Common Interview Question: Tell Me About Yourself
January 9, 2013 10:14:00 PM

When preparing for an interview, keep in mind that interviewers have probably asked the same questions, and heard the same answers, many times from job seekers. That being said, make sure that during your interview, you can describe yourself and your qualifications in a refreshing way.

One way to prepare for an interview is to write out a list of potential questions that you think the interviewer may ask you, and come up the answers. This way, when asked questions during a job interview, you won’t feel “put on the spot” to come up with the “perfect” answer.

While a potential employer may ask you a question or two that you’re not completly prepared for, some questions are common to ask, including: “Tell me about yourself.” 

What’s the true purpose?

This may seem like a broad interview question, but the interviewer is looking for a specific, direct response. He or she is giving you the opportunity to show the link between your skills and the job requirements. The interviewer already believes you are qualified because you received the opportunity for this interview. Now, it’s time to explain what makes you a perfect fit for the job and what makes you stand out against the competition.

1) Connect the Link

Use this time to highlight events, awards, and qualities pertaining to your career that have prepared you to excel in this position. A short story can be an easy way to start. Remember, you don’t need to review everything you have done in the past 10 years. Just make sure that you use your experience and knowledge to assert yourself as a promising candidate for employment.

2) Be memorable and personable

Often, interviewers may meet with more than just one applicant in a short period of time, so being memorable is essential. Establishing a connection is a great way to ensure the employer remembers you. When you are talking about yourself make sure you focus on what the interviewer believes is important. If he or she has stressed company culture or teamwork, show how you will strengthen this in the company. If you are unable to pinpoint something that the employer values, make sure you are creative. Most importantly, be honest!

3) Be concise

Open-ended questions can be difficult, because it is hard to gauge the level of depth the interviewer is searching for within your responses. Rambling is a turn off to an employer, so make sure that you have prepared enough to keep your explanation short, direct, and interesting. Time is valuable in the workplace. Don’t feel rushed, but keeping responses less than 2 minutes is ideal.

Understanding why an interviewer asks a question can help you better prepare your answer. With the purpose in mind, take these 3 tips and confidently answer the “tell me about yourself” prompt in your next interview.


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