Interview Questions: “So Tell Me About Yourself”
It’s interview day! You wake up early and do all the morning-of activities that will get you ready to rock your interview. You show up early for your appointment, dressed for success with your resume and cover letter in hand. You sit down across from your interviewer, and it’s time for the first question: “So, tell me about yourself.”
“Tell me about yourself” is one of the most popular questions in job interviews, much to the chagrin of interviewees. It’s vague and open-ended, with many possible answers. Do you talk about your resume? Your personal life? Your hobbies? It seems that these are great “tell me about yourself” examples. However, in reality, “tell me about yourself” is the best time to tell them about yourself: showcase your talents, your success, and what makes you worth hiring.
The best place to start when forming your answer to this question is to ask yourself: What are they really asking? With every question, recruiters are basically asking the same thing: Are you a good fit for this job?
The underlying thesis of every answer you give should be “You should hire me for this job because _______.” Make a list of the skills, experience, and character traits the position requires, then craft an answer that proves how you meet all of these criteria.
Let’s walk through “tell me about yourself” examples. Say you’re a recent grad from our Digital Media program, interviewing for the position of Graphic Designer at an advertising agency. The job description says they are looking for someone who is:
• A creative, out-of-the-box thinker
• Proficient in the Adobe Creative Suite
• A team player
• Punctual and reliable
A good answer for this interviewee might be:
Interviewer: “So, tell me about yourself.”
Interviewee: “I’m an experienced Graphic Designer. I have an Associate’s Degree from LA ORT in Digital Media, so I have a strong understanding of how Graphic Design integrates with an overall brand and its marketing efforts. In my last position, I worked with a team of designers to brainstorm, plan, and execute innovative designs for our clients. I work mostly in Adobe, and I’m comfortable with both Mac and PC. I can talk more about my experience and skills that make me a good fit for this job, but mostly I’m just passionate about Design. It’s what I think about 24/7. I love what your company is doing in the industry, and I’d love to bring my enthusiasm to your team.”
Once you have a well-crafted answer, practice it a few times until it sounds natural. Don’t try to memorize it word-by-word because “so tell me about yourself” is not something cookie-cutter, your achievements are unique. Make note of the key points that you’re trying to make: college-educated, Adobe, team player, creative. Remember, they’re also looking to see if you will be a good culture fit for the company. So take your time, tell a story or two, and don’t forget to smile! You’ve got this, now, tell me about yourself.
Other Articles for Job-Seekers:
• The Ultimate Job-Seeker’s Checklist
• Resume Tips
• Advanced Resume Tips
• Networking Dos and Don’ts
• How Are You Qualified for a Job You’ve Never Had?
• 5 Things to Do the Day of Your Interview
• How to Write a Successful Cover Letter
• Questions to Ask in an Interview