview. Let’s now discuss how you should answer the very first question: “Tell me about yourself. This question is crucial in determining whether you project a lasting image in the interviewer's mind or not. There are no second chances.

This question requires a great deal of mastery. I will explain in this article how to talk about you in a way that works every time.

This article answers:

  1. Why do companies ask this question
  2. What employers expect in your response
  3. A simple formula for answering this question
  4. Must-haves in your response
  5. Easy to tailor the ready format
  6. Sample Answers
  7. Things to Avoid
  8. Write Your Response And Practice
  9. How to Practice
  10. Key Takeaways – How To “Tell Me About Yourself”

Before we dive deeper into preparing your response, let’s first set the stage and learn more about the importance of this question. Why interviewers love to repeat this in every interview, and what you should and shouldn’t include in your response.

Interviewers often ask flexible questions during in-person or video interviews. The purpose is to elicit information about the applicant. There is a good chance that such questions will appear at each stage of the interview process.

You will encounter many vague questions such as this. These can be frustrating. Because they make it challenging to determine what the interviewer wants to know. Yet, the interviewer also listens to you and puts the ball in your court.

Interviewees tend to make certain mistakes. When one makes these mistakes, the interview is doomed. We will look at them as well.

You will find two sample answers at the end of the article. One of them uses the concept you will learn from reading this article. You can tailor the second answer to any interview you may have. It uses a template that you can customize for any interview.

Why Do Companies Ask This Question?

Someone has to break the ice at the beginning of the interview. It is the interviewers in this case. You put both of you at ease and your response creates the basis for further discussion. It allows your evaluator to hear a consolidated version of you.

The question also gives a glimpse of what you believe are the most relevant skills for the role in question.

Even though this question is a standard one, managers know that it still catches candidates off-guard or stumps them. In answering this question well, you can set the tone for the interview as someone comfortable in their skin, good at negotiating, and aware of the qualifications for the position.

Often, interviewers would approach this question as an opening question. They use your response to lead to a casual discussion to gain a deeper understanding of you. There are other cases in which the interviewer would move to other interview questions after your response.

Your employer's expectations

Making an interview answer, whether it is to a common question or not, is difficult. Establishing your course of action will be easier if you use examples of how to structure your response and how to respond.

There are hundreds of other candidates for the same position. But if you want this job, you should stand out. This is why you should come up with a story that is uniquely yours. This story should make you memorable even after the interview.

Depending on your skills and experience, you could be the perfect candidate for this job. But how you pitch them is important. Pay attention to the job narrative and identify how you met or exceeded the requirements.

You will gain an understanding of a business’s objectives, goals, and trends if you research the company. Do these goals align with your own personal or professional goals? How can you contribute to its success? You should strive to create a narrative that compares the company's vision with your professional goals and the trends.

What are your friends or colleagues saying about you? How would they describe your organizational skills? How entrepreneurial are you? Interested in learning more? How generous are you?

Ask yourself, what do others think of you as a professional, or is there any professional skill you have been developing lately? Now you know the answer. Finding such instances from your experience and relating them to the current role is all you need to do.

Because the panel interviewing you has heard the answers from other applicants, put your best foot forward. Tell them something about you that makes you memorable. In other words, intrigue their interest in your favor. For example, if you mention that you wrote your first software program at the age of 16. Interviewers will notice you now and this phrase will stick in their memory.

If you want to win the interviewer over for the question, "tell me about yourself," I recommend telling them as many things about you that are unique to you as possible.  Tell them why you are the best candidate for the position, and why you need it.

Before writing your selling points, trim the job description down to its essentials. Go ahead and scan job description in NextJobPro to find important keywords and phrases. Then use these keywords and phrases in your response. This will pitch the value you bring to the position. If you do this, you should have a deep understanding of what the hiring manager is currently looking for the skills and experience they expect from this candidate.

Next, prepare a brief script that highlights not only your post-relevant abilities but also your areas of strength and expertise. Your motivation for applying to this position makes more sense now. In your answer, emphasize career-related attributes such as your desire to gain more experience and to take on extra responsibility.

Don't let your last impression be any weaker than your first. It is imperative they know you did your homework and based on which you decided to join them.

So, How To Master “Tell Me About Yourself” Question

Answer this question convincingly. So your interviewer knows you are the man they have been seeking. You would risk failing the rest of the interview if you did anything less. In general, when practicing your answer, try to have no more than two minutes to tell a story about yourself. You might include the following:

Your Position-Related Past Experience Is Valuable

Read over the job description. Write down a list of mandatory skills.  After completing this exercise, match these skills with those you already have. Now, consider the existing levels and stories that support them. Don't leave out any piece of information that might enhance your candidacy. Incorporate any volunteer experience you have if you have one. Volunteering is an excellent way to prove that you have a social conscience.

Relate Current Position To Current Job

If it is a most senior position, be aware of expanding your responsibilities. In case of a lateral shift to a position requiring skills dissimilar to those you currently have, describe how your present skills relate to the new role.

Strengths And Skills – Your Secret Missile

Results are what land you the job. Prove how you've delivered results in the past. Even better, if you relate it with the current role. Nothing can be more convincing than speaking the language of numbers. Think of every fact and example you intend to include in your response in terms of numbers.

Emphasize Your Personality First

"Tell me about yourself" is one of those interview questions that is about establishing your identity. It gives your interviewer a good idea of your personality. Describe any activities that may show professional growth or community involvement. For example reading, music, volunteering, sports league, or other similar. Think of other activities that prove discipline and achievement. For example running a half marathon. As long as you remain professional, it is an opportunity to talk about your interests.

Formatting your answer

If you want your response to be strong, clear, and succinct, you will need to follow a specific format. Below is a list of common formulations:

  • Present, Past, Future
  • Past, Present, Future

It depends on what situation you are in whether you should use one or the other.

Must-haves in your response

You should make a good first impression. In an interview, an interviewer evaluates you within 30 seconds to two minutes on average. Use those seconds wisely. First impressions are difficult to shake.

  1. Briefly describe your role (e.g., Project Manager) and your level (e.g., entry-level or senior).
  2. Provide an approximate number of years of experience you have
  3. Describe your experience in specific industries or functions
  4. List your unique strengths (e.g. problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, etc.).
  5. Let them know what sort of job you're looking for

Easy To Tailor Ready Template

My background is in _____. I have _____ years of experience in the _____ industry, and my work has focused on _____. As a professional, I have taken on the following roles and functions: _____. I am most proud of _____. I am now seeking an opportunity _____.

Sample Answers

The following is an example of an answer to the question, "Tell me about yourself". Candidates may answer as follows:

Sample #1

My degree is in engineering, and I just graduated. For a long time, I have been interested in modern architecture. Several years ago, I started a social network account and shared some pictures and data about buildings in various parts of the world. Due to its popularity, I was offered an internship at XYZ Company, where I used a computerized computer-planning program to create blueprints for buildings. Now that I have finished my internship, I am seeking a full-time position here.

Sample #2

Sample answer based on ready template

My background is in EPC Engineering and project management. I have 12 years of experience in the oil & gas industry.

My work has focused primarily on coherent engineering design and delivery of projects within time and schedule. My specific roles and functions have included integrating all the engineering disciplines by identifying key design issues facilitating timely resolution.

I am most proud of developing multi-cultural and multi-national well-performing teams. I am now seeking an opportunity where I can contribute based on my experience and excel my career further.

Things to avoid

Be careful not to answer this question by talking about personal life. It does not also make sense to begin your life story with your hometown and continue through your university years.

Others share their experiences on the difficulties they face at their current job. For example: explaining that their boss is a micro-manager. Or they cannot work on a flexible schedule.

Do not let this opportunity go down the drain by giving such responses. The first two responses are indicators that you aren't serious about the position. Or you are demanding a discharge from the situation in which you are trapped. Trust me, the hiring manager catches such red flags.

Other job seekers summarize their resumes. You will lose this opportunity without realizing it. Because likely, the interviewers already read your resume before they invited you to this interview, so they do not expect you to tell them about it.

Write Your Response And Practice

As you already know, your answer to this question must already meet certain criteria. It's also very important that you keep in mind one more thing.

Assume you have outlined your perfect response and you are confident in your ability to deliver it during the interview. Because you will not be attending the interview within the next hour, your response is destined to fade from memory. As time passes, your answer will become fragmented.

To prevent this from happening, I recommend that outline of your response that you can easily access in the future. You can then access your saved response when you have a scheduled interview or are just practicing your response.

Another important thing to remember is to practice speaking your response. If you follow the above format, your answer is already smooth. However, if you are customizing it even further, the chances are that some parts of your response are slightly off. You have to smooth it out. Adverbs can be used to further illustrate the reasoning process.

Where to Save your Response:

You can create a list of the most repetitive interview questions in MS Excel and write your responses against them.

For those who already have a NextJobPro account, you have free access to save your responses here. We've designed this section so that you can write your answers to the frequently asked interview questions right inside the application. You can store your responses for as long as you like. If you desire, you can access and practice, change or delete, or do anything you desire. This is the most recommended way.

If you don’t have a NextJobPro account, you can signup for free now.

Key Takeaways - How To “Tell Me About Yourself” Question

I have touched all the aspects of how to “Tell me About Yourself” question. I have emphasized to express yourself concisely. It is best to respond to the question within a limited time: typically less than 2 minutes. Don't linger on details that aren't necessary during an interview. But rather mention some pertinent and noticeable facts to raise interest.

We have noted down that writing your response in your NextJobPro account and rehearsing it aloud is very important too.

Now when you are all set to rock your next interview, I wish you all the luck.