How to Answer: Tell Me About Yourself.

This lesson covers the dreaded
“tell me about yourself” question. You hate this question, all of
my clients hate this question, but it’s a question that starts
off 99% of job interviews. I highly recommend spending
some time on this question because it’s going can
make a world of difference to your interview
performance and your results. Let’s get started. Why does every interviewer
ask this question? Along with variations like walk
me through your background, tell me more about you, it
sounds like a harmless way to start a job interview. It’s very open-ended, not
particularly difficult, everybody should know a little
something about themselves that they can talk about, right? From the interviewer’s
perspective, it’s an easy way to get
the conversation going. They just want to get
you talking and dive into the relevant information. For the candidate, the
dread comes from the fact that question is so open-ended. You could answer in so
many different ways, and people aren’t quite
sure what the best way is. What does this person
want to know about me? They stumble, they
falter, they talk too much about ancient history,
and that’s a terrible way to start an interview– by
fumbling around and sounding confused, or worse,
boring your interviewer. Instead, I want you to
embrace this question, because answering
this question well is one of the most
affective things you can do in the entire interview. It allows you to set the tone. It gives you some power and
autonomy in this interview situation, where
you may otherwise feel nervous and at the
mercy of your interviewer. By starting strong, you make
a great first impression and shape the dialogue
that comes next. Take the time to prepare how
you want to tell your story and ensure you make a
first impression that leads to a job offer. Here’s how you should craft
your “tell me about yourself” response. Think about it as an elevator
pitch– a focused overview that’s concise enough to
deliver during an elevator ride. Your elevator pitch
as a job candidate should include your top selling
points for the position. Your top selling
points are going to be a little bit
different from job to job. You want to give a little
bit of your personality and your interest
in the opportunity along with your selling points. You want to sound natural
and spontaneous while also covering the points that you
want to communicate to make the best possible impression. I’m going to teach you to
outline a standard answer that can also be customized for
different opportunities. I recommend a bullet
point approach, not a scripted approach. Scripted answers tend to
sound stiff and artificial. Interviewers don’t
feel like they’re getting to know the real you. Instead, I suggest that you
outline the bullet points that you want to cover and
leave room for spontaneity in terms of exactly how you
deliver the points each time. Then with a little
practice, you’ll find that your
answers will naturally evolve as you get comfortable
with what you want to say. Once you know your
key speaking points, you’ll have room to be flexible
and deliver differently in every single interview. It’s not unlike how a celebrity
prepares with a publicist before hitting the
talk show circuit. They want to sound
genuine and likable, so they don’t script
their remarks, but they do have an
idea of the topics they want to cover–
promoting the new movie, telling a funny story
about their coworker, you know how it goes. So let’s get started with
outlining your elevator pitch. We’ve got a great
three-step formula for you. Step one– who you are. The first key component is a
confident, compelling statement of who you are professionally. The most common mistake
I see is a candidate starting this
answer by going back to the beginning of
the resume and walking through their experience
chronologically and often in way
too much detail. This approach is
weak because it leads with out-of-date and
irrelevant information instead of leading with what’s most
impressive about you right now. For most candidates,
this includes a reference to their
current position, as well as an overview
of the breadth and depth of their related experience. Let’s take a look at
a couple of examples to give you a sense of what
I’m talking about here. So here’s our first candidate. Who are you? “Well, I’m
a recent Columbia MBA graduate with a
strong background in the pharmaceutical industry.” This puts the emphasis
on that shiny new MBA and the candidate’s
industry experience. Here’s another approach
from a different candidate. “I’m an experienced
HR executive who has managed all aspects
of the HR function from recruiting to
training to benefits.” This is a nice big picture,
high-level introduction for someone who has a diverse
skill set within the HR function. It concisely summarizes
a diverse background. Now let’s look at a
not-so-good example. “Well, I grew up in Cincinnati. As a child, I originally
wanted to be a fireman, then later became quite
interested in dinosaurs. I excelled in the
sciences from early on, placing first in my
fourth grade science fair. You know, funny
story about that–” OK, way TMI. Sadly, the interviewer
does not really care. And I realize this is
an exaggerated example, but, trust me, I have heard a
lot of people go the TMI route. The idea here is to start
strong and grab their attention before getting into the details. Tell them how you
want them to see you. Step two– why you’re qualified. Step two is kind
of like the meat in the sandwich of your “tell
me about yourself” answer. The idea here is to plan in
advance which details to share that are most likely
to knock the socks off of this interviewer. Remember, your
interviewer doesn’t have endless amounts of time. Focus on two to
four, maybe five, points that you’d like to make. The goal is to keep
it under two minutes total, so think about it. What are those two
to four points? There will be more
time for detail later, so focus on the biggest
selling points– the stuff that you think– if you
were the interviewer– would make you perk up your ears and
say, ah, this is interesting. This could be a classic
reverse chronological overview of your
last few positions or it could be a list of
key accomplishments tailored to the job requirements. So let’s look at an
example here of how you might present that
middle piece of the answer. “I spent the last six
years developing my skills as a customer service
manager for Megacompany, Inc, where I won several
performance awards and I’ve been promoted twice. I love managing teams and
solving customer problems.” This is a very concise example,
and yours can certainly have a bit more detail. Just keep in mind that
the overall answer should be no longer than two minutes. What’s good about this answer? Well, the emphasis is on
relevant experience, and not just that, but proof
of performance. It’s not a summary
of job duties. A lot of people make that
mistake– both on the resume and in the interview. When asked about what
you did somewhere, you’re not just
going to rattle off the duties that any human would
have done in the position. You’re going to
focus on what you did that was above and beyond–
accomplishments, competencies, all of it tailored to
what’s relevant for the job description. Step three– why you’re here. This is your chance
to express enthusiasm for the position in one,
maybe two, sentences. Keep it short and sweet here. Here’s an example
of one way to do this. “Although I
love my current role, I feel I’m now ready for a
more challenging assignment, and this position
really excites me.” This is very general. You could use it for a lot
of different positions. If you can make it a bit
more specific for the job, even better, but something along
these lines will work well. You’ll have time to
get into more detail later– to show
that you researched the company, to show why you’re
a great fit for the role. The goal in this
moment is to wrap up your pitch in a
concise, confident way and show your enthusiasm. Once you’ve got bullet points
for each of the three steps, it’s time to put
them all together into a polished,
powerful elevator pitch. The key is to practice a
bit and find your rhythm, find your flow. You can practice a time or
two with your notes handy. Then once you’ve internalized
the general outline, it’s going to feel more
natural, and your personality is going to come through. To give you an idea of how
it can all come together, I want to share
an example answer. Here’s a candidate with
their version of the answer to “tell me about yourself.” “I have more than
five years experience as a technical project manager
at top Wall Street companies. Most recently, I helped develop
an award-winning new trading platform. I’m a person who thrives in
a fast-paced environment, so right now, I’m looking
for an opportunity to apply my
technology expertise, along with my creative
problem-solving skills, at an innovative
software company.” Your version will be even
stronger, but more detailed, tailored for the particular
type of opportunity. Now that you know what you
need to do to ace this answer, it’s time to outline
your own bullet points for each of the three
parts and start practicing. Big Interview has
more sample answers and a fantastic
practice tool to help you make the best possible
first impression with “tell me about yourself.”

100 thoughts on “How to Answer: Tell Me About Yourself.

  1. Remember: Don’t try to squeeze in too much information or your interviewer WILL start to tune out.

    A good interview is a dialogue, not a monologue. Keep it concise and give your interviewer the chance to dive in and ask questions.

    Practicing your answer over and over will be the key to success, so break out the mirror and a stopwatch, or get the full advantage of the interactive practice tool inside our Big Interview training system.

  2. I wish there would be a tutorial for an interview for fresh graduates😪

  3. salutation. Speaking at your own pace, non-English speakers do not understand at all. Be sure to talk more slowly so your content can be understood. thanks

  4. What a bag of wind. blah blah blah. the lady hasn't said anything in first three minutes 3:00

  5. Love this!! My last interviewer said my pitch was unconvincing but she could see relevant experience i didn't highlight in my initial pitch once we started talking

  6. Excellent advices! Usually a lot of people say things that don’t have anything to do with the answer that the interviewer is looking for!  It is also important to Focus on strengths and abilities that you can support with examples and also always try to Mention past experiences and proven successes as they relate to the position that you are looking for!

  7. In my very first interview, I was asked this question, "Tell me about yourself" and I said, "Uh, what would you like to know? What do you want me to say?…" In my head, I just thought you should've thought of something better to say or maybe have been a little more prepared to speak about yourself. This video now helps me realize the purpose as to why this question is asked and now I will be preparing a more intentional and well-thought out answer based on my background, experiences and what I desire from working with future companies. Wish me luck, my interview is in 2 days in front of a whole panel of people. Oh my Lord.

  8. Why do you want to work here?

    I don’t. I just don’t want to die from starvation because my degree is useless

  9. This would be very helpful if I weren't a goddamn couch potato.

  10. NEVER EVER use Three Letter Abbreviations (TLA's) in a presentation, especially when it is on or in an international forum (YouTube), never with an unknown audience and only ever when it is firstly explained in long form as above. So now, what is a TMI?

  11. HR people are as useless as PR people in that they cannot deliver or they're there to deceive. "Don't script your response", but "Here's the script you need to follow" (Sounds like a lie doesn't it? Because if freaking IS. The best way to destroy a great company is to let HR people take over.

  12. So you want them to see you as a mindless robot who toots their own horn like an arrogant shit… "good to know…" god the human race is sad!!!

  13. Does that woman even remember the last time she was a human being?'

  14. Great video!!! I hate this question but after watching this video feel very prepared!!!

  15. I like this Video. The presentation is in a no-nonsense straight forward way.

  16. I'm guessing 809 people followed these exact steps and failed their interview?

  17. Really important tips here, highly recommended for everyone to apply, also check out the free app Job Interview – Sequential Steps to help you to prepare for the job interview, hope it helps you guys! :

  18. No matter how well you do at you job interview if you don't have at least 1 year of experience , it will be difficult to break through. The market is very competitive. Experienced employees are always looking for better opportunities.

  19. Do interviewers want to hear that you’ve worked under the table? or it that something bad 😬 I’ve personally only have had under the table job experiences

  20. I thought with my 20+ years of experience in HR I knew it all (almost), but this is such a superb way of summarising 'WHO YOU ARE" and is a very helpful guide to get through a nervous process!

  21. I had an interview this week! They didn’t ask anything like tell me about yourself. they asked questions about the organization and based on their request for me to study the job description I did not (yes 😭) study the organization extensively. Eg. They wanted to know what year they were developed and why etc it was very offsetting that by the time they got around to why should we give you this job, I was baffled and disappointed and no longer saw myself accepting the post even if I got it so my response was very weak! I really messed up 😞 can you address this? Being told to study the job description when you are invited to an interview. Is this normal because if they didn’t specify this I would’ve prepared for every possible question

  22. Very nicely put. The flow was seamless the tips were concise and extremely useful . I loved this video!

  23. This is great And thanks for sharing but honestly its the question which is very challenging and i hate this question alooooooot

  24. Video interviews is most stupid ones… you wanna know about my personality and skills, experience ? Then meet me face to face….what's going on with the world ?…

  25. I liked this video. The candidate example was a mouthful, loaded I checked out on that one.. thought it was too much.  Overall, I was pleased with the interview tips.

  26. The 'Tell me about yourself' question at an interview is an immediate warning flag to me that this company uses lazy HR scripts to interview and is probably not a company I want to work for. If I am asked it in an interview, I always counter with "Can you be more specific about what you would like to know?". An interview should be a two way process, allowing open dialogue, not a game you have to get the right answers to based on what an HR dept think is acceptable.

  27. This is how I like to answer the question:

  28. My comment is aimed at you and EVERY other advice person who literally IGNORS the fact that not ALL of us have MBA's, graduated from Harvard, or increased sales by 90% on and on. Many of us are simple working people who need a job but are often eaten alive by H.R. recruiters who want to flex their self importance muscles. Instead we get the "Sit up straight, don't chew gum, dress for success" …The reality is you want a cleaner, I'm a cleaner, I clean floors well. No MBA, no Harvard and no increased cleaning by 90%. By the way if you're so good at your last job and are valued so much, why do you or they want you to leave.


  30. I just want to tell you that your voice is so annoying and you talk so fast to make it so hard to follow you and understand what mean

  31. easy way to get a job…

    boss: tell me about yourself!

    me: I am Evander..I just killed two men while on the way here.

    Boss: why did you do that?

    me: Because they said Im not gonna get this job!!

  32. They red your resume, cover letter and you passed the code exam but still you need to show your "story telling" skills.

  33. The hypocrisy of that question…I hate the current workplace especially in America. Corporate is worse. Ask some real questions and expect real answers dammit!!!

  34. Maybe it's because i have a terrible fear of job interviews, and as much as I'd like to admit that there's some helpful information here, I can't sit through it all without wanting to… do bad things.

    Can someone give me a tl;dr summary?

  35. they're not REALLY gonna ask this to a 17 year old who's just starting out in work right? I've got nothing to say there…

  36. Of course, the interview panel might have gone through about background information like name and nationality, and city/country where we reside, etc. I would like further know that can we start our introduction by telling our name and Nationality or country we reside, please advise thank you.

  37. And what if you're sixteen with no prior work experience, and your trying to get a job at Wal-Mart?

  38. The problem with pre-canned interview questions is that people just watch videos on how to answer them.. much like this video. So, you're not going to an interview, you're going to a stage play. Interviewer asked pre-memorized question. Interviewee answers with pre-memorized answer. It's just a big dog-n-pony show that proves the interviewer really isn't interested in digging into what skills or experience you have, or the interviewer doesn't have the advanced knowledge to ask you real questions that would pertain to the job yuo're applying for (eg: advanced programming jobs, medical profession jobs, etc). Recruiters do the best they can, but all they're doing is putting on "interview theatre".

    I'm old enough now with work experieince and advanced educaiton, that I just call folks out on this stuff.

    Guy asks me … "so, what's the biggest challenge you'd face working here?"
    I have no clue. The challenges I would face would be the challenges you're facing. But, you've barely talked about the job at all. So, asking me that question towards the start of an interview just shows that this person has no interest in getting to know me.. they're just interested in putting me on the spot and seeing how I react. I immediately know I don't want to work for them.. so, they've lost a good candidate.. meanwhile, they will hire someone that knows how to answer stock HR questions like that, but sucks at work.

    The people that are great at answering stock HR questions tend to be job hoppers that have had tons of time to rehearse… b/c they look for jobs so much. So, they really impress in an interview. But, once they get the job, they screw things up.. so they jump to a new job.

    Meanwhile, people that suck at interviewing.. it's because they're looking for a job, not interviews. They are good workers, but poor interviewers. They suck at the "Ms. America Pageant" dog-n-pony show that HR and Hiring managers put them through.. but when they get hired, they are the ones cleaning up the messes that the job hoppers created.

    I've been in the interviewer's place … I did not google up stock HR questions to ask people. I asked them real questions that pertained to their skills and how it could help for the position we'd hire them for.

    I never asked them "tell me about yourself"… all that does is make me look like an idiot that can't read their resume. And, it also acts like a baiting question to try to sucker folks into giving up their marital status or other info that could tell on them about how old they are. Many people will answer with what's most important in their life … "I'm married, have two kids"… you're not allowed to ask if someone is married, but if you ask them an open-ended question, people will give up all kinds of information.. information that SHOULD NOT MATTER when hiring them.

    Focus on questions about the job, and their resume.

    Stop asking stupid questions that make you look like an idiot that didn't read their resume.

  39. This is one of the best resources I've found for this question. Thanks.

  40. whoever is reading this I hope you’re blessed
    ❤️ never stop chasing your dreams🙏🏽

  41. I love watching her videos. She looks like Lucy Lawless from Xena the Warrior Princess.

  42. What about if you’re not really experienced and in your early 20’s. How can you answer this question?

  43. I get this question from many scammers the only thing i can tell them is im autistic and on disability

  44. Great video BUT, the woman in the example was obviously reading a note with the points to speak about.

  45. To the person on this video, the pacing of your speech needs improvement.

  46. right at the end when she said "tell me about yourself" like she was actually doing the interview i got chills down my spine

  47. This is the best tell me about yourself video on YouTube!!..And I have seen them all!!! Thanks!!

  48. I found this to be very dry compared to the other tutorials. Keep looking my friends.

  49. Okay im going in 30 minute….. Lil nervous… I hope they ask the right questions,

  50. Well i graduated in 2015 and have literally sat on my ass battling depression since, lost all my friends and dont have any social skills anymore oh and i did 8 hours of community service in 2016. Do i got the job?

  51. The final example, the girl had sketchy eye movements/positions… automatic fail at any interview — HR is looking for reasons to not hire you

  52. Im so scared im not good at articulating my words and I legit gonna feel dumb

  53. Xperienced Placements is trying to assist the unemployed find work irrespective of the country, Xperienced Placements is a recruitment firm that works internationally, we provide useful information on employment and careers, please help us expand as we need feedback from our subscribers with regards to employment.

  54. I have my first ever interview tomorrow and I'm really interested in this job especially that the manager wants me. So I'm trying to prepare for it to show I really want this job and get rid of awkwardness if i dont know how to awnser a question. I already have the advantage that my 2 brothers work there and they really like them 2. I'll update if i get the job, I'm very confident i will.

  55. So in being open and talkative, How does a complete Mathematics NERD answer this question ?

  56. Who are you? What do you want? Why are you here? Who do you serve? And who do you trust? (I think I walked into the wrong building.)

  57. I feel like in the 21st century we shouldn't have interviews it should just be phones interviews it just make everyone anxious and uncomfortable as specially the new generation with all our anxiety and depression this video might make sense to some but I feel like we should stop script interviews and just ask proper questions that we can answer, like I feel like you have to fit in this filter and if you don't then they make judgement,

  58. “There’s nothing more dangerous than a resourceful idiot” Scott Adams

  59. Great and clear tips, I´ve been in many interviews and also I've been interviewer, and I can tell that this could be very very useful, specially if you are a not native english speaker. Good job!.

  60. Just be honest do not try to impress anyone by being fake, if you get the job , good if not move on, it was not for you anyways.😀😀

  61. Ok but how does someone answer this question if they have no job experience, for example they just graduated. I can't find how to answer this question if you have no prior job experience.

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