The best way to answer “Tell me about yourself” questions

This question is one of the most feared questions in a job interview. It is so broad that many candidates don’t know where to start or which areas of their lives they should be talking about. Lots of employers use this as an opening question to see what you consider to be the most important and/or interesting parts of you – which is why it is extremely important to get right at every interview you attend. Take a look at our recommendations and use our examples to create the best answer for you.

How to tackle the “Tell me about yourself” question

The most tempting thing to do when asked this question is to reel off a list of qualifications and previous roles that make you the ideal candidate for the role. However, many employers are put off by this and prefer a subtler response, as it allows them to learn more about your personality and how you might fit the job they are offering. Our suggestion is to start off by talking about some of your personal interests, as they can offer a good insight into your lifestyle and what you consider to be important. For example, being part of a football team and regularly attending training and matches shows that you are loyal and healthy, while enjoying chess shows that you like to keep developing your mind and learning.

Give examples

Instead of just listing positive characteristics that make you suited to the job, it is best to always back these up with real-life examples. A job interview is the first impression an employer will get of you, so you should try and tell him or her as much as you can about what you have done throughout your life. If you want to get across the fact that you are patient and a good problem solver, mention a time when you used these skills, such as dealing with an upset or dissatisfied customer or client. Prove that you are genuinely interested in learning about culture by discussing some of the languages you speak or places you have visited.

Use your strengths to give tell me about yourself answers

You will know what type of person the interviewer is looking for from what they said in the job advertisement, so make a mental list of all the things you have done that might show you are that type of person. If they want someone that is good with numbers, work out which of your qualifications or previous roles involved numeracy or bookkeeping. Show that you are organised and good at prioritising your duties by talking about tasks you have handled at work in the interview.

Get ideas from our sample answers

When someone asks you the “Tell me about yourself” question, use these examples to give the response the employer is looking for. Start by talking about any hobbies that will show you in a positive light. Being a long-distance runner and training for a marathon shows dedication and the fact you like to challenge yourself. Carrying out volunteer work demonstrates that you have a good nature and like to help others – this is seen favourably particularly for those of you that will be working in teams. You can then mention some of the characteristics that link you more directly to the job on offer. If you are a hard worker and loyal to your employer, tell them about the over-time you did when there was an important deadline and how you have received promotions after serving a company for a long time.

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