3 Ways to Answer, “Tell me about yourself?” – Interview Questions

Remember the time when you went in the interview room slightly nervous, but greeted your interviewer with a big smile and a firm handshake.

You notice your resume laying in front of your interviewer and you proceed to the chair across the interviewer, slowly you try to make yourself comfortable.

The room is quiet.

Eyes looking at you and she asked a very curious question,

“Tell me about yourself?”

Does this sounds familiar? Maybe not with a big smile but a nervous smile.

But I get it.

It is nerve-racking and the question she asked is very puzzling.

“Tell me about yourself” is one of the first question to be asked by any interviewer during an interview.

Many candidates are usually lost when asked this question. Because they don’t understand what exactly do the interviewer wants.

Well… the resume is right in front of the interviewer, and you have put your life story into it.

What exactly does the interviewer wants to know more about you?

On contradictory of what most want to believe that interviewer wants to make your life difficult. This is an opportunity that your interviewer is giving you to set the tone of your job interview.

This is your chance to tell your interviewer about the things that your want them to ask, what are the key points you want your potential employer to know.

Here we will look into the mind of the interviewer and see what are they actually asking and how should you answer the question like a pro.

Let’s Dive In!

3 Ways to Answer 'Tell Me About Yourself'

1. Showcase Your Experience

Using experience as a way to answer the question, “Tell me about yourself” can be a good way to differentiate yourself. Every candidate have experience unique to them and this can play a huge role in differentiating you from the rest of the candidates.

Here you should include:

  • Mention the experience related to the current position you are applying for
  • Highlights some of the proudest moment in your previous company, experience that your employer will be looking for.

Good Example

“I really enjoy my 8 years of career as a web designer. I have been working as lead designer at ‘Studio 123 Designs’ for the past four years.

During my time with the company, I was in charge of ten web designers who delivered over 150 high profile projects per year.

Previously, I worked at ‘Studio ABC Designs’ for four years, where I perform custom web designs to major clients such as ABC Company and XYZ Company. It have been a great learning experience, but I am ready to pursue my career at one of the fastest growing design company such as ‘Fast Studio Design’. That is why I am very excited for this position.”

Bad Example

“I have always been really interested in designing. That is the reason for the past eight years now I have been a designer.

But my passion for designing started long ago when I am still very young in my school days. I love to draw and design my own shirt. It was until I move to Texas that I started in a design job.

I really like design and I can’t think of anything other than doing design work.”

2. Use Achievements

Achievements in most cases speak louder than words. When most of the candidates have a certain level of experience, it can be hard to differentiated yourself. But having achievements, you make yourself stand out from the crowd.

And this gives you an huge advantage even over all other candidates who may even have more experience than you.

Because having achievements tells that you are exceptional in your work. And employers want people who are exceptional in their team.

Here you should include:

  • What is your best achievement from your previous job.
  • What is the best record from your previous job.

Good Example

“I really love to provide our clients with solutions that most suit their needs.

Previously, I have lead a team of 10 sales professionals at XYZ Company for two years. Our proudest moment was to be able to be awarded the 100 Most Valued SME Company Award. Not long after I was given the opportunity to work as an sales consultant at ABC Company.

With my experience as an sales professional, I have help the company to increase 52% sales revenue in one years by making some changes to our sales process.

It have been an enjoyable ride, but I am looking for more challenges with greater opportunity in a high-performing consulting firm such as [Insert Company Name].”

Bad Example

“I have always been really interested in sales. I guess for the past eight years now I have been in sales profession, but my passion for sales started long ago when I am still very young during my kids days.

I love to search for cheap items and resale it back to my friends. I made my first penny when I am just 10 years old. It was until I move to Osaka that I started in my first official sales job.

I really like sales and I can’t think of anything other than doing sales work.”

3. Know Your Job Role

There is a saying, “Preparations makes everything easier.” This same goes on how you should answer the, “Tell me about yourself” question.

You have to know and understand what is the job role before you apply to the job. If you started your introduction which is totally out of topic, probably the interviewer will think twice about hiring you.

Here you should include:

  • Understand the job role which is usually written in the Job Description (JD)
  • Understand what are the skills that the role required
  • Understand what are the things that the employer want to know when they are hiring for this job role

Jobs Description Example

Medical Receptionist

One of the biggest clinic in the U.S. seek medical receptionist. The right applicant will have the ability to handle hundreds of patients and any other minor task per day. This include but not limited to phone, email, and walk-ins. 

Job Responsibilities:

  1. Serves patients by greeting and helping them, scheduling appointments, and maintaining records and accounts.
  2. Keeps patient appointments on schedule by notifying patients
  3. Comforts patients by anticipating patients’ anxieties, answering patients’ questions, and maintaining the reception area.
  4. Ensures availability of treatment information by filing and retrieving patient records.
  5. Maintains patient accounts by obtaining, recording, and updating personal and financial information.
  6. Maintains business office inventory and equipment by checking stock to determine inventory level, anticipating needed supplies etc.
  7. Protects patients’ rights by maintaining confidentiality of medical, personal, and financial information.
  8. Maintains operations by following policies and procedures, reporting needed changes……

Good Example

“I thrive and love the challenges to work in a fast-paced environment. As a medical receptionist at ‘ABC Clinic’. I am responsible for all the administrative task in the clinic, such as stock taking and inventory ordering.

I often interact with more than 200 regular clients per day, while ensuring each of our patient are taken care of on any inquiries they may have. 

In fact, I have patients that wrote letters to thanked me for being so patient with them on their appointments and answering their questions. These are pleasant memories, but I believe this position at “Busy Clinic” would really make my talents shine.”

Bad Example

“It have been a long eight time since I have been working as an medical receptionist and I really love my job.

I really like the part about interacting with people and taking calls or talking with people in general. I like the feeling on the interaction when I get to meet different people everyday.

Even during my weekends, I like to hang out with friends and being around with people in general. I am also very hardworking and responsible person as you can tell.”

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?

You might thought that the interviewer is just having a casual chat or just too lazy to read your resume and want you to summaries it.

Fortunately for you, the interviewer is not asking you to recite your resume (They have already read your resume before asking you to come for the interview remember?). Neither is this the time for you to tell them how much you love to travel or how amazing is your kids.

The interviewer goal is short and simple.

They want to find out more about you so that they can decided if you are suited for this post.

And to get that answer, an open ended question such as “Tell me about yourself?” gives them an opportunity to see the following:

  • What is your thought process when asked an open-ended question with no clear instructions?
  • What kind of personality do you have and is it a good fit to the team or the role?
  • What is the first impression you will give?
  • Are you prepared enough to come for this interview?

They are hoping that this question will get you talking so that they can know you better.

This will help them set the tone on what to ask and with the first impression to determine if are you are ‘The One’ that they are looking for. 

Your answer should do the following 2 things:

  • Set great first impression with a positive tone
  • Pointers that guide you to sell your strongest selling point during the rest of the interview

Key Take Away

When answering the question “Tell me about yourself.” Always focus on these 3 key points:

  1. Experience
  2. Achievements
  3. What the Job Role Requires

You can draft your killer answer by these 3 simple steps:

  1. First – Talk about your most recent role then your previous role and why you are so exited for this opportunity
  2. Then – Add in your achievements that will showcase you are an exceptional candidates that your employee will want to hire
  3. Put it all Together – Ensure your experience and your achievement are relevant and related to the job description

When you put them all together you will get your killer answer to this question.

Best answer to this interview question, “Tell me about yourself.”

“I love to use my talents to bring a worthy product to the public so that it can benefit more people.

I worked as marketing manager at ‘ABC Healthline’ for three years. I spearhead one of the most successful marketing campaigns that make an increase of 78% sales world-wide.

With the use of social media and collaborations with our event partners, we are currently the No.1 company in terms of sales volume.

I am ready for bigger challenges, and I believe a fast-growing healthcare company such as ‘ABC International’ which sells products that saves life is the perfect place for me to use my talents.”

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