Interview Question: “Tell Me about Yourself”


interview-1.jpgMany managers are looking to break the ice at the beginning of an interview. The best way to do this is for them to ask an open-ended question. Those types of questions can really get a conversation flowing. The most common and easy one for a manager to ask is, “So, tell me a little bit about yourself”. Believe it or not, managers are nervous too. This question is considered “easy” and useful for getting the conversation going. The shared dialogue creates potential commonalities, and the light-hearted topics can hopefully softens everyone’s nerves.

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There are a few things to know before you even begin to plan your answer. One, there is a fine line between an overwhelming and long-winded answer, one vague enough you cause doubts, and the one that generates interest. What are they looking for in this response? The manager wants a personality snapshot. They are trying to discern who you are outside the office, and would you be a culture fit for their team. Is it easy for them to develop a personal rapport with you? Now that you understand a bit of what your answer will mean to them, you can begin to brainstorm. Once you believe you have found your key bullet-pointed answers, it is important to rehearse. Do not try to memorize it 100%, but rather rehearse until you can get through your answer without fumbling your words. You don’t want to appear to be following a script but, remember, a well-thought out reply ensures you are capable of remaining natural and conversational when answering. Okay, so what areas of yourself should you touch on?

Personal and non-work related interests: Are you a runner, swimmer, biker, skier or golfer? Mentioning activities such as these paint a picture of someone who is energetic. Do you enjoy to cook or sew? Do you volunteer, or are you involved in a social club? What do you enjoy participating in or reading about when you aren’t in the office? Jot those ideas down. Then select 3-4 special areas of interest and/or hobbies which highlight you the best.

Key personal skills that support you in your professional life: Typically, our professional life is a huge part of who we are as a person, and can say a lot about you. How do your skills and talents benefit a team? How would your strengths add value? Match your personality style, skills and traits to their job description and the role you are pursuing. Include these special areas in your response. Segway these skills and traits in by stating, “My passion for my career is benefited and driven by these personal traits…”

What you should include later in your interview: When it comes to skills and expertise it is much more impressive to be able to prove them. Offer to elaborate by stating, “Later we can discuss the success I have found because of this skillset and/or talent.”

What to avoid or is unnecessary: Controversial topics such as, politics and religion are to be avoided. There is no need to discuss family, spouses or children during the interview. Negative topics, especially those in regards to past employment experiences or a disgruntled relationship with a past manager should be excluded as well.

WRAP UP: During the entire interview, it is always important to keep the job and its description in mind. Strive to match who you are to what the company needs and requires. When asked this particular question, be sure you remain honest, genuine and true to yourself while maintaining a professional disposition. Remember what drew you to this position in the first place. The position is interesting to YOU. Why? Keep that drive for this position in the forefront of your mind. Use who you are to detail why you are the best candidate for their opportunity. You will be sure to impress your listener. Good luck!

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About The Author

I’m Allison, content creator and blog writer for G.1440 Staffing. Over the years, we have placed thousands of professionals like yourself in many companies in the Baltimore D.C. area. Since graduating from the University of Maryland in 2002, my mission has been to help professionals like you feel empowered throughout the job hunting process. I know the job market is no doubt a fast paced world and I hope the insights found in these blogs will offer support during your career transition. My goals are to teach the best practices for resume writing, tips for interview success, and how to benefit from social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Visit our blog page to find the tools needed to advance your career: Feel free to reach out to me directly: I am always excited to hear stories or tips used for success from my audience. Learn more about G.1440 Staffing Agency: