Prepare for the “Tell Me About Yourself” Job Interview Question

Back up a great first impression with a solid answer to the first job interview question, “tell me about yourself”.  Meet the interviewer’s need for info your resume didn’t nail. Let them visualize you adding real value and fitting in the first morning!

 “Tell Me About Yourself” Is Not An Icebreaker!

For experienced interviewers, it is a very purposeful job interview question and your response matters to them and therefore to you.

Your response should be just as purposeful and strategic. Your resume gave the interviewer a positive but vague view of your potential. Now she needs clarity and still has some doubts.

Anticipate her questions,  resolve them now, then take a deep breath.

A Strong Opening sets the tone

A strong opening signals that you are an above-average candidate.

tell me about yourself

Please tell me about yourself

As an interviewer, If this question doesn’t go well, I have added doubts and concerns. You didn’t prepare carefully for such a predictable job interview question, with so much at stake. What happens when I assign an important project?

After a weak response, you have to regain lost ground in the next 9 questions. Hopefully you’ll pick up insights about what’s really important to them. Then address them effectively in your follow-up letter.

Don’t Start Your life Story.

Start with what’s relevant for this position, in this firm, at this time. What would make them hire you and not one of the other 20 people we are interviewing?”

Bring your best  Achievements

Two achievements is a start. If you have been working for 15 years, there should be more.

Some of them won’t fit this situation well, especially if you are beginning a new career or applying for a more junior position.

Recent stories are definitely preferred.

Tangible, quantifiable Benefits are Best

Vague, intangible benefits lack credibility. You’re dedicated? Everybody says that. Tell me something I can visualize.  Did you increase sales? Reduce costs? Everybody understands that.

Deal Upfront with Predictable Concerns.

If there’s a obvious concern, nail it up front. Large gap on your resume? Explain it now. Don’t hope they won’t notice.

Make Your Stories Vivid!

Help them visualize you delivering great results with effective storytelling skills. It’s not just cold hard facts that influence decisions.

Tie it up in 90 seconds.

Ninety seconds goes quickly. Prepare a script and edit ruthlessly. They’ll ask if they warn more.

 You researched this situation and the people and it paid off! Take a breath and assess their reaction. Now get ready for the next question!

Explore this Content  In Other Formats:

On Slideshare:  Follow the link above or find it here:

Watch for All 50 Job Interview Questions:

This is the first post of 50 to come, each addressing a commonly asked Job Interview question. See the list here on Slideshare and read the post 50 Job Interview Questions  to see what’s coming.

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And please let me know how I can make them more valuable for you. It’s a tough marketplace for employment, but sound preparation can whittle it down to size!

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Image courtesy of franky242 /

8 thoughts on “Prepare for the “Tell Me About Yourself” Job Interview Question

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