Best answer for "Tell me about yourself"

21 Oct 2022

Job interviews are nerve-wracking. Especially the questions that are asked—this causes everyone to lose nerves and fumble. Even with practice, sometimes, one can’t know the best things to say in an interview especially when the questions turn personal. Personal interview questions are the ball-breakers of every interview. 

Especially one question among the entire bunch — tell me about yourself.  

An interview won’t just focus on a person’s technical and professional background. It will inevitably focus on a person’s personal data, and if they are a perfect fit for the job role at hand, and if they fit within the company’s work culture. The questions will try to circle around their soft skills and what is not on the resume, so as to identify the required traits for the job. Interviewers often make these questions simple, because sometimes, the simple questions are the most difficult to answer.  

Sometimes, knowing what to say beforehand might give you an upper hand in an interview, when tackling personal questions. Here is how you can tackle answering ‘Tell me about yourself’.

What to remember?

While this may be an open-ended question, this is one of the most difficult to answer on spot, and without preparation. Sometimes, we may believe that what we prepare is ideal to answer for a question like this, but sometimes, we divulge too much or too little—both of which, can be a problem.  

Always keep in mind that the recruiter does not want to know everything about you. They don’t want to know about your religious background, how many siblings you have or your political opinions. Avoid topics that talk about your responsibilities at home, or other commitments that you may have outside work.  

Try to tackle this question on a lower-end, and not with a full-fledged summary of your biodata. What the employers are looking for is a sleek answer to how your skills match up to who you think you are as a person. It’s good to sometimes share traits about yourself that matches the job profile. But don’t make this too obvious or the employer will know that you are trying too hard. Instead, try to talk about personal interests or hobbies such as collecting stamps or reading books. Whatever hobby it might be, try and link it to a positive personality trait that will further help you with your interview. It’s good to jump smoothly to a professional explanation of yourself from a personal one. You could transition from a hobby to a strength that you can use in your work if you get hired.  

When sharing things such as achievements, be very careful so as to not brag about them. Be humble, and speak of what you’ve done in a matter-of-fact manner. For instance, you can talk about how you like public speaking and then go on to talk about how this fact has helped sales in your previous company.

Here’s a sample answer for “Tell me about yourself”.

I’m an animal person. I volunteer at an animal shelter near my house on weekends or when I find time. Also, I like trekking, and walking in general—although, I might not call myself an adventurer. I do like talking to people I meet on the treks I go. We share interests and I enjoy sharing experiences with people. Communicating is a key aspect of my professional life, too. When I’m communicating, I’ve observed that I find it easier to converse about a topic and share my ideas in a way that makes others want to share their own. I’ve enjoyed delivering presentations and key notes because of this interest. 

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