"Tell Me About Yourself" - What Do You Say?

Posted October 27, 2016

It sounds like a simple and friendly question. This perfectly nice hiring manager just wants you to talk about yourself for a bit.

However, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security with this seemingly easy question. If an interviewer asks you to talk about yourself up front, it's a chance for you to set the tone for the entire rest of the interview.

Stick to a script

Since the opportunity to talk about yourself is coming at some point during an interview, preplan a response you can rattle off.

Your script should start by laying out your present. Then dip into your past experiences before moving on to how you see your immediate future with respect to your career and this job opportunity.

The best place to start would be describing your current job. If you're currently unemployed, discuss the proactive steps you're taking to land your next job, or describe your last job.

Next, move on to what you did prior to your last job. This might be attending school or working entry-level jobs where you gained experience.

Finally, talk about why you're applying for a job with this company and what you are hoping to achieve should you get the job.

Keep in mind that all three parts of your script should emphasize the experiences and skills your interviewer is looking for; the same skills and experience listed in the job posting.

Try an attention grabber

If you're feeling confident about your qualifications and you want to take a swing at knocking this question out of the park, answer the "about yourself" question in an attention-grabbing way.

For instance, you could mention a personal philosophy or quote that sums up what you're all about. Laying out a personal philosophy makes you more than just a name on a resume and a set of skills. By giving a favorite quotation and expanding on it, you're letting your interviewer know you are aware of a much bigger world outside of yourself.

Try to convey the passionate vision you have for your career. By conveying passion, you show you are willing to go the extra mile for something you believe in. Explaining your career vision and how working for the company can help fulfill that vision shows both passion and a capacity to look long term.

Practice, practice, practice

Practice your prepared answer until you feel comfortable about what you would like to get across. Your script will help you remain on course, but you shouldn't commit it to memory. You don't want to sound rigid and rehearsed. It should come across as normal and conversational.

Even if this kind of question doesn't come up, preparing for it will allow you to focus on everything you have to offer. You will also be able to use this exercise to help you respond to other questions.

At Ambassador, we help job seekers with every part of the hiring process, from resume building to interview prep. If you need assistance in finding your next job, please feel free to contact us today to work with a full-service staffing agency!