“Tell Me about Yourself.” – What an Employer Really Wants to Know

Career Advice, Job Seekers

How To Answer "Tell Me About Yourself"

“Tell me about yourself.” On the surface, this seems like the easiest interview question to answer. After all, what do you know more about than your own past? However, the openness and ambiguity of the question can make it difficult to answer, and many candidates find themselves fumbling and tongue-tied when searching for a proper response. You know this question is going to come up in your next interview. Here’s what the employer really want to know:

Information That Interests the Interviewer

The interviewer is interested in you as a person, but that doesn’t mean they want to hear your whole life story. If you find yourself talking about elementary school you’re probably off track. Start with your recent history first. Talk about your current or previous job, talk about what you like about the work, and why you have been successful. Try to highlight the skills, experiences, and accomplishments that are most related to the position you’re applying for. You can go on to talk about other relevant aspects of your work history and education, and any personal pursuits that cast your skills and character in a positive light.

An Anecdote

One trap that a lot of candidates fall into is turning their response into a collection of greatest hits. You want to cover a lot of ground, but your answer should be more than just a list of bullet points. When you’re too brief you run the risk of being unmemorable, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do. As part of your response, tell at least one anecdote from your personal or professional life. Try to focus on an experience that is unique and admirable, and be sure to practice and refine your anecdote so that it’s succinct and engaging.

Brief Responses

Interviewers often use this question as an opener to help get the conversation started and cover some ground as they are getting prepared. Remember that this is just one of many questions they plan to ask you. Rambling on or dragging out your responses only hurts your cause because it throws the flow and schedule of the interview off. Offer three or four hit points, a brief story, and then end your answer. Also, avoid the only answer that is completely wrong – “What do you want to know?” This throwaway response makes you look unprepared.

Looking for the Right IT Job?

Acing an interview isn’t about answering one question right, it’s about answering every question right. Find more resources to help you make a great impression and get started on your job search today by contacting INSPYR Solutions.

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