What is the right (and wrong) way to answer this common interview question? It’s likely one of the first an interviewer will ask, as it helps to get the interview started and break the ice. They may begin by telling you a bit about the company and the position, and then launching into it… “So, tell me about yourself.” What is the best way to answer this popular interview question?
How to answer, “Tell me about yourself.”
Of course, you know all about yourself and may feel overly prepared to answer this question. But an interviewer isn’t looking for your life history. He or she is looking for you to talk about the following points:
- Your current role, possibly including a recent accomplishment
- A bit about your past and what lead you to your current role
- What you’re looking for in the future of your career
If you use this format to build your answer, you can’t go wrong. Bonus points if you do research on the company and position and tie your experience into what they’re looking for. After all, an interviewer wants to know how well-suited you are for the job, and it makes their job easier if you simply tell them.
It may be tempting to start talking about your hobbies and pastimes, but an interviewer is really looking for details about your career. The only time it’s OK to talk about hobbies is in a round-robin situation where the interviewer (or interviewers, if you’re being interviewed by more than one person) started and included those sorts of details. Mirroring can be important to help make a connection during an interview.
While you’re talking about your career history and future goals, it’s fine to explain why you love your field and your work. Details about what leads you to make career choices can help an interviewer understand if you’re right for the job. Just keep any stories brief and to the point.
Don’t repeat your resume
They’re already read it, so no need for a repeat. Describe your past, present and future in your own words, with details not found in your resume.
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