Tell me about yourself | Main Region | TS
How to answer: “Tell me about yourself”
Do you know how to introduce yourself in a job interview? “Tell me about yourself” seems like quite an easy interview question. But in fact, quite a lot can go wrong.
Interviewers ask open ended questions for several key reasons, they help assess a candidate's communication skills and require thoughtful and detailed responses.
"Tell me about yourself" is often the first job interview question hiring managers ask, whether you are in an initial telephone screen, a first interview or a final meeting. This means your answer will inform the entire basis of your potential new employer’s first impression of you, setting the tone for the rest of the interview. In addition, if you slip up here, you risk derailing your confidence and flow for the rest of the job interview. That’s why it’s essential that the answer you provide is a good one.
But knowing how to introduce yourself in a job interview in a succinct way takes careful thought – what do you include and what do you leave out, for instance? By structuring your response in three parts, you will cover all the relevant points and keep the interviewer engaged with your story. Here’s how:
Three steps to answer the “Tell us about yourself” job interview question
1. Share relevant job qualifications and experiences
Don't get too personal, keep it professional at least until you've got a good read on the room. Start your answer by sharing your experiences and education that relate directly to the role you’re interviewing for. The key here is relevancy – in all likelihood, the paper-route you had when you were 15 has no bearing on your ability to succeed in this role, so don’t share your entire life story. Instead, keep your answer brief by providing your interviewer with what they want to hear – an overview of your professional background and years of experience. Only mention qualifications that support your job application.
By firstly outlining your relevant education and career history, you’re setting the scene for the interviewer by describing how you got to the position you are in today.
2. Highlight skills relevant to the position
Then review the key points of the job description and mention the relevant skills and behaviours you possess that would allow you to succeed in this particular role. Keep your answer relevant by supporting your skills and competencies with measurable examples and hard facts. This allows you to bring your skills to life with quantifiable evidence, such as the number of team members you’ve managed, the dollar value of contracts you’ve negotiated, the volume of tasks you’ve delivered in a set timeframe or the percentage of targets you’ve hit.
3. Describe how the role fits your career goals
Finally, you can share your career goals in a way that supports your application. But be careful – although it may be tempting to answer this interview question by talking about the reasons why you want to leave your current employer, this part of your answer should instead be centred around why you want the role within this new organisation. Avoid complaining about your current role and organisation at all costs. Have a positive rather than negative outlook.
By framing your answer in this context, you show your potential employer that you’re interested and enthusiastic in the role and that what you read in the job description aligns with your career plans and ambitions. Your interviewer can then understand exactly why you are sitting in front of them and are a suitable candidate for the role.
“Tell us about yourself” interview example
To put it all together, if you follow these three steps you can answer this or similar interview questions with confidence. Here’s an example of how you can structure this answer in practice:
“I am a business management graduate with a Masters in Digital Marketing. Since leaving university, I have pursued a marketing career in the sports industry.
“During my time in the industry, I’ve expanded my digital marketing skills, particularly my email marketing skills. I have a real strength in delivering emails that make people take action. I believe that these skills are best highlighted by my recent email marketing campaign, in which I increased our conversion rate by 10%.
“My previous organisation helped me develop the digital skills I have today. However, I believe that for the sake of progressing my expertise further, it’s time to move on. Therefore, I’ve commenced my job search to look for a more challenging role within a fast-paced global organisation, where there is plenty of room for me to grow as a marketing professional. That’s why I was so pleased to be invited to interview for this role.”
Practice, practice, practice.
Knowing how to introduce yourself in an interview takes preparation. After all, practice makes perfect. By preparing and practising your answer in advance, you’ll help to minimise nerves and know exactly what to say to make a good first impression. You’ll share a concise and positive answer that tells your potential employer why you deserve this role and why you are a good fit for the organisation. Rather than falling back on personal details, which aren't relevant, you’ll practice answering “tell me about yourself” in a way that focuses on your skills and experience and shows the interviewer why you are the best person for the position and company.
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