Employment Blog

The Dreaded 'Tell Me About Yourself' Question, and How to Answer It

Published by Equis Staffing

There are a few job interview questions that every candidate is almost guaranteed to hear, such as "Why are you leaving your current position?" or "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Most job interview questions such as these are easily answered, but there is one job interview question that strikes fear into the hearts of job seekers everywhere:

"Tell me about yourself."

Job seekers often find this question difficult to answer because they're not sure what the interviewer wants to hear and don't know what information they should include in their answer. In an effort to demystify the "Tell me about yourself" question, we put together a few tips for developing an effective answer.

Here are our tips:

Consider the interviewer's perspective. Think about the interviewer's goal. She wants to determine if you're a good fit for the position and needs information about your professional background to see if your skills are a match for the job duties.

Avoid personal information. It is important to remember that you should not answer the "Tell me about yourself" question in a job interview in the same way that you might in a social situation. For example, at a cocktail party you might tell the person asking about you that you are married and enjoy hiking every weekend. Such information isn't appropriate during a job interview. Instead, focus on your professional accomplishments. You might begin by saying something like, "I am a tax accountant with five years experience, and have spent the past three years at a Fortune 500 company."

Be concise. Your response should not be all-encompassing. Think of it instead as an elevator pitch, designed to quickly and accurately sell your past accomplishments to the employer. You should highlight 2-4 achievements that will help you stand out.

Address employer pain points. Do research on the company you are interviewing with and learn what pain points the company hopes to address in the upcoming quarters. With this information you can tailor your response to highlight the qualities you possess that can help the company reach its goals.

Prepare & practice. Once you have thought over your response to "Tell me about yourself," write your answer down and practice that answer in the mirror, or practice the answer in a mock interview with a friend or family member. Practice your answer until you are comfortable that you are conveying all the necessary information.

"Tell me about yourself" can be a difficult question, but there is no reason to panic when it comes up during a job interview. By working through your answer ahead of time you will be well prepared to give an effective response.

If you are looking to hire an IT, Accounting, or Finance professional, or work in any of those fields and looking to advance your career, you can contact Equis Staffing via email at info@equisdifference.com or give us a call at (818) 444-0100.