How to Answer ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Interview Question (With Example Answers)
We have all had to answer this interview question “Tell-me-about-yourself” – at some point in our lives; if not, then chances are that you definitely will. Being prepared in advance will give you a competitive edge as a candidate, and it will also set the stage for a successful interview. According to Forbes “Tell Me About Yourself” is one of the most popular questions that employers ask. This is also one of the very common interview questions but for some, it is always a struggle to answer.
Why do employers ask “Tell me about yourself”?
When employers ask you “Tell me about yourself” or related questions, they do not want to hear about your resume or your LinkedIn profile. Instead, they are interested to learn about your professional journey and how your skills would be suited for the role. The aim of “Tell me about yourself” and related questions is to make you and the interviewer feel comfortable with each other. Usually when conversations start, they tend to be small talk and questions like these are the perfect icebreaker before transitioning into other interview questions.
This is not a trick question despite its simplicity and there are many ways to ask this question. Employers ask about you, but what they really want to know is; what can you do for me? And how will your two to three minute story benefit their company? The objective here for you as the candidate is to get to the next step. In this case, it could be a second interview and you could be asked this question again.
How to Answer “Tell me about yourself” in an Interview?
Your response to this question needs to be clear and brief and the format to use is: Past, Present, Future or Present, Past, Future. This formula was developed by Lily Zhang, Manager of Graduate Student Professional Development at the MIT Media Lab. She suggests you structure your answer in the following way :
Past: Focus on telling the employer how you got there along with relevant previous work experience.
Present: Describe what your current role is, and highlight your recent accomplishments.
Future: Discuss what you are looking to do next and why you are interested in this position and how that matches with the role and employer you are interviewing with.
The aim of this method is to correlate the past, present and future details, to the job position and the company you have applied for.
- Stick to professional details – Make sure to keep your response professional and avoid sharing personal details like age, marital status, children, etc.
- Share measurable metrics – Focus on strengths, details and outcomes that you can quantify. A good example of this would be “Increased customer response rate in each quarter by 10-20%”.
- Share about your passion projects – Briefly mention your interests, hobbies, community involvement and intellectual development.
- Read the interviewer’s expressions and tailor your response – Chances are you will be answering this question more than once. Tailor your response according to who is interviewing you based on their need and what they are looking for. For example, a recruiter might not be immersed in the hard skills compared to your potential manager or boss.
- Keep it short and concise – Keep in mind that this is often just the first question and there will be many more chances for you to elaborate on specific skills and achievements. Keep your answer within a minute without going into too much unnecessary detail.
‘Tell me about yourself’ Example Answers
Listed below are some sample answers to the question “Tell Me About Yourself”. They will further assist you in your interview preparation.
“At the moment, I am employed at Dine in Bistro as a waiter. I’ve been there for just over three years. My responsibilities include welcoming and seating customers, assessing wait times, fulfilling dine-in and takeout orders and taking orders or reservations on the phone.”
“Before being employed by Dine in Bistro, I worked in Sales/retail as a sales associate for two years. This job helped develop my customer service skills since I was constantly assisting customers in the store. This role also prepared me to work in a team environment.”
“Moving forward I am seeking to further develop my customer service and problem-solving skills as a waiter in a more formal restaurant environment. I am interested in your restaurant specifically as it has a high class setting, a great reputation for exceptional food and wine, as well as delivering first-class customer service to your customers while not being to stuffy”
“I started my career as a Patient Assistant since I was always drawn to the healthcare industry. I’ve always been passionate about working with people and helping them. My experience working with people in teams and managing patients led me to administration. Since then I’ve been working as a health administrator for the last two years.”
“Currently at Topaz Medical Centre I am responsible for setting and overseeing goals related to department budget and patient capacity. The previous year I worked with the IT department to implement a new online scheduling portal for patients. After the implementation, we were able to increase communication efficiency by 30% and bookings by 20%.”
“While I enjoyed my work, I want to further challenge myself. I am looking to bring the experience I’ve gained as well as my commitment to efficiency to the team at Metro Health Center. I believe that my experience and passion for efficacy will allow me to be a great asset to your team. “
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