How To Respond When An Interview Says "Tell Me About Yourself"

How To Respond When An Interview Says "Tell Me About Yourself"

Do you know what to say when an interviewer asks you to talk about yourself? Out of all the things a hiring manager can ask you to do, talking about yourself is one of the most challenging. It’s a broad question and difficult to answer. Find out how you should respond when someone asks you to talk about yourself.

Why They Ask the Question

Interviewers commonly start off interviews by saying one of the following sentences:

Tell me a little about yourself

What can you tell me about yourself

Can you tell me more about yourself?

First, you should understand why an employer asks this question. Although some interview questions are highly specific, there are others that are general. This question is general for a reason - the employer wants you to set the tone for the interview. When you answer the question, you should explain how your experience relates to the job.

The employer doesn't want you to discuss your hobbies or family. In fact, giving too many personal details to an interviewer could give them a reason not to hire you. The employer wants to know what makes you right for the position, and this is your chance to show them that. Essentially, your answer to this question is like the cover letter to your resume. It should pull in the interviewer and make them eager to learn more.

How It Compares to "Introduce Yourself"

Sometimes, hiring managers ask you to introduce yourself. This is slightly different than them asking you to talk about yourself. When an employer asks you to introduce yourself, they want a very short answer. They want to know who you are and what key strengths you possess. Meanwhile, talking about yourself should be a little more lengthy. In your description, you should discuss your academic history, your skills, and more.

As a general rule, you should use an acronym to answer the, “So, tell me about yourself.” Just remember to take a SEAT. The “S” stands for skills that match the job listing and description. Then, the “E” stands for your experience and educational qualifications. “A” represents your achievements, and “T” stands for the talent you have. For all of the descriptions, include an explanation of how it ties into the job.

If you only need to introduce yourself, you can use another acronym. BEAT the question by first discussing your three best qualities. Then, discuss your educational background along with your activities and interests outside of the workplace. Finally, the “T” stands for talent.

Guidelines for Answering the Question

In either case, you should follow a few tips to fine-tune your answer. Here are some tips that can help you give the best answer during the interview:

Plan Ahead

You should always prepare for this question before an interview. When you think about how to answer the question, make notes. Start off by thinking about three to five experiences that relate to the job. Then, quantify those experiences by either time, money, or people. Make a separate list of five different strengths that relate to the job. Both lists should tie into the message you want to send to the hiring manager - the message that you’re the best person for the position.

Make a Script

Next, write out a script. During the interview, you shouldn’t read from the script. However, you can have it in front of you on the day of the interview and refer to it if necessary. You can also use the script to practice for the interview.

Here’s an example script:

Hi, my name is Bob. My best qualities are my hard-working nature, loyalty to coworkers, and my ability to learn quickly. In 2010, I graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. After working for Apple for ten years, I started on my new career path. I like exercising every day because it helps me focus at work, and it keeps me energized. In my free time, I like to feed the homeless at the local shelter. The opportunity has improved my teamwork and given me a unique perspective.

Of course, you need to tailor your script to you and your audience. Keep it relevant and don’t make your answer too lengthy.

Practice Your Answer

If you’re going to be performing in a play, you will probably spend weeks reading and memorizing your lines. Your preparation for the interview should be the same. Every day, spend a few minutes reading over your answer. With that said, you don’t want to sound like a robot. Your answer should sound natural and unforced. And it’s OK to go off-script, as long as you don’t say something wrong or ramble.

Be Confident

As with everything in life, confidence is key. If you want to impress your hiring manager, you need to be confident in your response. Practicing and preparing is a great way to boost your confidence, but there are other things you can do as well. For instance, you could find a power pose and use it during the interview. You can also dress in an outfit that leaves you feeling great and remind yourself of what makes you special.

Prepare for Other Questions

This isn’t the only question you need to answer during an interview. Although this might be the first question you encounter, it’s not the only one nor is it the most important one. All of the questions matter, and you should spend time preparing for all of them. Find a list of common and uncommon interview questions, and follow some of the tips above to prepare.

At the end of the interview, all that matters is that you show the hiring manager you’re the ideal candidate for the position. The hiring manager will consider the way in which you answered every question, so don’t stress over one mistake. Rather, do everything you can to prepare for the interview and have confidence in yourself.

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