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How to answer “tell me about yourself” in an interview

What do you say when an interviewer asks ‘Tell me about yourself’? Use our tips to plan your answer to this common interview question.

How to answer “tell me about yourself” in an interview

Before your interview, we recommend practising the answerings to the most common interview questions. Some common questions are what are your weaknesses and Give me an example of problem-solving. But 9 times out of 10, you’ll also be asked to tell the interviewer about yourself. But before you blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, plan out your answer.

Why do interviewers ask this question?

  • To see your personality
  • To evaluate your fit for the role
  • To assess your communication skills

Tips for answering ‘Tell me about yourself’ in an interview

Keep it brief

It’s easy for you to go off on a tangent when answering this question. But part of the skill is in keeping it brief and knowing which bits of your life to talk about. They don’t have time to hear your whole life story. If you overtalk, the interviewers may think you have poor communication skills. This is especially true if you’re interviewing for a customer-facing role. They want to know you won’t overtalk when dealing with customers.

Keep it relevant

You want to make sure you talk about the most relevant parts of your experience. There’s no point in talking about unrelated jobs you had 15 years ago. Give them a summary of the most impressive parts of your experience that relate to the job role.

Add in some personal details

Although you want to keep your answer relevant, there’s no harm in sharing a couple of sentences about your hobbies. But only when this supports your job interview. For example, it would make sense for a salesperson to talk about any competitive sports they’ve played. But it wouldn’t make sense for a salesperson to talk about spending every Sunday with their granny.

Don’t just recite your CV

Make sure what you’re saying matches up with dates on your CV. But don’t just recite everything on your CV. Give the interviewers new pieces of information. Or expand on some details that you left out of your CV. This could be more details about your responsibilities or any key figures.

Tailor it to the company

When crafting your answer, one size doesn’t fit all. If you’ve got multiple interviews lined up, make sure you tailor each of your answers to the company and role. This will make your answer more impressive.

Talk about the future

In your answer, talk about your past experience. But don’t forget to talk about the future. Tell the hiring managers about your goals and ambitions. This will show them you’re serious about the opportunity and that you’re motivated.

Show your personality

This interview question is a fantastic opportunity to show your personality. Keep it professional. But don’t be afraid of adding in a splash of humour. 

Don’t over-rehearse

It’s important that your answer sounds as natural as possible. So try not to rehearse it word for word. Make sure you vary your tone of voice so that it doesn’t sound robotic. And take pauses in between sentences to show you’re thinking about your answer.

Sample answer to ‘Tell me about yourself’.

“I’ve worked in sales for 6 years now. I’m currently working for Insurance4You selling holiday insurance, where I’ve been for 2.5 years. I really enjoy working in a quick-paced sales environment, working towards targets and KPIs. That competitive spirit is in my DNA. I’ve always competed in sports and have always been motivated by winning. 

Before my current job, I spent 4 years working in sales for Vodafone. Again, I really enjoyed the buzz I got from achieving sales targets. But now I’m looking to progress to higher ticket items. At the same time, I really want to sell a product I’m genuinely passionate about. And that’s why I’ve applied to your company. I love the product and would use it myself!”

Planning is key

The most important takeaway of this blog is to plan your answer in advance. That way, you’ll be more prepared when they ask the question. And you’ll already have the most relevant parts of your experience at the front of your mind.

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