During the job interviews, HR managers or employers ask many questions. And there’s one that they will question definitely – they’ll ask you to share some information about yourself. Yes, the response can seem to be not essential and open; it’s the question that impacts the further job interview.
So, in our post, we’ll figure out why the interviewers question this; give you a few tips on answering it, plus some response examples.
Before learning how to respond to this question, let’s understand why the recruiters or potential bosses ask the candidates to tell about themselves. Asking this, they want the applicants to briefly present themselves and understand whether their experience will suit the job you want to get.
Besides asking to tell about yourself, the company wants to check your ability to respond to open questions requiring concrete answers. For example, if you like music and can play instruments, it won’t be appropriate to say it when applying for the marketer position. You can’t make an absurd assumption that it will be the basis for your hiring if you are asking to tell about yourself in this case.
Though HR managers want to hear some information about yourself when the interview starts, they don’t want to know all details of your life. It may not be concise when sharing personal stuff with strangers. Get to the point quickly and only mention the facts that are important for the position you want to get.
Like it or not, you should give some personal information during the interview. Answer this question briefly just because there are plenty of other questions which require more effort from your side. The best thing about telling about yourself is that you don’t need to repeat the same information during different interviews.
If you are asked “Tell about yourself,” it means that interviewers want to hear an answer which consists of three components: hobbies, work experience, and education. And also make sure your words are not exaggerated. If you are applying for a sales position, don’t mention that you are a top-notch negotiator. Only your work will prove it!
Presenting yourself as a self-motivated person is one of the best ways to start. You can tell about yourselves without going into details, just briefly mentioning that you have a strong dedication to your objectives and goals.
Explaining your work experience is also important. You can start with mentioning the most recent position, or go back to the past one if you are applying for an old-fashioned company. If you have a gap in your resume that needs explanation, then discuss it without scruples.
Remember that your potential employer wants to see whether or not you are a good fit for the job you applied for. You can tell about yourself in case of any doubts about your candidacy. But don’t try to oversell yourself, as it won’t be helpful.
Don’t answer this question with obvious phrases similar to “I am an honest and hardworking person,” or “I am a good team worker and believe that results require efforts.”
Don’t tell about yourself as if you were an open book. It’s better to say as little as possible than too much at once. You don’t want the interviewer to think that your words are too long or you can’t figure out what to say in this case.
There is no need to give information about your religion, political views, and health condition when answering “Tell me about yourself.” These facts aren’t related to the job position you want to get. And when they ask you asking these questions, they may be illegal.
Don’t answer this question by mentioning your personal qualities which are not linked to the job you applied for. No employer wants to know that you are a perfect housekeeper or that you always remember the birthdays of your relatives. It is quite possible that the company has no need for such skills in its workers.
Don’t talk about your weaknesses as an applicant. They want to know that you are a winner, not a loser! Don’t describe negative experiences at interviews, as they can repel the interviewer and remember only the bad things.
Don’t mention all work tasks you completed in each job position. If you start giving all information that is not relevant, then it will be time-consuming. And the interviewer has plenty of other questions to ask you. Keep your answer concise!
Don’t mention anything which can damage your reputation (unless you are sure you won’t get this position). Your potential employer wants to know only positive things about you.
Don’t touch personal life issues. Your interviewer is interested in your job, not your private life! Try to stay formal and remember that this answer should be appropriate for the position you want to get.
Also, don’t forget about the proper formatting of your answer, use bullet points if possible.
Now, let’s figure out how to respond to the “Tell about yourself” question. To give the answer that will impress your possible employer, you need to take the following steps:
- Speak about your previous experience: We recommend you start your answer by speaking about your actual status. If you still work and apply for a new job now, you should talk about the organization where you work, name your position and tell about your duties. If you don’t work, you can speak about your previous job, volunteer work, or studies or courses you’ve recently passed.
- Outline your way to where you’re now: After sharing your experience, you can outline your way to where you’re now. It’s like a “Walking through a summary” question, but here, you don’t need to tell your entire job story. You can just choose a few key achievements and talk about them.
- Match your experience with the job you’re applying for: To finish your response, we advise you to match your experience with the job you’re applying for. You can show how your experience corresponds to the vacancy description or how this job matches your passions.
- Speak about your future: It’s unnecessary since the employer or HR manager can ask you about it in further questions.
For some vacancies, such a responding approach can seem too formal. Below, we’ll give you one more strategy you can use for answering:
- Speak about your hobby that demonstrates your artistic side or your love of nature: If you’re not a formal person and your hobby is related to the job position, it can be a good variant for your answer.
- If you don’t have any hobbies that relate to the vacancy, tell me about something else: You can share your favorite sports or activities which help you relax after work.
- Show your interest in such things as sport and health: This answer will be a good variant for the vacancies where you should have a fit body and flexible mind.
- Share your cultural background – movies, music, painting, etc: You can share your cultural background and talk about why you like it.
- Tell about the volunteer work or social activism you’ve been devoted to: You can show the employer that you’re a cultural person, who’s interested in society and social issues.
- Mention the intellectual practice (like reading, passing various courses, intellectual games, etc.): This variant will be suitable for positions that need creative thinking.
- Tell about your travel experience: It shows the employer that you’re open to new perspectives and ready to work anywhere in the world.
Now, we’ll share with you some recommendations on how to correctly respond to this question:
- Include professional and personal information in your response: We’ve offered you two various ways of responding to the “Tell me about yourself” question, but if you want to impress your possible employer, connecting professional and personal information in your response will be a great way. When speaking about your professional achievements, you can say your unique qualities have helped you. You can also match your interests and hobbies with your professional attributes. This way, the HR manager or employer will know your personal and professional side in one response.
- Give a brief answer: When responding, you should remember that it’s only the first question of the job interview. That’s why you don’t need to share all information in one response – the interviewer will not remember everything and miss the necessary details.
- Be yourself: Yes, it’s tough, to be honest for 100 percent, but you should be sincere and open during the interview. If you’re like this in real life, then there’s no reason to be afraid of your possible employer.
- Relax: Remember, this question is common. It’s not a trick so you shouldn't get nervous when answering it.
- Be straightforward: When speaking about the labor experience, don’t be humble and downplay your role or contribution. No one will miss that you haven’t been leading the projects but are just a part of the big team. If you make a mistake, don’t try to cover it and speak about something else. Admit the mistake and say how your experience helped you avoid making it in the future.
Mistakes to avoid during the answer
Commonly, when speaking about themselves, people make some mistakes that negatively impact the further job interview. We’ll name you these mistakes to avoid in the future:
- Don’t tell any personal info that doesn’t correspond to the job you want to get. Here, you should be concrete and give specific answers about your possible job. For example, if you’re applying for the position of designer and talk about your passion to travel, it can be a mistake because it doesn’t match this profession.
- Don’t take much time to respond – your answer should be short and concrete.
- Don’t lie during this question. Remember that you can be checked, so even small lies can harm your image in the eyes of an employer or HR manager.
- Don’t give any information that has nothing to do with your professional skills and abilities; for example about education or work experience in other areas.
- Don’t wait for another question (like “What are your weaknesses?”) to share some personal information. The interviewers usually ask about them during the first minutes of the conversation. You can answer this question with something like: “I consider myself a very open person, but I think it will be much easier to share this information with you if we meet in person.”
- Never share any personal stories and experiences that have no relation to the job you’re applying for.
- Don’t give long answers. This answer should be concise and short, sometimes saying only one word or just a few words. Remember that the interviewer is ready to ask you another question in case you take too much time to respond.
- Never discuss politics and any related issues.
- Don’t start your answer with “I believe that…” or “In my opinion/view,…”. The interviewer wants to hear your view on this question, not what you think about it in general. Also, avoid using words like “We should...” and "People must..." in your answer.
And we’ll repeat – be concrete during the interview. When responding to any question, you need to always stay on the topic and never share the things that have no relation to the job you’re applying for.
And now we’ll give you some examples of how to speak about yourself during the job interview:
Recently I have worked as an IT manager’s assistant in one of the middle IT Company in Los Angeles. My obligations included dealing with clients and satisfying their needs, implementing the company’s IT strategy, developing quality IT services, and assisting in IT projects’ realization. I grew up as the IT manager, and my duties were expanded – I was also responsible for organizing the team’s work. And after studying your vacancy, I understood that my experience would be helpful and helpful for the senior IT manager in your company.
I’m a journalist in all meanings of this word. When my employer gives me a task, I don’t simply start writing an article – I investigate the topic so profoundly until I reach the deepest bottom. I check the facts 100 times not to make mistakes in my paper because I know that validity is the first key principle of journalism. I also pass various courses for journalists to develop myself professionally in my spare time. And this knowledge helps me a lot in my profession.
Some words to sum up
When speaking about yourself, you need to remember sharing a story. And this story should be whole – it must contain the beginning, middle, and end. That’s why we recommend you get ready for the answer. And train your response until you feel you’re ready. And one more thing, tell the TRUTH during the interview. You can share your positive and negative sides in the answer – it’s not a problem for employers because they’re interested in your personality. And we hope this article will come in useful for you and will help to pass successfully an interview and get a highly-paid job. Good luck!