Tell Me About Yourself

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It is rare for an interview not to include the “tell me about yourself” request. This and other common interview questions may haunt your dreams during the job search process. Of course- some interviewers may try to keep you on your toes by putting a different spin on this common inquiry. Instead they may ask “what should I know about you” or “what would you like me to know about you before we get started.” The fact is- no matter how the question comes- you can give a better answer if you know why it was posed in the first place.

This is the perfect question for interviewers to use to get to know you. A hiring manager wants to figure out how you would fit in at the company and in the position. If it seems you will not fit in- you may not be a very good candidate after all. Now that you know why the question is asked- you will better be able to prepare your answer.

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How to Answer the ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Question

As with other common interview questions- you have to practice and prepare to know what to say. If you want to give a standout answer to this query- you need to consider a few factors.

  • • The Company: From your perspective- the purpose of an interview is to get a job. This means you want to tailor all of your answers to fit the company in question. This instance is no different. You can learn about the company by doing some preliminary research. What is the company history- environment and purpose? Once you know more about the company- you will have a better idea of what the ideal candidate might look like. Do you fit the bill? Your answer to this question should paint you as a candidate who would fit in well in the business.
  • • Your Qualifications: What attributes- skills and experiences can you highlight to make your value more evident? You need to use your qualifications to show how well you would fit in at the company. You have to be careful to not recite your qualifications from your resume word for word. Instead- you have to change up your answers. Only highlight the most relevant and important qualifications. You can and should discuss the qualifications on your resume- because the interviewer may not remember the attributes tied to you. Discussing your qualifications when tasked with telling an interviewer about yourself may help him or her see you as a better applicant.
  • • Your Motivation: For the purpose of a job interview- part of talking about yourself is discussing why you are interested in this position. Be careful to avoid badmouthing your past employer. Instead of focusing on the negative- you should talk about how the new position will allow you to further your career. Discussing the motivation behind your interest in the job may make you a clear choice.

As you cultivate your answer- you should try to focus on the professional aspect. It is true some interviewers may want to know about your family life or where you are from- but chances are they are using the “tell me about yourself” question to get to know who you are professionally. Common interview questions tend to be posed for professional rather than personal reasons. To make yourself more comfortable- you can always preface your answer by asking whether he or she wants to know about you professionally or personally.

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Sample ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Interview Answers

1. I grew up surrounded by retail. My dad owned his own business. You could say I was raised in a store. That is probably why I was drawn to retail when it came time to choose my own career. Most of my adolescent summers had been spent working for my dad. My technical knowledge of sales- facing and marketing has allowed me to go from Cashier to Second Assistant very quickly at my last job. I am now ready to take my knowledge even further. I believe this company will help me further my career- which is why I am here now. I want to move to the technical side of this customer-service-based industry.

2. Ever since I can remember- I have always wanted to work in the digital entertainment industry. My first introduction to the Sega Genesis in the early ’90s got me hooked on the entire videogame lifestyle. I pursued an education in computer science and software engineering with an emphasis in video game design. At my last job- I was able to be a part of the unveiling of a new gaming world. I started out as an assistant- but because of my technical knowledge and ambition ended up as a designer. While I loved the work I was doing- I felt it was time to move on to something new. I hope to gain even more responsibilities and take on a leadership role if I were to get the job with this company.

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