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How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in an Interview

Imagine the situation when you’re hunting for your dream job. You’ve graduated from a prestigious college, were hard-working, and practiced as an intern for a little while, had some success in student’s scientific research or art projects, and have a good professional background. You became an experienced candidate.

As a consequence, you had enough material for your perfect resume. Moreover, you created a great job application with the help of the GetCoverLetter builder website. You got an invitation to the job interview and discussed some of the details you were interested in by phone. Thus, you felt quite confident and already imagined yourself being in the role of a promising employee at a new perfect workplace…

But at the meeting with the interviewer, the rose-tinted glasses break and the fairy unicorns stop flying around. The reason? The first question from them is “tell us about yourself!”

How do you understand what they want to hear as an answer? What do you highlight in your answer and what is better to skip? How do you not spoil the first impression about yourself? In this article, we teach you how to answer “tell me about yourself” in an interview.

How to Introduce Yourself in an Interview

It’s one of the most popular job interview questions. People often search for how to answer “tell me about yourself” in an interview because, as simple the question may seem, it is difficult to answer without previous preparation. 

The job interview expert Laura DeCarlo, in her contributor’s article for the Job-Hunt, calls the recruiter’s question “tell me something about yourself” very specifically – a “spider’s web.” You can easily fail during a job interview if you have no certain plan or are answering the questions out of the context of the dialogue.

Storytelling is the best way to answer “tell me about yourself”

Any job interview is in some way about playing certain roles and you should stick to an acceptable scenario. Before planning to visit a job interview, and your first personal conversation with your future employer, try an easy but effective storytelling exercise. It consists of several steps, and you’ll cope with it effortlessly using the following tips: 

  1. How would you describe yourself in a few words? Think about it. Start with one simple sentence.
  2. Increase the number of words up to three adjectives in each phrase.
  3. Widen the story about yourself up to ten sentences that describe you like a good job applicant.
  4. Put these facts in chronological order.

Keep in mind that during an interview you can speak to your recruiter on any topic if it is professionally presented and related to the position. It is acceptable to talk about your childhood, education, employment history, working background and professional qualifications if any of these can help you prove the reasons why you are here at the moment.

Thus, collect facts from your professional biography to create a solid well-structured little text that can logically explain your choice of the current vacant job position, as well as this particular company. Good and confident storytelling is the best way to answer “tell me about yourself” requests!

The Interview Question “Tell Me About Yourself” and Other Job Seekers’ Biggest Fears

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what stage of your career you’re at, the job interview is nerve-racking every single time. That can be really complicated even for those with a heart of oak. Though you should just accept the fact that you have to face this challenge with dignity to land a good job position in the end. 

There is a 99.9% chance that you will hear “tell me a little about yourself” at your job interview. This one is still traditionally included in the list of most popular job interview questions for many years and it seems that the tendency is not going to change. Moreover, as most hiring decisions are still made during the first minutes of the recruiting process, as human resources statistical data says, this answer should be perfect. 

If you are seeking your first job it can be easier to tell your story about your choice of profession and your way to the working position you are applying for. It can be so not only because your way is still short at the moment, but because you think more widely, without templates and cliches you might have after hundreds of interviews. On the other side, there is always a risk of falling into unprofessional conversation and incorrect behavior at your first meeting with prospective employers.

Guide on How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in an Interview with No Stress

Below are even more useful practical tips, recommended by professional job interview and career coaches, on how to perfectly answer the interview question “tell me about yourself” more effectively and impressively.

  • Customize your answer to the company. Your effective candidate’s story should always be tailored for your future professional role. Point out your hard and soft job skills that are relevant to the position. Study the official job description published by the company. Take the chance to be direct with what you are ready to deliver to the company’s workflow and to share your objective.
  • Try to keep your answers professional. It is quite normal and is actually a plus to be yourself, even at the interview. But it is extremely important to keep the balance between friendly conversation and professional discussion in a job interview. Avoid relating unnecessary information, for example, family, private, or hobby topics, if you are not asked about them and they are not related in any way to the job position you discuss.
  • Add some true emotions and passion to your monologue. Continuing on the previous advice, remember that hiring managers don’t really want to talk with robots. Don’t forget that you are a human first of all, and feel free to include some facts that can describe your personality and explain your true passion for your future working duties. “Tell me about yourself” best answers are those which are spoken from the heart!
  • Prepare unique answers. Wasting the hiring manager’s time is a bad idea that can lead to a low rating. There is no need to restate the facts from the resume when the recruiter can read it in the document. Don’t tell your entire life story here! Your answer should sound like a teaser that is able to grab the interviewer’s interest and allow them to ask some follow-up questions.
  • Don’t forget to practice before a job interview. You shouldn’t wait until you hear this question in a personal conversation to try to answer it. Saying some key phrases of your monologue out loud can make you feel more confident later when facing the job interviewer. Yes, speaking to yourself out loud is normal in this situation!
  • Stay on the positive wave. Any job interview is not only a set of questions and answers. A good live conversation involves some kind of non-verbal emotions and impressions exchange. No employer wants a depressive worker. Actually, there is no need to implement all your secrets of charm (you would better leave some for your private life). Nevertheless, you will never have a second chance to make the first impression!

In conclusion, answering the question “tell me something about yourself” well is probably one of the most effective things you can do during an interview. Hiring managers, as well as job interview coaches, consider this question to be the most important part of the first personal conversation between an employer and a job candidate. 

If you feel like you need even more advice on the topic, the Big Interview created an entire video lesson around this issue for its flagship project. Nonetheless, it is only your personal task to tell your own story when having a job interview. Every candidate is unique but not everyone is able to display his advantages. Become the applicant who can meet the highest requirements and get the job of your dream because you deserve it!

“Tell me about yourself” sample answer

My professional journey in the marketing industry started six years ago when I took part in the Global Candies internship program. After that, I became certain about my decision to choose this area for myself.
I had worked in various roles in project management and actually never had long career gaps. The recent job position I’d landed was a product manager in Snail Soft Development. It was an engineering-related project and I accrued useful experience.
Now I’m looking to expand my professional background across different industries. That’s why I’m so interested in joining your team.

About the author


Anthony Lamberson