“Tell me about yourself” are frequently asked at the beginning of in-person or video interviews to get the conversation started.
Other examples include “Walk me through your resume,” “Tell me something about yourself that’s not on your resume” and “How would you describe yourself?”
In this blog, I’m going to tell you Four tips to answer the tell me about yourself interview question the right way, so that you can stand out in front of hiring managers, and ideally land more job offers. Now, before we begin, there are a couple of ground rules that you need to know before you can develop the perfect answer to this question.
Rule number one, do not talk about your personal or family life. When someone asks you tell me about yourself. They’re not asking you to tell them about your personal life choices and the mistakes that you’ve learned from and how you got here as a human being. They’re not asking you to tell them about yourself, they’re asking you to tell them about your qualifications, your experiences, as well as why you’re a good fit for this role. That’s it, they just want to know about your professional background and experience in a nutshell.
Rule number two, do tell a story. Even though I said you shouldn’t be telling them your life story, you do want to tell them your professional work story. I’ll get into details about this a little later. But essentially, a good professional work story means that it needs to be engaging, compelling, clear, and complete.
So now that we’ve got the ground rules out of the way, let’s move on to our four major tips on how to answer the tell me about yourself interview question.
Tell me about yourself Four Tips
- Snapshot of your work History
- Mini stories Achievement-Oriented
- What you know about this Role
- Why you’re the right fit for what they Need
Tell me about yourself Tip One
So let’s start with Tip number one is to give a snapshot of your work history. So what this means is, you’re going to go back in time to the earliest professional job that you’ve ever held. And you’re going to start your story from there. So you’re essentially going to describe what company you worked at what the title was that you held when you were in that position, how long you stayed in that position for, and most importantly, what were your major responsibilities in that position.
for example, let’s just say that you started your career five years ago as a financial analyst. Okay, let’s just make this up. Let’s just use another accounting example. You started your career as a financial analyst five years ago, and then you moved up to senior financial analyst, and now you’re a finance manager. When you tell your story, you’re going to start with your role as a financial analyst.
And you’re going to say something along the lines of I started my career as a financial analyst five years ago with XYZ company where I performed full-cycle accounting duties, month and Coast procedures, and assisted with budgeting and forecasting monthly. So now you’re going to do that for each one of your positions, you’re essentially telling mini work snapshots for every position that you’ve held up to the current position that you’re holding right now.
Tell me about yourself Tip Two
Make your mini stories achievement-oriented. So after you’ve told the employer about the company that you were at the title that you held, the number of years you were there for, and the major responsibilities that you had in that position, you’re then going to also describe one major accomplishment that you were able to achieve in that role.
And accomplishment is anytime where you have saved time, save money, improve processes, improve profitability, I mean, anything where you’ve done something that has created a quantifiable goal, ideally, quantifiable results for your company, or your department. So to add to our example, you would say, in that role, a major accomplishment I’m most proud of was that I was able to reduce the time spent on month in procedures by developing an Excel model, which automated a major accounting process.
This resulted in a time savings of approximately one day per month. So you’ll do both this tip number two, and tip number one in conjunction with each other for every single position that you’ve held.
Tell me about yourself Tip Three
Tell the employer what you know about this role. Once you’ve gone through your entire story, and you’ve told the employer about your major roles, as well as the accomplishments that you’ve achieved, it’s now time to acknowledge to the employer what you know, they need for this particular position that they’re hiring for.
So to continue on our example, you’ll then say, I understand that for this position of finance manager that you’re hiring for, you’re looking for someone with strong process improvement skills. The reason why this is so important, and that so many people don’t do this is because what it does psychologically is that it tells the employer that not only are you aware of your abilities and your achievements, but that you’re aware of His or her needs as well and what they’re looking for.
And when you can say something as simple as just simply acknowledging, I’m aware that you know, for this role, you need process improvements, skills, and abilities, it’s creating a connection with the employer, it’s not you any longer just talking at them, you’re talking to them.
Tell me about yourself Tip Four
Finally, onto Tip number four, tell the employer why you’re the right fit for what they need. This is the icing on the cake, it’s the cherry on top. And it’s the one thing that many, many people do not even bother to say when they’re answering this or any other interview questions. And that is to tell the employer to spoon-feed them to maybe even brainwash them into understanding why you are the only and perfect fit for this position.
So to add on to our example, you would say something like, overall, due to my strong background and achievements and successfully identifying gaps and creating efficiencies, I am confident I’ll be able to succeed in this role that you’re hiring for, you need to tell the employer why you’re the right fit for the job.
If you don’t end off with this, it’s going to end up on a flat note, that’s going to not be the most stellar response. It’s just going to sound like everybody else’s response. But in this case, you are making it very clear and specific, even without them having asked you why you’re the right fit. You’re just feeding it to them and telling them I’m the right fit for the role above all else.