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How to answer the “Tell me about yourself...” interview question

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 4 Oct 2019

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This is a question that may come up in almost all interviews. It’s a very popular starter with interviewers, the question is an easy open question and allows plenty of room for conversation. A lot of job-seekers may become uneasy when this question gets asked, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to figure out exactly what the interviewer wants to hear. However, with a little preparation, you can answer this question well and turn it into your advantage. We have some tips on how to prepare yourself and answer this question the best you can!

Answer the question

The key to answering this question well is to have a plan. Job-seekers tend to worry about this question before the interview, so why would you go in without a plan? Make sure you have an idea of what you are going to say, it will take some of the pressure off you.  You shouldn’t be answering this question the same during every interview, there should be some customisation for each interview you attend. This way you can use the job spec to your advantage and use this question to show the interviewer you are right for the job.

Keep it short and focused

When people get nervous in interviews, they can drag on a bit. You don’t want to talk about irrelevant topics when you get asked this question. Make sure you are keeping it professionally focused and steer clear of talking about your hobbies or a part-time job you had 10 years ago. Introduce yourself and your current work title, talk about some of your skills (preferably ones that are also stated on the job brief) and try and keep it short.

Pick a few career highlights

You want to make sure you are highlighting some key skills when you answer this question. But you don’t have to quickly go through the whole of your career history. The chances are they have looked through your CV, so don’t mention everything you have on there. It’s likely that the interviewer wants to hear a few key points and open the interview in a positive way – opening the conversation that all good interviews should be.

Why are you here?

Make it clear to the interviewer from the beginning that you want to be there and why. Ask yourself why you are there and why you would want this job. Making this clear in your answer will set you up for a good interview. Let them know you are really interested form the beginning.

Practise makes perfect

You can write and practise some answers before you attend your interview. You don’t have to memorise a whole speech, just make sure you have a few key points memorised or written down that can make you more comfortable during the interview. This can also keep you from going off track and avoid silences.

The question itself isn’t a hard one, but it can trip some job-seekers at the first hurdle. The key is to keep calm and have a plan! This will keep you calm and allow you to have a better conversation with the interviewer. Make sure you are not rambling as this can be a little unprofessional and keep your cool. Remember why you applied for this job in the first place and use it to show your passion. They invited you to talk to them, so they’re obviously interested, have confidence in yourself and you will answer this question with no problems.