So, Tell Me about Yourself
“So, tell me about yourself.” Did you know this is the most asked question during an interview?
And did you also know that 90% of people don’t really know how to answer?
Where do you start? Do you tell them where you were born and what your childhood was like? Do you only tell them the most recent and relevant facts about you? Do you mix & match and sprinkle a bit of each? What’s the winning formula?
Well, you came to the right place. After much research, we are going to give you the perfect formula that will help you stand out from the rest. But first, do you ever wonder why they ask this question? Why is this the most asked question during the interview? What do they want to know?
Personally, I think it breaks the ice and gives the best non-confined window into your world. So essentially, it’s the best question to really get to know you and how well-rounded and personable you are. They get to see and get a better sense of who you are beyond what they can find on your resume or just answering direct and specific questions.
So, how do we make sure to give them what they want? To let them know the genuine you. Here are the three parts to the best answer, with a few bonus tips along the way:
- Present – Who You Are. The first mistake many people make is giving too much detail in this section. Your goal should be to keep your response around 60-90 seconds, and ideally this part should make up about 20% of that. Talk about your current role, keeping it professional and positive – this is not a place for personal info or complaints about your previous work environment (you don’t want that negativity as part of your introduction).
- Past – Why You’re Qualified. Highlight a few recent achievements that show your ability to go above and beyond expectations. Try to focus on 2-3 that best reflect your previous experience (more than 4 might go too long and start to feel braggy). You can mention any past promotions or special projects/problems you solved that are specifically relevant to the new job you’re applying for.
- Future – Why You’re Here. All of this should lead up to what brought you here today. Make it clear why you’re interested and how your skills align with this new role and company. Bring it all together by showing how your passion connects with this opportunity – that reflects your fit in the role, and can be a subtle compliment to the company as a place that embodies these shared values. “I’m really passionate about x and y, and so I was really attracted to your company…”
Whatever you do, don’t underestimate this question! It might seem like an easy win (since you obviously know all about yourself), but this will often be your first impression, and most hiring decisions are made in the first minute. Don’t let the open-ended nature of the question stop you from being prepared and intentional with what you share. You know the question is coming… I hope it becomes a chance for you to shine.