How to Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question
Here is your chance to make a great first impression. “Tell me about yourself” is the most common interview question asked and is likely to be presented at the beginning of your interview.
The hiring manager will ask this question to learn more about you and help determine if your personality will gel with the current staff. Also, this question will give hiring managers insight into why you are or aren’t a good fit for the position/company.
Since this is usually among the first questions asked, the interviewer is interested in a quick summary of who you are and what you have accomplished related to the particular job opening. They want to understand how well you fit into this position.
You want to answer this question succinctly and clearly show why you are a great fit for the role at hand along with why you want the position. Avoid rehashing your resume or going through too many details from your past.
You want to keep the interviewer(s) engaged and interested in who you are. Just like with your resume, being concise and clearly showcasing your achievements is key.
Tell a Story
Make a one-minute interesting story about yourself, including how you got to where you are (professionally), what your achievements are, and why you would be a great fit for the position. Don’t simply list minute details about your experiences. Find your one-sentence that encapsulates you if you want people to remember it. Then, try it out whenever someone asks you, “What do you do? “or “Tell me about yourself.” Make your story coherent and focused.
You want your story to show that you are a perfect fit for the job. Use present, past, and future guidelines.
First you start with the present – where you are right now. Then, segue into the past – a little bit about the experiences you’ve had and the skills you gained at the previous position.
Finally, finish with the future – why you are excited for this opportunity. Focus on experiences and skills that are most relevant to the position.
Do Your Research
Do your company research and find out exactly what strengths and capabilities this specific company is looking for. Then in your answer, try and show the hiring manager that you possess the key qualities needed. You can discover these strengths or qualities required in the job description itself.
At the end of your answer, try segueing into an insightful question for the hiring manager that shows you understand exactly what issues or problems the company is for looking for you to solve.
Writing out a sample script is a good idea and will give you an outline of exactly what you are looking to say. Once you have a concise and engaging script for this question, you can practice reading it aloud until you feel comfortable and natural. You can practice answering this question with friends and family. This will help you avoid sounding like your reading something verbatim from a script like a robot.
Here is a sample response to the “Tell me about yourself” question for an Investment Analyst position:
“The thing that drives or compels me the most in life is having wherewithal and understanding of what’s going on around me. I believe that through experience, education, and understanding of money/people is the most effective way to accomplish this. I’ve been an Investment Research Analyst over the last decade and have always had a fascination with the stock market since I was a young man because of the sheer amount of money that trades hands daily.”
“Over the past decade, I became engrossed in all aspects of investment research and financial analysis working both for a boutique and multi-billion-dollar hedge fund along with a Fortune 500 company. Concurrently while working, I completed my MBA in Finance with a 4.0 GPA to make me a more useful asset to the company.”
“I’ve been working for a large hedge fund for the last seven years and have really focused on increasing the equity fund performance, which I helped to grow by an average of 15% annually that has consistently exceeded the benchmark. Additionally, I developed an equity focus group at the company that was featured in the WSJ. I am looking to further my career working on the sell side, which your firm is repeatedly recognized as the being best.”
“Tell me about yourself” is the most common interview question asked for every type of job. Remember to keep your answer concise and create a one-minute narrative about who you are professionally using the present, past, and future guidelines. Avoid simply rehashing your resume and taking too long.
Finally, don’t talk about controversial topics like politics/religion or anything else that could be taken offensively.
Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. When Maria is not working, she enjoys reading and spending quality time with her family.